extreme texts


“I have endeavored to exhaust the lexicon allowed by the constraints imposed and in this way respond to this issue’s themes of maximism, completeness, and exhaustion.” Image design by Alyson Del Pino.

“monoconsonance” is a response to/inversion of Christian Bök’s Griffin Poetry Prize–winning Eunoia (Coach House Books, 2001), a collection of univocalics with a chapter dedicated to each vowel. In “monoconsonance” the constraint has been inverted, so that text requires twenty-one chapters, each written using words limited to a single consonant.


After Antonin Artaud's 'Artaud le Mômo' (1947) and 'Dossier d'Artaud le Mômo' (1974)

“Prophetic, Artaud already affirmed in his essay ‘The Theater of Cruelty’ (1938) the importance of recovering ‘the notion of a kind of unique language halfway between gesture and thought.’” Above: adapted illustration from ‘Artaud-le-Mômo,’ 1947, via Wikimedia Commons.

MÔMO is based on Antonin Artaud’s radical poetry book Artaud le Mômo[1] (section I below), which includes five short poems: “Le retour d’Artaud, le Mômo,” “Centre-Mère et Patron-Minet,”  “Insulte à l’Inconditionné,” “L’Exécration du père-mère,” and “Aliénation et magie noire” (and the manuscripts contain many variations that were published afterwards in Dossier d’Artaud le Mômo [II–XVIII below]). Antonin Artaud — a famous French poet and playwright — wrote this book between July and September of 1946.


Extreme fact

“For Antin, facts are not independent of their presentation; they exist as a part of discourse in ‘figures of fact.’ ... [F]igures of fact are not criteria by which to judge the truth or falsity of any fact: figures of fact can just as easily exist for false facts as true ones.” Image from ‘El Mundo físico: gravedad, gravitación, luz, calor, electricidad, magnetismo, etc.’ (1882) by A. Guillemin, via Flickr.

Several years ago I started to listen to the recordings of David Antin’s talk poems available at both the archives of Antin’s papers at the Getty Research Institute and his author page on PennSound. At first my interest was mostly casual.

On Craig Dworkin and Jarrod Fowler's 'Rhythmic Fact'

Above: CD-R of ‘Rhythmic Fact.’

Craig Dworkin’s collaboration with conceptual percussionist Jarrod Fowler, Rhythmic Fact, provides a striking limit-case of legibility. The work is comprised of a short piece of text printed on the label side of a blank Compact Disc-Recordable, or CD-R. As with other iterations in Dworkin’s “Fact” series, the text exhaustively details the chemical composition of the medium in which it is concretized:  

'we're decoys, baby!'

A CUnT-UP in torn parts

“‘I don't do what I do willingly,’ she says. The bud is immediately torn out and trampled underfoot.” Image: adaptation of photo by Nick Kendrick, via Flickr.

Author’s note: I was reading Elfriede Jelinek while watching Johanna Went videos, and at the same time writing an article in response to Dominic Fox’s Cold World, an eloquent but boy-centered rave in praise of extreme adolescent male nihilism which, in severely criticizing Ulrike Meinhof, the only woman mentioned in the book, also subliminally, and without naming it, criticized Chris Kraus’s piece on her in Aliens and Anorexia, and I just thought, well fuck you, why aren’t women allowed to express their admiration for each other without being accused

The Kármán Line

“The thinner the air, the faster a plane must travel.” Images by Shambhavi Kaul, courtesy of Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai.

The thinner the air, the faster a plane must travel

In flight, airspeed is not calculated based on speed
relative to the ground. A plane can only stay in the
air if it travels forward constantly in relation to the air
it passes through

Because of this constant forward motion, the wings
are able to generate lift


The opem

“In opem improvisation, be spontaneous, riff, refrain. All solid color circles, black, white, yellow, brown, yellow, etc., are/can be a cue to improvise.” Above: detail from ‘Pond 1.’

I wished for a form that would invite those passing-by lovers of the poem to read with their imaginations, principally and perhaps only, and further for a form that would accommodate all the various types of poetry possible in the realm of the poem. My offering was an opem, a typo. So, put simply, an opem is an unstable area among a visual poem, an aural sound, oral scape, score, any form of poem in germination or poetry complete, and music, visual art, dance, performance, and I do mean: etc.


The poetics of hysteria and motherhood

Trigger warning: abuse, suicide 
The following document is an archive of two years of my life when I lost custody of my children after I tried to end an abusive marriage. The court took my kids from me based on the art I create: appropriately, the art in this case centers around historical instances when real women also lost their voices, autonomy, and their lives due to their own inability to have freedom and safety in this world. It’s 2019, and women are still not safe.

All axes blur in transit

Transpoetic choreography and memorial

“The OPEN sign flickers. Replace OPEN with acquiescence. Replace OPEN with displace. Replace OPEN with a fist in the mouth. Replace the fist with a lake. The lake chokes on its pronoun.” Photo by MIKI Yoshihito, via Flickr.

In Antigone by Sophocles, the protagonist attempts to secure proper burial for her brother, Polynices. While reading, I meditated on the applicability of the drama as it applies to the transgender community. Discrimination takes a violent toll in the form of cis supremacy. Antigone’s objective, for me, is evocative of the LGBTQI+ family and alternative forms of self-organizing as a means of survival within pervasive heteronormativity. I reread this myth when the Human Rights Campaign released the 2017 archive of trans lives lost due to systemic violence.

'Atrocita,' 'Sphinxe,' and 'Your Own Double Entry'

“I felt it necessary to ask what is in the shape of a letter. What images do words recall? What is the meaning of color in poetry upon the page?” Above: detail from ‘Your Own Double Entry.’

Extremity is relative. The furthest thing from a given point, which is relative and changeable, cannot escape the tether of that stake. To some, within tradition, at the most surface level, any unusual gesture is severe. If one’s goal is to seek control over the uncontrollable, any submission to the unruly is a threatening gesture. If one has accepted that there is no control possible, only mediation, then only the fundamentally transgressive is extreme, because it touches on the opposite of life.

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