edited by Jennifer Bartlett, Michael Northen, Sheila Black — from Cinco Puntos Press
This anthology makes a compelling case for rethinking postwar poetic practice in/through/by the frame of disability. pdf: table of contents Preface, Jennifer Bartlett “A Short History of American Disability Poetry,” Michael Northen
from Bartlett's intro: For me, the idea for Beauty is a Verb can be pinpointed to one single moment, December 10, 2005, the day Norma Cole read at the Bowery Poetry Club for the Segue Reading Series. A few years earlier, after a stroke, Cole lost and regained her ability to speak. Now, she used her temporary aphasia and slurred speech to compose a poem that noted a list of words she could no longer enunciate. The result of her reading this work was alternately hilarious and devastating. Cole laughed at the ridiculous, yet utterly wrenching, situation of a poet losing words, and the audience laughed with her. Yet, it wasn’t as simple as that. Although the audience laughed, they were also visibly uncomfortable. From the sophistication of Cole’s work and her genius as a person, one can guess that this was no accident. Can an entire anthology be sparked by one reading of one poet; I am sure crazier things have happened in this world we called poetry.
My favourite poem from Jill Jones's recent Dark Bright Doors (Wakefield 2010) was the uncharacteristically (relatively) aggressive 'Leaving it to the Sky', which included memorable lines like 'I'm having a yak with a piece of paper'. It showed another side to the generally more philosophical - if problematising - poet. A new poem 'Misinterpretations/ or the Dark Grey Outline' in overland 204 continues to work this mode.
the movement throughout the image of body, whole, gathered and real. begin. end.sense.
like a likeness, a sign, the ritual, repeat. To focus becomes the object is disappearing.
It suffices. An Astronomy of power, implicit, subtle, carnivorous, bureaucracies serenade their untied shoelaces
not being able to possess: not being able to
(Amanda Stewart, from "Icon", I/T)
In beginning my fossicky labours, my first desire was to visit Amanda Stewart. I wanted to ask her about her sense of Sydney, since we seem to occupy a similar orbit. She went to the same university that I did, twenty years before me, and studied in the same cultural studies node that I did (though she copped the guts of it and I caught the lingering whiffs). And like me, she has found herself working, making and thinking in collective arrangements that share an approach to method, rather than an essential identity. This means that she has been variously involved with sound artists, musicians, performers, film-makers, radio-makers, poets, critics, etc., and she has produced work that could be considered sound art, music, performance, film, radio, poetry (spoken, written, concrete) and criticism. She uses the word poetry to describe what she does, where poetry is a methodology. I mean methodology very literally: how things are done when things are done. For Stewart, experimenting broadly and socially with technologies of signification, including but not limited to language, is poetry: and this has come to include a good heft of work in lots of directions, alongside many technicians, poets and otherwise.