Thursday, November 12, 2009

A little News: reading, publication, editing...

It was very exciting to hear from Bob Bishop that this, my personal blog, as well as the Paris Listings one appeared in the Paris Voice site's article "Our Favorite Paris Blogs". Read the article by CLICKING HERE (or cut and paste the link:

Minireview of of a good "READ"
(1913 & Tamaas, 2009)
I was thrilled to be handed a copy of READ (A journal of inter-translation, 2007) by Sarah Riggs. READ is like an exciting little black book--or, well, fairly big, in fact black book! This bilingual volume contains the results of the 3rd annual Tamaas-sponsored exciting week of cross-translation, cross-fertilization, play on and between languages, the Read seminar that took place at Reid Hall in Paris, and which concluded with a June reading. This volume, also entitled READ, includes the resulting texts & translations by Pierre Joris, Habib Tengour, Marie Borel, Sarah Riggs, Jean-Jacques Poucel, Frederic Forte, Vincent Broqua and Charles Alexander. And not to say you should really get your hands on this, or well, to say you really MUST get your hands round this, I think the tail end of Pierre Joris' poem Restitution, about stealing a comic book, puts it most accurately:

"...sneak it secretly

into the candy jar
the caramel steal

I never thought of
stealing so did not need

to think of restitution but
the book I'll keep the book" (READ, p 24).

Yes, so shall I (keep this book)! And should you get your hands on a copy of READ via or else through or, you will also want to hold on tight to these pages and read, reread, treasure "the book I'ill keep the book".

Announcing My New & Forthcoming Publications:

Watch for the new issue of ELEKSOGRAPHIA, soon forthcoming (read the current and past issues online at In this new issue, guest edited by American poet Alexander Dickow, many of the Paris and the American-Parisian authors you know and love will have works. I am thrilled to be included among them, and in multiple ways:

1) There well be a selection of a few of my own poems from the continuation of the book Enclosure in this issue. (These poems are from the third section of that manuscript still in progress, the first section is what makes up the ebook Enclosures from Blazevox Books available as free pdf).

2) as well as a nice series of translations of Albane Gellé's
Un bruit de verre en elle (the sound of glass inside her, inventaire/invention) In fact, almost all of the translations of this book will have now appeared in print or online!

3) and finally a review of Claude Royet-Journoud's chapbook Kardia (published by
Eric Pesty Editeur, 2009). The review for Eleksographia is in English, although the chapbook is in French.

Action Yes! is an exciting online quarterly magazine linked to the fabulous small press Action Books. This fall they had a call for work and I sent on translations of
Jean-Michel Espitallier's work "58 propositions" which will be appearing at the end of Dec 2009 or in early Jan 2010.

Just finished the next column for Tears in The Fence: so please watch for issue 51, out this winter, including my text: Of Tradition & Experiment III : « Sound Forms in Time », a personal monologue about anthologizing poetic practices of writing lyrically. If you have not had the opportunity to read Tears in the Fence great anniversary issue 50, I am pleased to say that my column "Of Tradition and experiment" that time on "the objet" is included among a really exciting array of other critical and creative work, including poetry by
Todd Swift who has a hilarious image to go with his blogpost about issue 50!

Thinking about my own article in TITF issue 50, entitled Of Tradition & Experiment 2 : The Object in the Poem, it made me think this week about an intriguing new book I saw was just out from Ugly Duckling Presse, Notes on Conceptualisms. Because on Ugly Duckling's publicity page for this most intriguing sounding book by Vanessa Place and Rob Fitterman, Marjorie Perloff is quoted as responding to the authors saying:
"“The problem facing contemporary innovative writing is that having gotten out of the cult of the author, we’re left with either the cult of the performer or the cult of the object, and the object, in order not to be secretly authorial, must be mass-made . . . and the cult of the author is finally and fully replaced by the cult of the authority.” What to do? In their delightful and wise Notes on Conceptualisms, Vanessa Place and Robert Fitterman sketch out some exciting “conceptualist” alternatives, all of them having to do with creation—which is what art is all about..."
This certainly makes me want to give it a read. But of course that is entirely tangential to my trying to do some self-publicity here (so, perhaps buy their book & get a copy of TITF issue 50? To see whether there are any parallel lines? Or don't, but I will!)

I am still waiting to see the next issue of Paris-based magazine, now edited by Barbara Beck, Upstairs at Duroc, in which a few of my translations of Jérôme Mauche will be appearing. Upstairs has been going through the WICE move, and so it has book its old website still out there, but is also attached to WICE at its NEW WEBSITE for Upstairs at Duroc. As you can see, it is still catching up with itself--with samples of writing from issue 1, edited and founded by Dawn Michelle Baude, then issues 2-6, which I edited and sometimes coedited with partners such as Stephanie Condas, then starting with issue 7 Barbara Beck became editor. Samples of work extend through issue 8 for now, but watch for 9-10 issue samples soon. It is Upstairs at Duroc issue 11 which will hit the newsstands in January 2010, and we are all looking forward to another exciting issue of the magazine.

Other forthcoming in a farther off future are translations, which include a series of new prose poems by French poet Albane Gellé (read some of her books: Un bruit de verre en elle or Quelques from Inventaire/invention, or Je, Cheval from éditions Jacques Bremond, 2007) The translations I am doing are of new, as-of-yet unpublished works written for a photography catalogue & show. The photographers will be including recordings of those poems around the artworks, perhaps also placing texts on the walls alongside the work, and all of which will appear in a catalogue due out in the Fall of 2010 (more specifics on that when they are ready!).

Guest editing galore!
It is exciting to read works by others, to delve into all the varied various multifaceted ways in which people write, read, reflect, bring language together. So this fall, as I move a bit out of the PhD phase into wherever it is I am going next, editing for journals has been a huge thrill.

As you know: working with VERSAL Magazine out of Amsterdam, so if you have not sent in work yet, do get cracking as we are barrelling down on the deadling.

Also, I am thrilled to be a tiny part, a cog, in the exciting vast new project which is the "innovative poetry" magazine entitled
CLEAVES JOURNAL. The unique move Manchester author Harry Godwin is making with this journal is having tons of mini-editor selections from various and varied regions around the UK, Europe, & perhaps soon the universe! I kid, there, but it is an interesting idea: he invites editors, and each editor supplies 3-5 pages of poetry from 1-3 authors in their part of the world, then they also select the next "guest editor" who will then select work form that area of the world for the next issue. I am guesting for Paris, and you will all have to watch the review emerge this December to see both who I selected as authors, and who will be representing Paris next! But also, I think we will be seeing, through this process, a really wide range of work from very different sub-areas, esp in the UK. So keep your eye on CLEAVES JOURNAL, and their site (still under construction):

Orchestrating is more what I am doing, since French author and performer Anne Kawala gave me "carte blanche" for a
RoToR. I will end up inviting through specific directioning 5 texts and 5 images, by 5 authors but only 1 artist, for the RoToR. More on that as it emerges, but it will be entirely en français!!!! Thus Anne &RoToR are really giving me an opportunity to feel something I am desperately searching for at this stage: a deeper integration into the French creative world, one I play hostess to with Michelle Noteboom and Ivy writers, and one I enjoy as spectator, or write about as critic. But this will be a new kind of involvement, one that is closer, and where I can see how my selections of authors work and work through each other. I am really delighted!!! See RoToR 1 online, and the exchange as the text-words rotated through these authors:

And lastly, I have continued to enjoy doing

My part for writing collaboratives:
First, as part of the rewords blog, now into its 3rd year! My most recent poempost on Rewords is Inhalation Wavelets. It is up at

I also participated last month in the exciting
350 poems project. 350 Poems: "The poem is the cry of its occasion". This project posting by 24 Oct 2009 (international climate day) 350 poems for the max safe upper limit of 350 CO2 level parts per million in the atmosphere was part of, as they say "over 5200 events in 181 countries, [making] the 24th...the most widespread day of political action in history." My poem is number 178. It was inspired originally, or in some deep rooted way, by writings that used a lot of nature images and which were written by Nate Pritts. He is the editor of the exciting, innovative online magazine H_NGM_N Thanks, Nate, for your poetry!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Talking about the pages we love...

Sometimes it seems that the words of writers that have come before us LOOM. There is something larger than life, untouchable about certain texts or their authors. For me, this applies to Dante, about whom I cannot write critical work because I feel overshadowed by the accomplishment of the original, daunted, humbled. For others, it is the work of Shakespeare, Joyce, Stein, Dickinson, Whitman, Stevens, Mallarmé, Baudelaire, Homer, Ovid, Olson--and the list could go on and on--which they are unable to write about.

Thinking of this reminds me of a moment at Mount Holyoke College where I was studying the poetry of Zinnaida Gippius, battling with it. I wrestled with all of the mysteries of it which I felt unable to grapple, to peel open, to see into even enough to write the term paper I was struggling with. I fell into a deep sleep and there she was, in a smokey haze, wearing a tux, leaning back on a wooden barstool, peering at me--as if to say, "Go ahead, ask" And as I shrieked "I just don't understand you!" over and over, one of my hallmates rushed into my room and shook me awake saying I had been yelling that aloud. Who knows, perhaps I did manage in the end to write about the enticing world of Gippius' poems for Joseph Brodsky to scoff at my young reflections on, but more importantly, for me, this was the first in a long series of strangely delightful battles. The work did not deliver itself openly to me. It had to be pried out, re-read, re-examined, questioned, interrogated, slept with.

That reminds me of Harryette Mullen's fabulous title Sleeping With the Dictionary. Doesn't every author, in a way, go to bed with one ear on the massive tome of their thesaurus, their dictionary, their real or imagined OED? As Susan Howe and Dominique Fourcade talked about Emily Dickinson's fascicles in Paris this weekend, they also spoke of her Dictionary. We have an intimate relationship with words as authors, their corporeal being, our desire to give them more physical stature than perhaps others do. As in the photos of Howe here, where it seems that she is reaching not up at a screen to point something out, but back through time to an enlarged version of Johnathan Edwards' manuscripts. She is reaching towards Edwards' time-tattered, world-worn scribbles, into the textured spaces of the paper itself, past projected powerpoint image, colored light, past now, back to the center of some space between two handwritten letters. Can we touch the other, there, between the print?

Is that not, in a way, what reading is about somehow? Contact. Word and space and ourselves not fixed in time but carried through it, forward and back, infinite?

It sometimes feels as if, to me, we can touch the other, the author, there, between their scribbled syllables. Consonant. Vowel. Dashed-off punctuation. We spend so much time reading the words that eventually they blurr, we drift off with them, they carry us out over a seascape, dreamscape, closer and farther to them. Things as we study them, both as scholars and as authors, peel out, open, as if to core, text, to stand before its center, to listen to it so closely that our hearing seems augmented and all sound comes in and then, where there was only confusion, only incapacity to reach the text, there is suddenly a moment, as of a chill rising up our spine, when it seems the entire poem, book, author gives itself to us. Sure, this is illusive. It is temporary, perhaps illusion. But it is like the phrase by Paul Valéry selected to accompany Saturday's talk by Howe and Fourcade at Le Petit Palais: "Une oeuvre d'art devrait toujours nous apprendre que nous n'avions pas vu ce que nous voyons."

I pull out and peruse my notes from the various talks I heard Friday at l'institut du Charles V, caught by the phrases I jotted down: "The flux of drawings challenging the fixity of text" (Antoine Cazé, from 'Susan Howe: TransParencies')"Disruptive energies of this radicalism" and "textual brokenness becomes a motif" (Will Montgomery, 'Susan Howe's Later Lyric'), "Move in closer to the enclosure of words...boundaries/known reference points begin to disappear." and "Explode the book into a space." (Redell Olsen, 'Book parks: scripted enclosures and Susan Howe's spatial poetics')

I left feeling that the material-ness, the material of, the materialism of physical nature of the world--and my, our, these selves--is in flux. The body that is me at one moment is solid. Granite. And then there is a breeze passing through a muslin shift. What of the me, us, solid, remains in that second instant? This, too, is reading--the passing from what I know, see, hear, feel at this moment of reading, to the moment after, when the knowing, seeing, hearing, feeling has shifted. I let go, I point towards. I enter the flow of the gaps which carry me, buoyant, to and fro in these, my languages.

We readers/writers are perhaps in the destruction/construction of history. At least this is something I feel I have learned after many years reading and studying the works of Susan Howe, Myung Mi Kim, Anne-Marie Albiach and Stéphane Mallarmé. I came here for him, and as I worked at the end of my PhD, I--like these accidentally-intriguing pictures I took of Howe--felt I was reaching towards those manuscript pages of Un coup de Dès propped on my desk to an explanation for what connected us as much as to understand the work itself. I was reaching towards the unnammable, unknowable first instant, the second before the sound became, the poem spoke.

But I suppose I should leave off here with some of the phrases from Saturday's talk. Perhaps in a language you speak, perhaps in a language which remains a series of glyphs and signs to be sounded out towards meaning: from the programme of "Autour d'Emily Dickinson. Avec Susan Howe et Dominique Fourcade":

"Les artistes ne perçoivent pas immédiatement toutes les relations au sein d'une oeuvre: ils les sentent.

Là où une pensée se surprendrait au moment de voir.
Là où une pensée s'entendrait voir.

Ces fragments et brouillons à la limite du dessin sont suggestifs, nullement statiques.

Sensation qui se replie sur soi pour rester à sa propre hauteur."
(programme du Petit Palais, le 31 Octobre 2009)