Wednesday, November 20, 2013

luminous musings

In case you missed (r)'s review of Ange Mlinko's Marvelous Things Overheard over at LARB, enjoy it on your lunch break!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

School Supplies

Happy sweater weather, oona-naut!  What are you reading as the colors turn?  We're leafing through the following:

•  Every aesthetic movement needs its bard, & life in the suburbs is no exception.  Check out our (r)'s interview with Stephen Burt about his new book, Belmont (Graywolf, 2013), over at Bookslut.

•  We're pretending David Shook's Our Obsidian Tongues (Eyewear Publishing, 2013) is a notebook Jerome Rothenberg lost on his way back from the field.  ("The sun rises each morning without human sacrifice./The misery of the city is enough" (13)).

•  We read Vijay Seshadri's 3 Sections (Graywolf, 2013) in the heat of summer, & we still can't shake this poem:

Family Happiness

On our first date, I told my wife
I was a lesbian trapped in the body of a man.
Everybody says that now, of course,
on TV and radio, alternative media outlets,
tattoos and bumper stickers, but this was long ago, when
none but the brave (who deserve the fair)
would come up with something like that.
She smiled the pleased and goofy smile that flowers in her big eyes,
and I thought I had her.
Looking back now, though,
I can see her appraisal of me rounding to completeness.
I can hear her cognition firing.
She knew it.  She knew even then
the truth it has cost me the aeons to acquire,
climbing and climbing the broken stairs:
I'm a man trapped in the body of a man.
I clutch the smooth walls and see through his eyes
the oil fires and containment units,
the huge clawed gantries strung out on the twilit polar horizon.
Through his alloyed ears, I hear
the objects of his scorn, his compassion, his hatred, his love
crying out and crying out.
Half my arms are his arms.
Half my face is welded to his face.
The other half mouths his clumsy ironies.
"Life is war," he says.
"Tragic," he says.  "Tragic."
The simulacra are marching everywhere,
and deep in the caves the chimeras are breathing.

(26)

Hey, Vijay.  (May we call you Vijay?)  Elizabeth Bishop & Philip Larkin called.  They want their collaborative poem back.

•  It's fitting that we came to Kristina Marie Darling's Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012) a little late, invested as it is in Romantic refractions, in ephemera, in the postscript and the footnote, in definitions & redefinitions.  ((("you were like bits of broken glass/when the jewelry box shattered//night & the ocean's coldest shore" (2).)))

•  Speaking of cross-genre experiment, we're fascinated by Martha Ronk's Transfer of Qualities (Omnidawn, 2013), a book of prose poems that crosses over into experimental criticism.  ("Hamlet refers to 'the book and volume of my brain,' and with the one word, 'volume,' points simultaneously to books as volumes of written words and to the volumes of space inside the globe of his skull.  The oscillation of the two meanings, between the 'book' as mentally conceived and the book as an object to be picked up and held, a thing to be read, the volume Ophelia, as directed by her father--'Read on this book, that show of such an exercise may colour your loneliness'--lures him with, makes a reader of the play helplessly intimate with this character who is as mere words as unreal as the clouds he sees as camels or at least says he sees, an insubstantial pageant" (35).  Exegesis as the only thing that's truly lyrical?  You're preaching to the choir.

•  & while we're heading back to school (see!  we told you, you can trust us), let's not forget Ciaran Carson's IN THE LIGHT OF (after illuminations by arthur rimbaud) (Wake Forest University Press, 2013), the kind of literary/critical homage we wish we could (let ourselves) write.  It's a translation of a translation in the tradition of Spicer's After Lorca--"I've brewed my blood.  Paid all my dues.  I really do come/from beyond the tomb.  Commissions?  That I've done" (34).

Our trend forecast?  Poetry is/as criticism, translation, & afterthought.  A new identity politics.  The best of the bad modernisms making a comeback.  Plaid & lace.  However you pull it all together, school's definitely in session.

Yours ever,
R & (r)





Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Across the Oonaverse: Bath, England

Dear (r),

Jane Austen lived here slash didn't like it.




But, as I hope we've established by now, I'm not Jane Austen.




I picked up Carrie Etter's The Tethers (Seren Books, 2009) & a self-published chapbook by James Anderson called Zebra Skin (ephemera & Rimbaudelairianism being among my many weaknesses).


Perfectly curated Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights, my new favorite bookshop 
(the cozy chairs tell you everything you need to know)


Can somebody tell me what "glocal" means?

I liked Anderson's pamphlet/chapbook most for its postcard-like qualities ("I tied a lock to the bridge and writ J & Bath" & "Bath is a dream from which I never wake") & for its cross-genre staging of textual encounters ("The stranger had a single espresso and rested a selection of books on the table [...] she understood herself at a wholly new angle, which would not have happened had she been with someone familiar").

Speaking of, I was so glad to encounter Carrie Etter's book, which articulates its own timid, reluctant, almost logistical faith:

                               [...] Poseidon, the presumably
not arbitrary god who saved them.
(15)

&

                     [...] so I listened 
with dismissive boredom

and watched the girl who spoke
of souls in all creatures
breaking pencils in her lap one by one
through a once inexhaustible supply.
(41)

&

bank to bank: there is no universal
for what keeps us aloft, but O
I cherish it.
(57)

&

All day, each day, the world was at dusk,
the change of light incidental.
When at last I walked to the postbox, afternoon
was everywhere.  I had decades to live.
(59)

Dear (r), skepticism can be pretty gorgeous, no?




I read Anderson & Etter (& also Austen (The Watsons)) on the lawn in front of the Royal Crescent.  There was a guy with an aggressively loud boom box, so I also listened to some classic reggae hits.  


Did the Romans read in the bath?

& then I left on a train.  That's pretty much it.  Tell me where you're headed next.



Yours always,
R

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Squaring the Line. Epistolary Review: Eva Heisler, Drawing Water (Noctuary Press, 2013) & Angela Hume, The Middle (Omnidawn, 2013)


Dear (r),

There’s a phrase you coined that I love: poetic kryptonite.  Yours consists of domestic science fiction, phosphorescent mammals, unironic ghazals, figurative descriptions of literal owls (symbolic owls need not apply), and implicit vampires (regarding explicit vampires, see “symbolic owls”).  And Keats, but that’s a cheap shot.

Mine begins and ends with the line.

By now you know that I’m in a relationship with modernism and it’s complicated.  Even so, I have to introduce you to two fabulous new books via William Carlos Williams in Spring and All:

“From the petals edge a line starts
that being of steel
infinitely fine, infinitely
rigid penetrates
the Milky Way
without contact—lifting
from it—neither hanging
nor pushing

The fragility of the flower
unbruised
penetrates spaces” 

(In the New Directions edition of Imaginations, ed. Webster Schott, pp. 108-9)

Here, Williams illuminates those spots of time, radiant and recurrent throughout Spring and All, when blocks of prose, or almost-prose, fall away and the broken poetic line emerges. 

Then again, maybe it’s all a question of perception.

Take the horizon line, for example,
                                   a mirage

that marks the limit of sight.” 

(7)

So begins Eva Heisler’s Drawing Water, a book that opens with a poetics:

“I spend much of my writing time seeking the horizon
line.   I know that there is no such line  but I see the line
when I look up from small blocks of text and squint at
the sea.   To write prose poems is to resist the horizon
line—

to seek thick thin straight curved broken wavy lines
among crumpled pages.

I work with little ink in my pen and hardly make a
mark.” 

(8)

Heisler’s prose poetry collection, or experimental essay, or discourse on ekphrasis and the materiality of language (“Lines may multiply as cracks across the surface of an old painting/or lines may measure and slice like a butcher’s cleaver” (20)), is one of the first offerings from Noctuary Press, which publishes texts that interrogate genre categories.  Throughout the book's experiment in form and genre, a desire for the artistic/poetic line breaks through, becoming a central and prismatic obsession:

I look back at the doodling I did during the last difficult conversation:
moments of departure are lines of departure that shoot
across a yellow legal pad.  Along the bottom of the page, straight lines
meet at cold right angles.  The lines
are not to be seen.  Like my desire for an elaborate
staging of line breaks.

(11)

Here, as in Spring and All, we see that nonexistent horizon line between text and context, life and writing—the pen hitting paper while the writer speaks, the poem outside the body yet embodied:

line break heart break

(29)  

Or:

“[...] ‘The lines in my hand/will have to do.  They’re already written down.’”

(48)

This link—between the staged or dramatic or rejected or desired or activated work of the line and the human body—brings me to Angela Hume’s award-winning chapbook just out from Omnidawn, The Middle.  I’ve written before about Hume’s subtle, delicate fragments, which enclose the heavy letters of scientific, medical, and philosophical writing.  In this new work, Hume crafts “an aesthetics of/injury” (26) centered on clefts and fractures, “an aesthetics of the middle” (42) that occupies and delimits a space (safe, harmful) between:

“Blunt
objects                        bone            fracture

                                    speech centers                        leave torn
                         human breasts, cleave
                            skulls

((“non-lethal”                                    rubber wax plastic wood                        projectiles

                                                loathe the body, own
                                                   the hema
                                                 toma

the object’s: pain”

(28)  

Hume’s fragments not only occupy a liminal space but also create space as they throw the blank page into contrast and illuminate the shape of what’s missing.  Complementing Heisler’s recurrent, prose-poetic imperative to “cover the square” (52), Hume’s fragments uncover absent text:

“ordinary hour
                        tracing                                    now
now            now

goes and
goes”

(46)

Does it all come back, dear (r), to the poetic line as an imaginary object penetrating nothing, drawing on everything, drawing a possible world on the page?  Hume’s fractured, fragmented, and fractal poetics always strike me as a meditation on what can’t be said, a mapping out of absence.  As Heisler writes:

“but when  white is well  managed,  it ought to  be  strange—tender as 
well as bright—like white roses washed in milk.  The eye ought to seek 
the white for rest, brilliant though it may be; and to feel it as a heathen
space

among a flushing of reds.”

(15)

Sparse, referential, and anti-narrative, both Drawing Water and The Middle offer productive erasures, re-constellated discourse fields, and the page made manifest.  With tremendous delicacy, Heisler and Hume conduct formal experiments that walk the line between thing and space, presence and absence, square and line, prose and poetry.

So the line’s open, dear (r).  Write me soon.

Yrs,
R

Monday, July 1, 2013

Across the Oonaverse: Upstate New York

Dear (r),

There are two Mount Hadleys, one in the southern Adirondacks and one on the moon.

In Johnsburg, New York, there's a road-side egg stand that boasts "Eggs so fresh, you'll want to slap the hens!"  Behind the stand, you can see several dozen chickens and one very large turkey.  You're supposed to leave $3.25 in the money box when you take a crate of eggs, but there's also a security camera & a hand-painted sign alerting you to its presence.  I pointed out that somebody would be more likely to steal the camera itself than a dozen eggs, which prompted my anthropologist to observe that the farmers aren't worried about thieves, per se; they're worried about opportunists.     

Horse races aside, Saratoga Springs is full of temptations.  For instance, you're not supposed to feed the ducks and/or ducklings in the park.  There's also a Lilly Pulitzer store that somehow makes you feel as though you've never really seen a Lilly Pulitzer dress for what it is.  And Joe's dad makes a mean mango tofu.

On a rainy Sunday afternoon, it's important to remember that there is no place to get coffee in uptown Kingston, New York.  & I mean no place.  Even Dunkin' Donuts is closed.  So you'll understand why, after a good long wander through rainy, shuttered streets, an anthropologist, a comparativist, a pit bull, and your R found themselves catching up over the selected works of local poets.




We bought two copies of Dan Wilcox's boundless abodes of Albany (Benevolent Bird Press, 2010), which features the following crafty aubade:

DECOUPAGE ME

Cut me up, paste me
in your collage, over
that waterfall, or inside
that shell, expanding
like breath,
                  better yet
put me next to that naked woman
(a nice place to be)
or, sometime soon
next to you, stuck
in the grey glue of morning.
     (18)




I was also drawn to Four Women (EXILIT, 2005), a co-authored chapbook featuring 3-5 poems contributed by four poets.  We can't know why Ina Conneally, Sandra Graff, Jeanne W. Mueller, & Mona Toscano decided to collaborate on a chapbook, or why they decided to make the most basic details of the chapbook's authorship its title, but somewhere in that mystery there are echoes of those handwritten books passed from hand to hand by women at the turn of the nineteenth century.  & these echoes reverberate in the chapbook's scenes of daily life: "Someone tried to sell me perfume/I told him I wasn't into/Odors from nobody's sweat" (Conneally, 5); "Dump your husband if/he won't help you with housework/So you have time to hang the wash/outside on the line" (Graff, 10); "she,/who knows proper placement for all objects/in her refrigerator,who tells/stories three times and doesn't say,//'Stop me if you've heard this" (Mueller, 16); "My daughter has told me she is in love" (Toscano, 22).

Finally, we bought James Lonergan's Poached Dreams (Epigraph Books, 2010), a book of poems written by the bookseller's father over the course of forty years.  Its questions range from the satiric metaphysical ("Does God go to parties and let his hair down?" (71)) to the grotesque mundane ("I have driven you/from our bed./Is it my farting?" (27)) to something somewhere in between:

He once asked me out of the blue
What I thought was the dirtiest part of one's body.

I laughed at the question.  "Your ass."
He said "Your hand."

At our twenty-fifth class reunion
He asked the same question again.

I laughed at the question.  "Your hand."
He said "Your head."
     (14)

Such questions are interspersed with poems in a range of registers, elegy, epigraph & ode (to life Upstate, among other things) chief among them.

(r), when I wrote to you from Gore Mountain, I asked you for a fact to ponder & you wrote, When you fold down the arms of a paper star, you get a pentagon, which is the shape of a house.  The stars are always so close to home.

Yours as always,
R

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

dear you

We're pretty preoccupied with the poetics of epistolary exchange, so we're pumped about Miranda July's new project, We Think Alone.  It's an art installation in your inbox, a new take on found poetry, and sign-up starts today!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Epistolary Review: The Loving Detail of the Living & the Dead, Eleni Sikelianos (Coffee House Press 2013)

Dear R., 

Maybe you remember those "find the hidden objects" pictures they used to pass out in elementary school to fill up any ort of time that might blossom unexpectedly in the regimented day: line drawings, simple but dense (a forest, a playground, a circus tent) that contained any number of unlikely images. There would be the outline of a sandwich tucked away among a number of square-ish roof tiles, a fish camouflaged against the trunk of a tree, a flower billowing out of a smokestack. At the bottom of the picture, the master list of objects would be written out so you could check them off as you found them. There was usually a prize for the first to finish.

I was never the first to finish--partly because of my undiscerning eye, partly, I think, because I could not get past the lost objects themselves. Who had lost them & why? What tragedy of carelessness had stranded that cuckoo in the coarse coral? My seeking required a narrative & this slowed my progress considerably. There was also, in all this, my sense that I was, in many ways, more likely to be a sort of lost item than a detective effective, pursuing my directive. I was always (one art) getting lost or losing things. I still am.

Your parakeet arrived by the promised courier. Thank you so much for it. I will keep it in plain sight so as to keep it from the tally of the missing.

I've got quite a few things to say about two recent collections from Coffee House Press but I think, in the interest of time, I've really got to restrict myself to one. Hélas for Juliana Leslie, whose Green is for World has become, since its release in late 2012, one of my favorite new collections. I hope I'll get around to writing about it one day soon--for it really does merit the attention--but pride of place here will go to The Loving Detail of the Living & the Dead by Eleni Sikelianos as that one is freshest in my mind.

Come, let us speak of shadows. The Loving Detail is full of them: 
The future seen 
in the deer trimming the grass then wearing their shadows down to nubs (35)

These are things that detain the soul in the mind:
Shadows, flames, trees, columns, dolls, pools, children, Polaroids, carbon, waste (37)

What Sikelianos means by "soul," here, is more a question mark than a fixed concept. Several poems play with the complex structure of the subject as outlined by ancient Egyptian texts: the ib (heart), the ren (name), the ba (soul), the ka (spirit), & especially the sheut or swt (shadow). For Sikelianos, the swt is (after the Manuel de Codage transliteration of a hieroglyphic word) "the pitch-black shadow of the soul, which can move independently of its body" (100). & indeed, much of The Loving Detail is about observing the things that shadows get up to when they take it in mind to walk abroad in the ordinary evenings: "we arrive & there's a corpse of an hour, what happened/here?" (2). 

What if all you could know of the world were the dreams that you & everyone who preceded you had projected onto it? What if you could recognize the presence of the dreams of others' but their content remained shut to you so that the pulsing detachable shadow-stuff of experience seemed to you conscious, independent but swift-moving, barely palpable--a universe of dark matter? What if it was given to you to know the conditions of your knowing & to labor on in the full knowledge of them? Who & what would you be &--terrible thought--who & what would you not be?

These are old questions & have been walking by themselves a long time now. Sikelianos tracks their footsteps in poems like "Her Yardtalk," in which a child (it's tempting to associate her with Sikelianos's young daughter Eva) asks "Mamma, how many days do we have/left before we die?" (56). Or else consider these lines from "Essay: the Living Leave the Dead": Replacing the family organs that sleep in the body like loving, licking/ghosts, a new ghost organ comes to live in my body" (49). In the hierophantic world of The Loving Detail, an encounter with the shadow tends to mean the flowering of a sense of mortality. This is almost too easy a metaphor. Except when it isn't. Shadows are earnest. Shadows are erudite. Their ubiquity is no one's fault, maybe not even their own. Sometimes commonality is vulgar & sometimes it is merely--our common. Whose shadow are you seeking, anyway?

Whose shadow are you seeking anyway? 

One way of reading The Loving Detail is as a detective story. You might start, for instance, with the shadow called "Charlene," possibly a poetic "alter/ego" (69) after the fashion, say, of Berryman's Henry (these are dream songs of a sort). Charlene, who drifts in and out of a great many of these poems is a presence cryptic, sardonic, & prophetic:

        Charlene
your hair was 
a tall girl, big girl      blonde as cigarette smoke
You had a boat by the river, little boat tied to the banks
a wooden ship of luxury because freedom 
is    You could float away, come home
                        float away, come

                                                    home (5)

Charlene is the psychopomp, ferrying the souls of the dead hither & yon. She is "a goddess./She's a living woman./She's mon semblable" (23). She cries like a baby deer (45). She

makes a little hole in the dirt
with her finger     soul's dirt    lets water
pour in     that's how the body gets
so fucking muddy! (69)

Attend to the clues judiciously dispensed at intervals by your guide, who is also, obscurely, dear gumshoe, the object of your search. It sounds tautological because it is tautological. But that doesn't mean it's wrong. How much of what we do, sometimes, owes itself to this particular tautology: the attempt to find, define, commune with the dream-self, the shadow-self, the weird animal that natters away where "[t]he mind caresses the body" (48)? That phrase reeks of Cartesian dualism in a way I find a bit troubling, though I acknowledge how that dualism can structure experience. Maybe there are times--in the approach to a death--for example, when it's helpful to think of the mind as the lover of the body, the body as that which inevitably falls out of love with heedless, ardent consciousness. 

One thinks of Swann & Odette & the little phrase by Vinteuil, which is only right, since Sikelianos quotes Man Ray's deathbed photograph of Marcel Proust in "His Dead Eyebrow":



I'm making all this sound morbid, which it isn't, quite. Morbidity has nothing in it of play & Sikelianos does play, after a fashion: "I'm a girl whose name is boy, that's trouble that's a/pleasure" (78). Maybe there's a word for that tonal combination after all, like the faintly noxious scent that clings to all these beautiful saucer magnolia trees: gallows humor? Charlene would know, if you could only find her to ask her.

Your little bird-&-meat subject,

(r)

Monday, April 22, 2013

All's metamorphosis/flutters the butterfly--



Dear (r),

At some point tomorrow afternoon, you'll hear a knock at your door, and when you go to answer you will find a friendly anthropologist, and he will have brought you a parakeet.

Forgive me.  I never meant to send a parakeet.  I meant to send you this lovely little edition of Nelly Sachs's Glowing Enigmas, translated by Michael Hamburger & newly released by Tavern Books.  Written in a tiny apartment in Stockholm in the 1960s, Glowing Enigmas is a modernist long poem (echoes of H.D.'s Trilogy, say: "Job was swaddled/in the life-bearing body of the stars/Someone shakes the blackness/till the apple Earth drops/ripened to its end/A sigh/is that the soul--?" (101)) penned in exile.  So we get the biblical Song of Songs:

"Rich I am as the ocean
of past and future
and wholly of mortal stuff
I sing your song--"
     (103)

but the spiritual longing is braided into the fabric of a post-war elegy:

"and then my Thou
who was kept a prisoner
and whom to release I was chosen
and whom in enigmas I lost once more
until hard silence descended on silence
and a love was granted its coffin--"
     (96)

It's a gentler Wasteland, less critique & more loss.  Sachs : Wolfe :: Oppen : Eliot.  Or something like that.  It's a challenge to Adorno, a poetry of pure witness:

"My love flowed out into your martyrdom
broke through death
We live in resurrection--"
     (33)

& more than that it's an object, at once earthly & human & lost:

"If I close my eyes
suns push their time
leaving golden homes
yet inhabiting them
Mineral knows the way
to saved-up eternity
no longer passable
save unconscious in love--"
     (51)

The long poem is grounded firmly in postwar Europe, where, it reminds us, "You heard/something new" (93).  & it's the combination of novelty & elegy--a combination that occasions the occasional foray into figurative lepidoptery--that glows through the translation.

So when I opened to the first page ("You are beyond!" (11)), I knew I had to read the poem all the way through before I sent it along to you.  And so, because I don't often have a messenger, I sent you a parakeet in its place.*  Will you feed it pink melon?  Will you read it Jane Yeh?  Will you play it Waxahatchee?  Will you drop me a line?

Always,
R

*Not a real parakeet.

Monday, March 11, 2013

ephemera on purpose



You know we love epistolarity & experimental criticism & all that jazz, so it should come as no surprise that we're sold on Tavern Books' new monthly subscription series, The Honest Pint.  This month we received an essay by Diane Wakoski about Robinson Jeffers: "No poem has ever empowered me as this poem did when I was just a young girl in 1954 [...] Perhaps I've always been a Romantic Feminist, but if so it was Jeffers' poetry that awakened me."  It's a lovely throwback to the Alternative Press Multiple Originals Project, discussed here & here, but with a prose twist.  Now if only we could figure out how to write back...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Songs of Innocence & of Experience: Epistolary Review, Anne Carson's Red Doc> (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013)

Dear (r),

Sequels are kind of terrifying.  (C.f. Songs of Innocence and of Experience, c.f. The Fault in Our Stars.)  Sequels to books you really, really love are even scarier.  You know, dear (r), how impatiently I waited for Knopf to release the much-anticipated sequel to Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red.  You know with what eagerness I snatched up the first uncorrected proof to cross my path.  & then of course you know that I traveled with the book for over 12,000 miles (wouldn't Geryon be proud?) trying to work up the courage to read it.

Because here's the thing--doesn't Herakles vanquish Geryon?  Isn't that kind of the point?  & when Herakles' (would you write Herakles's?) labor is reimagined as first love--loss of innocence & traveling to a volcano & learning to fly in an airplane & maybe also with your own wings & then there's that amazing closing image where there is somehow an oven built into the side of the volcano & bread baking but also like this question of eternity--then what happens after that?  If first love destroys you, & that destruction creates you, then what happens in the sequel?

To read an artful answer, with just enough spoilers, I'll point you to this gleeful review by Rosecrans Baldwin.  As Baldwin will tell you, the answer includes PTSD, & a concentrated focus on mental health, and enough ice caves to balance out the hottest volcano.  There are also a couple of great new characters--an artist named Ida, a mythical bovine who really seems to get what's going on--in addition to the characters we remember, who are almost completely re-imagined.  This is to say that while sometimes G sounds like an older Geryon (Am I/turning into one of those/old guys in a ponytail and/wings he thinks sadly (55)) there's also a boldness here that is at times unfamiliar (He shoots his wings to/their fullest expanse and/screams once as he leaves/the ground (135)).  The effect is estranging:

/ are you

meeting someone/ yes /
who / a stranger / how will

you recognize each other /
is a strange way / strange

to both of you / that

would have been a
problem / it's no longer a
problem / no

(119)

Echos of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Spicer.  Carson's intertexts are new and strange in this chapter: Beckett; Proust; Daniil Kharms translated by Matvei Yankelevich.  The form & format, too, have shifted: a dramatic chorus; vertical columns of short-line verse.  The verse novel/drama unfolds over new (textual, emotional, ecological) landscapes, a sequel as echo (not postscript), a song of experience.


Red Doc> by Anne Carson
Bookmark by Noël Lily Da

As the final lines of the book tell us, things are what they are ("Well not every day/can be a masterpiece./This one sails out and out/and out" (164)).  With Red Doc>, we may not get too many answers, but at least

The journey continues,
R

Friday, March 1, 2013

oonavent: Conference on Ecopoetics, Berkeley CA



The oonaverse converged last weekend for the Conference on Ecopoetics in sunny Berkeley.  There we consumed poetry & vistas & slow-cooked tempeh & good conversation!  A few of our favorite souvenirs included Joshua Marie Wilkinson's poem-films (like this one) & our new obsession with Emily Dickinson's herbarium (thanks, Gillian Osborne!) & a renewed desire to travel to a volcano & write about it (of which more later) & Matthias Regan's dramatic-poem-as-conference-paper (The parasite universalized as life./What is the poet to do?).  We enjoyed the chance to reconnect with several perennial oona muses & also to eat what we're pretty sure was panna cotta with pine needles in it & we're comfortable with that.  Also, & this is a big also, on the plane to California some of us finally got up the nerve to read Anne Carson's Red Doc > after traveling with it for over 12,000 miles because reading the sequel to your favorite book (not counting Lyrical Ballads & Jane Eyre) is terrifying.  We'll have that dispatch for you soon, along with reviews of some great spring reads. 

Until then, dear reader,

      stay warm,

           R & (r)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heroes & Monsters & Fireflies

For you, dear reader, 3 valentines:

•  Dispatch from the 30th century: our (r) interviews Raymond McDaniel about his new book, Special Powers and Abilities, here.

•  Update from the oonaverse: we've been traveling with Anne Carson's Red Doc> & we'll check in soon with an update about our favorite red monster!

•  Last but not least, we give you this really great love poem by Nate Pritts!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Even in the heart of an artichoke, there's probably a god.

Happy New Year from all of us here in the oonaverse!  Here's a new poem by Dean Young to help you start the year right.

Yours in the last days of the year of the dragon,
R & (r)