Anne Tardos: Nine poems from 'Nine'

[Anne Tardos, whose poetry & performances have enlightened us for several decades now, emerges in Nine (BlazeVox Books, forthcoming) as an innovator of new forms that serve as a vehicle for work that incorporates, like all great poetry, the fullest range of thoughts & experiences & makes them stick in mind & memory.  The form in question is called a “nine,” the reach & depth of which is described by Rachel Blau DuPlessis in the opening of a powerful introductory essay: “Anne Tardos has invented a form that is a mode of practice and thus a mode of being in language, expressed in this book with a patient excitement. It's called a ‘nine’: ‘Nine words per line and nine lines per stanza’ (Nine 1). The first words you see in this book demystify the practice and tell you the form. Like many procedural forms, the Nine is number based with things to count. It only remains to add that most of the lines are end-stopped, autonomous and poised in themselves, whether they are word salad, meditative messages, observations, part of a life-long list to oneself, thought-associations, or a-contextual propositions. Sometimes there are lines that follow from each other logically or narratively, associatively or in summary, but this is not a necessity. The regularity of the book Nine is modular: a series of boxes to open, a series of rooms to enter, a series of lines to account for. The ‘room’ of the stanza is also enclosing of the reader without, in most instances, becoming claustrophobic or oppressive. This is because the lines are each porous in relation to each other. Now you know almost everything except the mysteriously elegant and calming feeling that this book gives.”

            Additional excerpts from an earlier version of Nine were published here in Poems and Poetics on December 8, 2011.]



Nine Words per line and nine lines per stanza

Pink fluffy underwater kangaroo fuzzy free manic rabbity thing.

Sense and nonsense similarly writer’s block clogged and unblocked.

Happiness nothing really blue so you can start living.

Laptop immersion fools your brain into thinking whatever needed.

Gazebo-tranquility-ragweed, condemned to live with the Self.

Find yourself totally isolated strict exile a common ploy.

Like you, I’m impatient as we become each other.

Bright green primary features evolving society—the age thing.



Sleep being slept, a bird has something to say.

Reality flip flop artistic failure extremely hard to explain.

Foggy zendo vigilance gendergap understanding the desire to live.

Levitating underbelly slime, dengue fever ankle deep, vilification zigzag.

I love you too dear—count your chickens carefully.

Echo chamber plant life, cellular reality, yellow rent abatement.

Quiet knucklehead comradery a thousand hopes subject to change.

Infinity appears in repeated mirror images perceived as reflection.

Zealous devotion to waxwork sex, because Sigmund said so.



Birthing velocity’s snapshot-like nature, pushed to the extreme.

It is Racine not Montaigne for most lovers’ discourse.

To suddenly fall upon the old dialectic of enlightenment.

And what is masturbation if not a homosexual act?

A role to play must have a visible function.

We are being categorized in the realm of tonality.

A counterintuitive yearning for the quiescence of pre-birth.

The way our twig’s bent is how we grow.

Empty thermos, unkissed nose tip, text rotation, marsupial nesting.



Kerchief ligament pirouette darkness jettison mother of invention boy-toy.

Zany foxy smoke alarm tremolo evacuation juniper ginger dimple.

Zinguer je je zinguer je, mich dich Villa nicht.

Every thought first thought in the visible universe, strange.

Zendo cushion run for it go. Long ago Labrador.

Swift recollection tired Daphne just like our overheated relationshit.

Something has changed I felt giddy I felt sick.

Since women. Forget it. No way. Barbaric and inhumane.

Learning a lot here: I’m wrong in being wrong.





Djibouti laptop polyrhythmic stevedore imagination for example people die.

Yeah yeah yeah listen to the music around you.

Plagiarize and cannibalize yourself by mining your own work.

Counter-sadistic anti-suffering vraiment triste faché becoming real.

Don’t think for a minute that you don’t exist.

First, get used to the sound of my voice.

Bob Perelman knows what Maisie knew about her parents.

Katy Lederer didn’t have money. She was a poet.

Mitch Highfill keeps a pet moth in his mind.



Dirty birthday, suntan-benevolence of impenetrable and incendiary nature.

Vibrations and particularized energy formations make some sense somehow.

Mind-independent reality: Haley’s Comet exists even if we don’t.

Hold your lover’s hand, and tomorrow will be yesterday.

When in ill thoughts again, stop everything but breathing.

Life is cool. Nothing need be done about it.

Jewish reconstructionism in Mamároneck, why just a minute ago.

When out of context, nothing will ever make sense.

Now I understand you because now I love you.



Mix of funk and freejazz Miles Davis musical response.

Lucretius saw the universe as something having a nature.

Bernstein: “Estrangement is our home ground” – Yukon bullfrog flu.

Barely arrived, it seems, and almost time to leave.

If narrowness were the price of intensity—not necessarily.

Adeena Karasick textacy and her rules of textual engagement.

Segue Zen coffee house Segue haunted lightning Segue offerings.

Place holders and temporary solutions require tolerance trust imagination.

Rachel Zolf Israeli-Palestinian Lesbian writing methods her Gematria.



Filling what is empty—it does keep getting better.

Dubious fanatical relationship-focus brilliant thinking interesting, I write.

Cleverly observed in retrospect via dark tunnels to New Jersey.

Honesty because it’s easier and honesty because it’s easier.

All of a sudden we can’t be far behind.

Together we can be keen, intelligent, well-meaning, and visible.

Like two shadows, never to be overtaken by anyone.

I quietly become agitated like a storm-tossed ship.

Now I’ll confess something to you: I don’t know.



How totally awful. How can anyone be so callous?

That cute smile and that glimmer in one’s eyes.

Bill Luoma uses the word “raw” as a noun.

Just look at all that raw covering his neurasthenia.

How his neurons respond to stimuli with exaggerated force.

“Let me listen to me, and not to them.”

Thinking of you brings me to my knees with longing.

Life could be seen as some kind of spasm.

Smitten in mid-spill the baby and the bathwater.