ongoing notes, May 2005
Calgary AB: Another little package of publications from ryan fitzpatrick’s MODL Press (c/o 7419-25 St. S. E., Calgary AB Canada T2C 1A3 or email@example.com) arrived in the mail this past week (ryan is an editor for filling Station magazine, as well as a poet in his own right), including two little items by jason christie & derek beaulieu, a chapbook for Asian Heritage Month, & Pirate Lore by Brea Burton, Jill Hartman & Cara Hedley. I’ll start with the last on that list – leave it to three writers without an ocean anywhere near to compose a small chapbook of pirate tales. Uncredited, the short pieces drift in & out of each other nicely. Hartman has produced a number of things over the years, from chapbooks to her impressive Calgary opera/poem The Painted Elephant (Coach House Books), & Burton has produced as well, but I have no idea who Hedley is. It reads as a fun project, & makes me wonder if they will be taking it any further, or if this is where it remains, as twenty pages of anonymous text?
legs like tree trunks, jolly boats, ship masts, her left buttock at top sail,
gluteus maximus, true story, any man who touches her calf is going to
get splinters, any man who touches her thigh is going to get cut, still,
some sailors like to climb the rigging.
the dream goes like a skate blade, crisscross, the myth goes like ice,
smooth on the surface, like skin, she glides, slides, commits
romanticide, hard hearted, puck fisted, her skin flakes, breaks, she peels
in pinwheels, true story, when she cries her tears form a frozen lake
around Freud’s ankles, hurricane jane, flash flood, freezer burn.
derek beaulieu’s visual poetry, in this particular piece, has moved away from representation of particular letters to shapes, which is somewhat interesting, but jarring at the same time. On the back of the single-page piece, he writes:
the concrete poetry which I endorse – & which stylistically is of most influence on my own work – is a poetics without a direct one-to-one signification. It is rhizomatic in composition, pointing both to & away from multiple shifting clouds of meanings & construction, where "writing has nothing to do with signifying [...] it has to do with surveying, mapping [...] realms that are yet to come" (Deleuze & Guattari 7). A rhizome, according to Deleuze & Guattari, is a non-centered, supportive system (think of mushroom or peanut growth patterns) & is an "antigeneology" (7); resistant to the type of the modernist situating within a historical framework to which concrete poetry is so often subjected. Instead of a single, arborescent (branches forming around a monolothic centre) historical & critical framework, rhizomatic writing is "a map not a tracing"; where:
A map has multiple entryways, as opposed to the tracing, which always comes back to the ‘same’. The map has to do with performance, whereas the tracing always involved an alleged ‘competence’. (Deleuze & Guattari 12). My writing foregrounds these "multiple entryways" which focus on excess – the leftovers, the refuse, the waste. The writing with overflows the container of the hegemony.
I’m intrigued by this, & I think I would like to hear more of this, although I think derek would have gained much had he been fortunate enough to hear jwcurry read at Gallery 101 a year or two back from an essay he had written on non-linear writing. To a packed house, curry talked about writing non-linearity, and how that was even possible when two words side by side introduce a narrative. If only john would let me publish the thing, then more folk could see it, instead of only those who were at the event (it is supposedly the introduction for an anthology curry has been building for about fifteen years, & will appear only when the book does. If.).
Ottawa ON: Only slightly against her will, my fourteen year old daughter & I wandered through the Ottawa Art Gallery’s first ever (& possibly only) zine fair on Saturday, May 14th, produced to coincide with a particular show & group of events. Other parts of their Off-Grid schedule (of local, national & international performance, visual & media art) include an artist talk with Montreal artist Victoria Stanton on May 24, a screening of Adjust your Eyes / Stare Back (curated by Available Light Screening Collective, Club SAW) on May 19, and Stanton’s (Being) One Thing at a Time, a three-part interdisciplinary project by Stanton from May 20 to 24. A fun little fair, there were not even a dozen tables, but I did recognize about a third of the exhibitors from around the city, or their participation in my ongoing ottawa small press book fair, & a number of them claimed that the attendance from the 2pm-5pm fair had been impressive.
They did produce a small zine (in a limited & numbered run of only 1,000 copies) as a catalog for the entire Off-Grid program, including a schedule of events, & pieces by various of the performers & participants (but it still seems odd to see a zine produced with an isbn & sponsor logos) such as Jimmie Durham, Annie Dunning, Véronique Couillard, Dario Azzellini, Marlene Creates, Dean Baldwin & the Available Light Screening Collective, as well as piles of others. I’m still not sure what to think. It seems about as funny to me as Hal Nietzvieki writing a cool, hip indie book about zine culture that was published by Rupert Murdoch’s HarperCollins (alright, maybe not that much).