Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cara Benson, (made)

The mud dancers expatriate themselves. Shoveling and sticks. There is mold on the crafts in the sky. Satellite collision no bleach will rectify. If the long table can seat ten, why not thirteen? No feathers found. No cakey reminder. The unpleasant and uncomfortable fact of matter. Do not pause onscreen. Wander, but delete, too. Standby. Shed skins of inhabitants, some rustic relic. The eyes alone cannot see. Hold one in your hand as proof.

How can you aim a fire?
Whose stone is this? (“quo jure?”)
Lately I’ve been reminded of conversations around the American prose-poem and all its variations, intrigued by what American poet Cara Benson and others have been working with, and working from. What else to call what Benson is doing? Perhaps labelling is outside the point. But why does Canadian poetry not seem to be part of the same conversation of the prose poem as Eric Baus, Lydia Davis, Juliana Spahr, Sarah Manguso, sentence: a journal of prose poetics, Sheila E. Murphy and so many others? With Sina Queyras, Rob Budde, Nathalie Stephens and a few other exceptions, of course. What is it about the long line wrapped beyond line-break appeals to them that doesn’t to us? Part of what appeals in Cara Benson’s first trade collection, (made) (Toronto ON: BookThug, 2010), is in the length, a sideways binding and design allowing the perfect form for her extensions, not blocked into little squares but like banners, letting them strafe across the page. There is such a lovely surreal shift and ebb and flow in Benson’s lines, turning in on themselves or stopping full on a dime, in a book with few answers and questions staggered across a breath between, but not limited, by parenthesis. Still, what is (made)? What is created and what simply exists?
To steal a hole one must first have desire. Night is how we picture this usually, though day will do. Brown in the ground, and loosely piled beside the fillings displaced. Take whatever was forgotten now found in all the coat pockets of the world into your cupped hands which act as conduits into the hole. Sticky coins, shredded tissues, lots of lint, keys, paperclips, frayed grocery lists, probably buttons. The hole of course will overflow with such obfuscation. An absconding to return to.

From whom do you? (“Hooligans”)

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