Sunday, June 05, 2011

Ongoing notes: the dusie kollectiv,

Here are some brief reviews of more of recent chapbooks received as part of the “dusie 5 kollectiv” [see my three notes on such here, here and here].

San Francisco CA: I'm enjoying the wonderment of Bay Area poet Sarah Anne Cox's MEDEA 10-18 (2011), following up her dusie 4 kollectiv offering, MEDEA 1-9 (2010). The character Medea, in Greek myth, of course, is the wife of Jason and mother of his two children. Abandoned by Jason for another woman, Medea's story centres around seeking revenge on her errant, former husband, a story that Sarah Anne Cox slips in, around and through in peripheral and direct ways, twirling lyric around the narrative structure in a sequence of poems. Might Cox be slowly composing and releasing this sequence only in association with dusie? I'm intrigued by the slowness, but wondering how many years must we wait for a larger, longer and possibly complete manuscript? There's a part of me, though, that doesn't mind waiting to see what might come of this, next.

Let yourself slide into the lines, slip in unnoticed
and live there in the dirt and coarse gravel beach
once we stepped off the boat it was difficult to
get back on, we did see the ships coming, laden
we lived among wealth and so the items
arrived for trade. sometimes I'd walk to the beach
where the ships pulled up to see if I was there,
some part of me, some eastern black sea part
but all those red faced men dissemble calling
themselves from
no where. from the future.
I've been looking her name up, and keep finding scatterings of listings, including for trade poetry collections Arrival (Krupskaya, 2002) and, possibly, Parcel (O Books, 2007), but uncertainties abide. Where might all her poems be, and will perhaps some even manage to cross a border or two?

To get to the beginning you must go backward.
You must file an affidavit of intent
You must pull up the claims in newspaper reports
You must listen patiently to every version
You must be prepared to argue anything.
You must stop cradling the baby and let him go
You must stop cradling the baby and murder
Minneapolis MN: I have to admit, it was the title of Elisabeth Workman'sMaybe Malibu, Maybe Beowulf (2011) that really reached out and grabbed me, forcing me to sit down with this (compared to many other of the dusie 5 kollectiv chapbooks) relatively straightforward-looking pink chapbook (see a review someone wrote of a previous of her dusie chaps here). Are all of her titles this good? Moving through her collection, poems include “HARDCORE BRADY BUNCH ASEXUAL REPRODUCTION,” “HOW NOW MUFF-FED RUMPUS,” “THE CANADIAN TUXEDO IN THE AGE OF MECHANICAL REPRODUCTION” and “THE UNSPOKEN REVERENCE THAT IS DWARF QUEEFING,” so I'd have to say unequivicoally yes. Yes they are.

The difference is “a factually correct object.”

I may be missing a subtlety here but it is Toledo
and we are rotating in a rolodex of wuv
in a hot air balloon over Sarajevo
something like another monolithic Post-it Note against the firmament
the message cut into tiny pieces with a steak knife
spoon-fed to the mouths of cows at the expense of
another quality docudrama
a probe, a hole, a “Burger King.”
I do like the near-electric movement of some of Workman's lines, the sing and the pop of her turns and snappy breaks (one online source I found refers to her as a “Flarf poet”), weaving in cultural references, all in a way that reminds me of Canadian poet Marcus McCann, weaving language play with irreverent pop-culture stings. Where might I find more, I wonder?

San Francisco CA: I've been reading the work of Bay Area poet, editor and critic Sarah Rosenthal for a few months now, so was quite pleased to see her small and graceful dusie offering, The Animal (2011), including text by Rosenthal and images by Amy Fung-yi Lee. What is this book, The Animal? She writes a narrator with possibly her own name, having conversations with birds, blurring the line between what is animal and what just might be human, and wondering exactly what the difference is. Constructed with hand-sewn dos-à-dos binding, the chapbook includes lyric and prose poems, a fragmented collation that may or may not be part of a larger project, writing:
The animal is
hungry in winter
after wars

Stories are made
from footage
as if this
and that animal
cared, broke bread
or bones together

The narrator
states the happily
ever after tale

Forget the narrator.
The choices are
vegetable, mineral,
or animal
Rosenthal, through books such as Manhatten (2009), seems interested in the book as unit of composition, writing out longer sequences that collage themselves into being, and into a kind of structural and thematic unity, and The Animal seems no different, while still allowing enough vibrancy and space to perhaps grow much larger.
Dear X,

You're real, but I can't come meet you because I'm sitting in a bar looking out through a picture window at orange geese with red beaks. The color must be natural but it's easy to suspect something's amiss and think Agent Orange and Red Dye Number Something. The geese have landed and are facing their leader who's honking directions at them and then they'll take off again.

This is a dream idea of geese infused with lack of expertise. Agent Orange wasn't orange.

I'm sitting at a Lazy Susan table thinking if it were filled with food and there were a family, how perfect to spin and share. But this place is deserted except for a couple of waitresses, one of whom just served me a beer, dark and rich like a piece of the most wholesome bread. I drank most of it immediately and as you know I can't handle alcohol. So we'll see. This place used to be a top establishment but the guys who recently acquired it have let it go to hell, keep a minimum crew and just squeeze whatever they can out of it. At least they can't ruin beer, or the solid, oak wood of the tables and bar. The geese took off at some point in this writing. They were a surprise in three dimensions, tinted with fear. By the way—they weren't outside plate glass. They were right here.

I love you,

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