Monday, June 20, 2011

Ongoing notes: mid-June, 2011

Ralph Franklin's recent facsimile edition has at last made available to readers Dickinson's particular intentions for the order the poems were to be read in. But a proliferation of silly books and articles continue to disregard this great writer's working process. Is it because a poet-scholar in full possession of her voice won't fit the legend of deprivation and emotional disturbance embellished and enlarged on over the years, with the help of books like John Cody's reprehensible biographical psychoanalysis? After Great Pain is the rape of a great poet. That Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar continue to draw on his dubious and reductivist conclusions, and even seem to agree with him in places, is a sorry illustration of the continuing vulgarization of the lives of poets, pandering to the popular sentiment that they are society's fools and madwomen.
Vancouver BC: For years now, Vancouver-based poet, editor and publisher Warren Dean Fulton has been writing an array of small poems, some of which have appeared through his Pooka Press, or in various other publications, including the recently-produced The Dusty Owl Quarterly, edited by myself. I was only recently made aware of three small chapbooks of his produced by Californian publisher POEMS-FOR-ALL, his I'll Always Lie To You (2007), Swallowing Spiders While Sleeping (2007) and crickets in the city: a tiny collection of poems (2007). Self-described as “an ongoing project of the 24th Street Irregular Press” out of Sacramento, California, POEMS-FOR-ALL has distributed tiny chapbooks by a whole range of writers, including d.a.levy and Robert Creeley, with over a thousand different publications “scattered around town, on buses, trains, rest-rooms, coffee shops, left along with the tip; stuffed in a stranger's back pocket, whatever, wherever.”
poem starting w/ a line
from a poem by Sylvia Plath

love is a shadow
a silhouette of
to its source
that only the light
of the other
will reveal
Fulton's poems, when effective, read like tiny revelations, as a series of little epiphanies, nearly in the Frank O'Hara style of “I-did-this, I-did-that” school. These small pieces, of the past near-two decades I've been aware of his work, read to be some of the most effective of his pieces, written in small moments, focusing on the pinprick, there. There.

Doha, Qatar: Digging through shelves while seeking something else (Fred Wah's So Far, by the by), I discovered a copy of Elisabeth Workman's opolis (typografika, 2007), stunningly produced with images by Erik Brandt as a dusie kollectiv chapbook that year [see my review of the chapbook she produced for this year's run of same]. Why can't I remember receiving this?



zeal is another approach to mapping blood, any, adagio, and the point at which I tongued the slope of your nose. I do this when no others might notice because we are public and the risk is spectacle. Every door is an open mouth but the trees like bronzed contortionists are the whisperers. Type A. Silencio. Voyeurs appropriate transitively. Otherwise we would wait out the display aimlessly. I mean we and all the others, so that masturbation is not singular—rather, more like tourism. Quite appealingly the view is not available for reproduction; it cuts a part of you so preciously, so what. I tasted afternoon and anthrax but only overheard that we had caught up with ourselves unexpectedly as if the windows were really only an avalanche of apologies. In the distance, obstructed or artificial, we could still hear the iambic ah-ha's of the highway, and I made it about myself by myself with a warning about bullshit and bliss and architecture

I am fascinated by these prose-poems, held in breathless space each at the bottom of an otherwise open, empty page. Would these pieces read as breathlessly accumulative and overflowing as they appear? How exactly might these sound? They read like the water rushing over an entirety of falls, washing away all else.

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