Articles

Ídolos among us

The innovative aesthetics of contemporary US Latinx poets

Yo busco nuestra gente en las luces brillosas de un Google Search. Encuentro luminaries like Julia Álvarez, Isabel Allende, y Esmeralda Santiago. Más chingonxs surface on the screen: García Márquez, Neruda. But as I keep scrolling, it dawns on me that almost all are either fiction authors or from the Latin American continent. Their works are written in a language most of us learned orally from our parents, that we stumbled through in parties and visiting relatives. 

Ni de aquí, ni de allá: The US Latinx poet as overlooked

The dead and the living

Hugh Seidman’s late poems

Photo of Seidman courtesy of Spuyten Duyvil/Dispatches Editions.

In old age, many a poet ought to think twice before putting that last book together for public consumption. Easy enough to say — often the late work, when the poet had once published truly compelling, arguably great poetry, disappoints. I was in conversation with an elderly poet recently, someone who’s now in the eighth decade of life (as am I). We found we were harboring the same fear — we didn’t want to be repeating ourselves. We pictured rereading our late work and not seeing enough in it to warrant sharing it with the public. When we were young, reading Pound, our commitment was to “make it new.”

In old age, many a poet ought to think twice before putting that last book together for public consumption. Easy enough to say — often the late work, when the poet had once published truly compelling, arguably great poetry, disappoints. I was in conversation with an elderly poet recently, someone who’s now in the eighth decade of life (as am I). We found we were harboring the same fear — we didn’t want to be repeating ourselves. We pictured rereading our late work and not seeing enough in it to warrant sharing it with the public.

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.

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]

Funeral rites

On Nanni Balestrini's 'Blackout'

Nanni Balestrini’s Blackout is a requiem for the generation of 1968, whose hopes and ideals were exhausted by the time of the poem’s composition in 1979. The original impetus for the poem was the blackout in New York on July 13, 1977, that lasted for twenty-five hours and drew widespread media attention due to countless episodes of violence and looting. 

To understand Italy one must understand the United States. — Sylvère Lotringer / Christian Marazzi