Monday, January 2, 2012

Postscript: Angela Hume, Second Story of Your Body (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2011)

Dear (r),

Long live ephemera!

I’ve been carrying Angela Hume’s Second Story of Your Body (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2011) around with me for weeks, wondering just how to review a limited-edition chapbook (another first for us here in the oonaverse)—and now I’m stuck wondering how to review a chapbook that’s sold out!

How wonderful, dear (r), to live in a world in which chapbooks sell out.  It’s wonderful, as well, to encounter an extended collection of poetic fragments capable of incorporating the heavy languages of medicine and philosophy with such tremendous delicacy.  For example:

                                          (shrill sero
tonin low
                           horde of bees.

Or here:

Eat                                    (be
against asceticism

                                          (the solemn lays

a first rendering                  thrush

While I admit that typographical experimentation often (though not always) strikes me as heavy-handed, in Hume’s work the space of the page is itself a question:

Where does
a poetics[.]

While the chapbook’s final page—a list of sources, allusions, and invocations—situates Second Story Of Your Body within critical theory and experimental poetics, the experience of the piece is something at once lighter and more haunting, a series of

acts of magic

that demand of the reader:

What kind of limit                                              are you.

((Decide what kind of limit                                you are.

For those who are interested in the intersections among scientific, medical, philosophical, and poetic language (you & me & everyone we know), Angela Hume’s poetry may seem incisive in, or perhaps because of, its subtlety.  Hume’s inheritance and remaking of the fragment form activates a poetics in which words can speak to each other, across the page, no matter the discourse of their origin.  Such a project is particularly well suited to the chapbook form—the poetics of ephemera in an ephemeral form. 

Yours in the margins,