Caroline Bergvall has emerged over the past decade as one of the most brilliantly inventive poets of our time. Bergvall's new book, Meddle English, is multilectical, conceptual, sprung lyric – let's just say pataque(e)rical – extravaganza.
At Sibyl, the English portal of Sibila, we've published Bergvall's own excerpt from the first piece in her new book, which I asked her to send my way as I was eager to have at least part of this work readily accesible on-line. Here are two crucial passages which are for me a kind of manifesto for writing in our time, for the kind of poetries I want: a poetry that doesn't accept English as a standard but as a site for meddling: a meddling that allows for the kind of transformation that is the foundation of exchange. Indeed, Bergvall's comments on voice strike me as getting to the heart of a central concern in the expanded field of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E: the aversion of "voice" in the pursuit of voices, voicings.
Collaboration and the Artist's Book at the University de Caen, April Fools Day 2011. (L to R) Charles Bernstein, Pascal Poyet, Raphael Rubenstein, Françoise Goria, Antoine Coron, Susan Bee, Bill Berkson, and Gervais Jassaud. Photo by Kyle Schlessinger.
Program: Caen & Paris Web site with photos and video clips: note two pages, click on "older" at bottom of page.
Laphroaig - Lagavulin - Margarita Charles Bernstein and Josef Straub Sunday, May 16, 2010, 3:00 PM Sculpture Center, Queens curated by Jay Sanders excerpt from reading for Emma, on her birthday: "In the Middle of the Way," "Be Drunken," "All the Whiskey in Heaven", followed by reading of Joseph Straub: YouTube: from Umbra "In the Middle of the Way," (Drummond), "Be Drunken" (Baudelaire); and"All the Whiskey in Heaven"
Attack of the Difficult Poems launch, A.I.R. Gallery, 6-11-11
Scalapino is always just ahead, inventing the essay anew, as a necessary means for the exploration of consciousness, perception, and meaning in and for language, with full engagement with, and acknowledgement of, the political valences of every poetic act as it falls into, or fails, the social. In the expanded field of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, Scalapino's essays are central: a model not just of possibilities but of "landing sites" to use the term of Madeline Gins and Arakawa.
Tracy Grinnell has done a superb job assembling this collection, which Scalapino was working on at the time of her death about a year ago. As always, Scalapino pushes beyond any easy sense of essay. What unfolds here is the startling unexpectedness of thought, articulated in visual and verbal forms that confound genre categories. In this book, Scalapino creates fields for thinking-as-perception, in which the poem emerges from the essay as counterpoint and newly forming foundation. The complex of disparate parts creates working models for a social formalism. Scalapino introduces the terms "seamless antilandscape" to acknowledge that an aversion to traditionl representation does not produce disjunction but rather a syncretic perceptual experience.