Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ongoing notes: early January, 2012

So, on January 6, we finally broke down, and picked up a kitten from the Humane Society. Apologies to our allergic friends who can now no longer visit. We swear, it wasn’t about excluding you.

Will four-month-old Lemonade (yes, that’s his name) survive longer than Christine’s plants? I sure hope so. He spends half his time sitting or sleeping with us, and the other half, tearing around the apartment, getting into absolutely everything. And now we aren’t the only cat-less apartment in our little building. Apparently we’ve already scheduled a play-date with the cat on the first floor (sigh).

Toronto ON: Another self-publication from Marcus McCann is Labradoodle (The Onion Union, 2011), “Published privately for Mark Schaan, with love, / on the event of Christmas 2011.” Can you think of anything so lovely? A chapbook of six poems, “after David McGimpsey,” McCann plays off Montreal poet and musician David McGimpsey’s sonnet-wise variation pop culture poems, reading nearly as a short essay on McGimpsey’s work.
Three years ago, I was not quite ready to use
the word labradoodle in a poem

It’s like that time I found, in the memo folder
of my Blackberry, the one word memo
Cocktapus. I thought about it for a long time,
how it got there, what I was trying to say

to my future self. Dear self. Cocktapus.
Much later, I added two more words:
Cocktipmus Prime. You can be physically
ready for sex but not emotionally ready,

I learned in grade eight. It was confirmed
the day I crossed out April on the office
calendar and wrote Cocktober. I just hadn’t
figured out what part of misery

labradoodle” stood in for. Now I think I know.
Every day is a David McGimpsey poem,
and it’s half golden lab, and half whatever
doodle” stands for. It is not good news.
Over the past couple of years, Marcus McCann has been branching out in all sorts of interesting directions, and reads as one of the smartest and most interesting of all the young poets currently writing in Canada. Certainly, most readings of McGimpsey’s poems have been misunderstandings, or readings distracted by the humour, and missing the rest of what his work is doing, and dealing with. McCann’s final poem in the collection, “A primer on David McGimpsey for those / who have never heard of David McGimpsey” reads:
That and the Olsen twins. People say,
David McGimpsey is the guy who writes
funny poems. Which is a little like saying,
Hey, he’s the guy with the really funny cancer.
Toronto ON: After seeing numerous self-published chapbooks by Toronto writer Sarah Pinder, it’s exciting to hear she has a trade poetry collection forthcoming with Coach House Books. Her most recent small publication (in anticipation, I suppose) is Obsolete Objects in the Literary Imagination (bits of string, 2011, with the title of the publication and the poem titles taken “from chapter titles (or modified chapter titles) from a book called Obsolete Objects in the Literary Imagination by Francesco Orlando (Yale University Press, 2006).”

think first to fire wounding the wall,
sending it up in a thick sheet, so quiet from the road
where we scrape our thighs.

evidence of all sinners here: vowels,
formaldehyde, pancake in a limited range of shade melting,
melting in its pans, simply contained, simmering
little complaints, nothing like life-like, we can surely agree
on this building, lit, graduating to a ghost of ash, lilies
claimed, culled, refused.

all the trees retreat, gasping; we lean in,
the afternoon unlaces.
I’m intrigued by this, and the repeated reference to silence, references to ghosts, as well as the poem dedicated to Alice Oswald, “Making Decisions in Order to Proceed,” that begins: “Time-lapsed smoke curled back / toward your pursed oh / channels silence.”

Houston TX: The newest in Dawn Pendergasts’ little red leaves textile editions, “lovingly sewn using textile remnants,” is Rachel Blau DuPlessis’ Draft 96: Velocity (2011), part of an ongoing sequence that has appeared in volumes such as Drafts 1-38, Toll (Wesleyan University Press, 2001), Drafts 39-57, Pledge, with Draft unnumbered: Précis (Salt Publishing, 2004). Pitch: Drafts 77-95 (Salt Publishing, 2010) and The Collage Poems of Drafts (Salt Publishing, 2011). Constructed with two extended sections, the second working more prose-poem forms, Draft 96: Velocity is a steady pulse of swallowtails, one that increases exponentially its speed.
That gust of pulsing, wide and fast. plunging crosswise push and change that made this mark, this / this \. like any brightness blown, any wing or leaf, I wanted to say it was Parnassius mnemosyne (clouded Apollo) for its fancier name – which wasn’t true. It was just a swallowtail in which the word “memory” did not appear nor the touch of “poetry.” It was just ordinary, not endangered, no more than any thing.
It’s interesting to read such pieces, her “Drafts” individually, knowing that there will be a point when they will only been seen as a larger unit. Does this mean we miss what they might catch, and possibly, vice versa? Just how connected are her drafts, and how do they read sequentially? A small note at the back of this exquisitely designed volume gives some context to the poem, and reads:
It was the Old World or Common Yellow Swallowtail—Papilio machaon. Parnassius mnemosyne, also a swallowtail, is both rarer and endangered. The citation in German is from Rilke, from the first Duino Elegy. “We’re coming here with pieces of people we’ve lost,” stated by Norma Gabriel Taylor and cited by Matt Saldaña in an article about the inauguration of Barack Obama, The Independent: The Triangle’s Weekly, Jan. 22, 20009, 5. The poem is the first work of beginning again on the “line of one.”

1 comment:

L.A. Jones said...

I love the cat he is so cute! And don't feel bad about the name. My cat's names are mr. Whiskers and Meowkins.