Mammal patriot (PoemTalk #144)

Michael McClure, 'Ghost Tantras'

From left: Selena Dyer, Jonathan Dick, and Jerome Rothenberg.

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Al Filreis convened Selena Dyer, Jonathan Dick, and Jerome Rothenberg to talk about three poems in Michael McClure’s Ghost Tantras. The three poems can be found here. One of them is number 49 in the series, and there is a complicated history of performances. At Birkbeck College in London, McClure, performing some tantras, offered a brief commentary on 49 and then played a famous earlier recording in which he performed the poem (in 1964 and again in 1966) at the San Francisco Zoo in the lions’ house. Each time the lions roared in response.

Gelatin poetics

On Rachael Allen's 'Kingdomland' and the meatspace of contemporary feminist lyric

(Left) Rachael Allen’s Kingdomland; (right) Ventricle, oil-on-canvas by Maria Sledmere.

In Rachael Allen’s Kingdomland, shades of indigo and lilac leak through the pages like milk, in variant continuums of strangeness and shame. There is, however, a kind of “tint” to these poems that evokes not quite the Kristevan abjection of skin on milk, but something more like the translucent surface of a jelly left to slowly rot. 

Everything about you’s a bit like me —
in the same way that North Carolina’s a bit like Ribena
but rhymes with Vagina, which is nearly the same,
but much darker —
brutal and sweet like disease,
sweet as an asphalt dealer.
— Selima Hill, A Little Book of Meat[1]

Taking up space: Sarah Rose Etter

PennSound podcast #67

Photo by Natalie Graf.
Photo by Natalie Graf.

Sarah Rose Etter joined Jacket2 editor Julia Bloch in the Wexler Studio last September for a short reading from and discussion of her debut poetic novel, The Book of X, which appeared in 2019 from Two Dollar Radio. Etter and Bloch talked about the impact of open poetics and visual art upon Etter’s prose style, the feminist politics of speculative narrative, the process of fact-checking menstrual blood output, and the etymology of the book’s governing image — among other things. 

Richard O. Moore's poésie-vérité documentaries

Note: The following essay grew out of a talk given at the conference Les archives sonores de la poésie: Production, conservation, utilisation/Recording in Progress: Producing, Preserving and Using Recorded Poetry, which was organized by Céline Pardo (Paris–Sorbonne), Abigail Lang (Paris–Diderot), and Michel Murat (Paris–Sorbonne) at Université Paris Sorbonne, November 25, 2016. Many thanks to Garrett Caples for his help and scholarship, and to Richard O. Moore’s daughter, Flinn Moore Rauck, for her invaluable help and generosity. — Olivier Brossard

Note: The following essay grew out of a talk given at the conference Les archives sonores de la poésie: Production, conservation, utilisation/Recording in Progress: Producing, Preserving and Using Recorded Poetry, which was organized by Céline Pardo (Paris–Sorbonne), Abigail Lang (Paris–Diderot), and Michel Murat (Paris–Sorbonne) at Université Paris Sorbonne, November 25, 2016.

'The woman is here to stay'

A review of 'A Doll for Throwing' by Mary Jo Bang

Photo of Mary Jo Bang (left) by Yuri Marder.

As she did in her 2004 collection, The Eye Like a Strange Balloon (Grove Press), Mary Jo Bang once again calls on her visual vocabulary — and background as a photographer — to portray various aspects of the Bauhaus, the short-lived German art school: its utopian vision, its Nazi-led shutdown in 1933, and its undeniable legacy. 

As she did in her 2004 collection, The Eye Like a Strange Balloon (Grove Press), Mary Jo Bang once again calls on her visual vocabulary — and background as a photographer — to portray various aspects of the Bauhaus, the short-lived German art school: its utopian vision, its Nazi-led shutdown in 1933, and its undeniable legacy.

Notes on nonsense

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Illustration of creatures mentioned in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky,’ by John Tenniel.

Adjacent to the house where I once lived, with its four residents and one other volunteer, sat a private cottage where Joe lived in a world of his own making. The idiosyncrasies of this world formed around the ceaseless churning of Joe’s brain as it reframed his memories through the lens of his particular paranoias and neuroses. Like a tangent, Joe always ran adjacent to what was around him. 

(I)

 

Sited

On Jenny Xie and the fate of the flâneur

Photo of Jenny Xie by Robert Bredvad.

It’s 1967, and Guy Debord, grumpy but prescient, senses a change in the air. Throughout his treatise The Society of the Spectacle, he attempts to show how mass media and late-capitalist modes of production degrade social relations. Together, they reorient human organization around images detached from lived reality. Their slogan: “What appears is good; what is good appears.”

Perceptual distance may turn into mental distance,
and the phenomenon of disinterested beholding may emerge,
this essential ingredient in what we call “objectivity” — Hans Jonas[1]

A short history of Tom Weatherly

We’re familiar by now with the designation of neglected writers as “poets’ poets”— essentially, an excuse for their continuing neglect. And we are, or should be, even more familiar with the neglect heaped on African American innovative writers, especially those who refuse to be easily pigeonholed into secure ideological or formal categories. Thomas Elias Weatherly (1942–2014) fits both categories.

Messing with your head

A review of 'Insolvency, Insolvency!' by Jeremy Hoevenaar

Photo of Jeremy Hoevenaar (left) courtesy of Alex Teschmacher.

It’s only words that tell us what to do. If we listen. Insolvency, Insolvency! doesn’t tell us what to do / but it does tell us how to listen / and when. If we listen.

Those who are familiars of the impetuous wonder of words will understand Jeremy’s poem. Those who read will not.

It’s only words that tell us what to do. If we listen. Insolvency, Insolvency! doesn’t tell us what to do / but it does tell us how to listen / and when. If we listen.