Ardour: the flame of desire; a spiritual, sexual, or physical burning; a passion that the OED tells us now connotes only “generous or noble impulses” though once it could speak of evil. It’s a word I rarely use or hear spoken in conversation. When I think of reading it, I recall English novels. In these stories a girlish face turns upward to receive a kiss; it is the kiss that is imposed with ardour, the girl’s lover who is ardent. When I read for “ardour” online, the books at the top of the list my search returns are religious, moral, martial.
In her blurb for Registration Caspar, poet Divya Victor described the text — part genre fiction, part avant-garde experiment — as one in which “all of … Beckett’s unfulfilled plans and undeployed scenarios have come back to haunt.” She isn’t wrong: taking the form of a log written before the imminent “erasure” of Caspar (a non-gendered “entity” rushing to save money for the two partners they will leave behind), the text is certifiably Beckettian, in the sense that the reader’s patience is challenged by what Bataille would call an “incontinent flux” of language.
I first encountered M. NourbeSe Philip’s poetical interruptions three years ago, in a course taught by Tisa Bryant called Unnamable Texts. We spent time with “Discourse on the Logic of Language,” which is a sequence from her 1988 collection She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. My memory of this poem is bodily. Part of this is due to how we read this piece; not only silently to ourselves, but also following along to a recording of Philip performing the poem. Throughout her delivery, she subtly elongates the word language until it becomes a cry, a tender wound, throbbing.
If she does not ravel and unravel his universe, she will then remain silent, looking at him looking at her. — Trinh T. Minh-ha
In Deep City, Megan Kaminski extends Guest’s poetics, centering on the city as both physical, social phenomenon, and as ever-expanding dreamscape or imaginarium. In so doing, Kaminski creates a boundless repository for our often-intersecting and ever-shifting experiences of the present moment. As if setting a lens over the landscape of a collage-like city (at points the city seems determinable, at others not), Kaminski unearths a myriad of sense perceptions in organic (secular) time.
In “A Reason for Poetics,” collected in Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing, Barbara Guest addresses the tension between physical and “mysterious” dimensions of poetry. Beginning a section titled “Poetic Codes,” Guest writes:
“The impulse is toward discovery of meaning, including the discovery of oneself,” Aaron Shurin explains when asked in an interview with Lily Iona MacKenzie about his comfort including personal details while writing his memoir collection King of Shadows.
“The impulse is toward discovery of meaning, including the discovery of oneself,” Aaron Shurin explains when asked in an interview with Lily Iona MacKenzie about his comfort including personal details while writing his memoir collection King of Shadows. He continues, “So there is no act that shame will try to cover — and this is very much under the tutelage of [Robert] Duncan. There is no shame.