Commentaries - April 2015

What is the place of lyric in modern and contemporary poetry?

Lyric, meaning "of or pertaining to the lyre," has a concertedly interdisciplinary origin rooted in its practice of bringing poetry together with music. As many critics—including those responding below—have shown, the lyric has had a long and complicated history, the term evoloving over the centuries to take on different valences, connotations, and even denotations. So what does lyric mean today and in our recent past? Does lyric retain in some way its relation to the lyre, pictured above in Henry Oliver Walker's Library of Congress mural Lyric Poetry (1896)? Where do we find lyric in modern and contemporary poetry? And what might the future of lyric look like? —Katie L. Price

Respondents: Jennifer Ashton, Julia Bloch, Virginia Jackson, Susannah B. Mintz 

Embodied Mapping, Locative Mapping, and New Media Poetics

Paula Levine, San Francisco < — >  Baghdad
Paula Levine, Shadows from Another Place: San Francisco < — > Baghdad

What does it mean to describe a map as embodied or a mapping practice as locative?  With the exception, perhaps, of cognitive maps lodged deep in the brain, most maps are scratched, traced, drawn, stitched, or plotted on rock or sand, parchment, paper, cloth, or a pixelated screen.  Every map, if it is to be readable, makes use of a signifying system to locate or fix the position of something in relation to something else.  The map, as the saying goes, is not the territory but an abstraction of the territory, not a place but an idea of place that takes material form to support a plan, route a journey, mark ownership, establish zones, and/or underwrite an ideology.  So why, then, do we identify a cluster of maps that use the affordances of GPS, GIS, and remote satellite imaging as embodied or locative maps?

News from Cork

Archives of an Irish avant-garde

Last week, still blinking in the sunshine in Cork, Lindsay and I met the poets James Cummins and Rachel Warriner (and their young son Walt) for coffee. Jimmy and Rachel have been at the center of the experimental poetry scene in Cork for over a decade. They've co-edited the small presses DEFAULT and RunAmok. And they've co-organized the influential SoundEye festival, founded by Trevor Joyce, Catriona Ryan, and Matthew Geden, which continues to feature an extaordinary line-up of contemporary poets.

Hannah Weiner at Kunsthalle (Zurich)

Hannah Weiner (1928 - 1997)
Curated by Franziska Glozer
Feb. 21 to May 17 
Kunsthalle Zurich

This is the first museum show of Hannah Weiner's work. 

Exhibition booklet: detailed essay by Glozer and installation shots: pdf

'The shuttle of discourse': Chris Tysh on Marjorie Welish's 'Begetting Textile' poems

...and a look at works by Jon Cotner & Andy Fitch, Gustaf Sobin, and María Sabina

In weaving—from basic hand weaving to mechanized looms—the direction is back and forth, left to right and right to left and again. Other actions take place between these movements: a stick lifts one set of threads up and down to create a shed through which the shuttle moves across. Heddles—through which various warp fibers are threaded in order to create patterns—lift and fall in various sequences.