Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ongoing notes: the dusie kollectiv,

The appearance of dusie chapbooks [click the dusie tag underneath to get to all my previous reviews of such] in my mailbox seems to be slowing down. I've received probably ten more than I've reviewed (I can't like everything); why does it feel as though I haven't yet received as many as I should?

Santa Cruz CA: Two chapbooks seem to have arrived together, but I seem to have noticed them separately. Alongside Jessica Breheny's Ephemerides (Embusan Press, 2011) [see my review of such here] came James Maughn's Playing the Form (Embusan Press, 2011), producing a chapbook of daily meditations, writing poems as daily practice. As Maughn writes at the back of the collection:

Playing the Form is the first section or a three-book section book in which the poem engages with my practice of the internal arts of Pa Kua, Hsing I, and Tai Chi Chuan, as taught in the system of ShorinjiRyu by O'Sensei Richard Kim. The 108 stanzas in Playing the Form correspond to the 108 movements of the long form of the Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan. Each poem was written after my daily practice of the Tai Chi form, and after study of each of the 108 movements.

There is an entirely different point-of-view between those who see writing as a daily activity and those who wait for the next big idea, and I've always been more partial to the daily activity side of the spectrum, with George Bowering's year-long My Darling Nellie Grey (Talonbooks, 2010) being one of the finest examples of a daily-practice project, alongside such classics as bpNichol's once-ongoing The Martyrology, or even Robert Creeley's A Day Book (1971). Maughn, in his example of daily practice, writes quiet, subtle moments and movements in these small poems, and a long poem that eases its slow way into something like an ongoing accumulation, never completion. Parts of his cadence even remind (slightly) of Bowering, possibly even from his His Life: A Poem (ECW Press, 2000), a book he has probably never even heard of.

We're left sitting hard in bumper cars.
Momentum's forward but
not in your face.

Whatever a tide turns, it doesn't rush.
There's no where to go
where it isn't already. Ballast keeps

it all below the waterline.
Like Death says, it's a lifetime.
Know the art: Where your pulse stops.

New York NY: The only frustration with Deborah Poe's submission to this fifth dusie kollectiv is that participants aren't able to see all of these small collections, as her work is a single project quartered, four chapbooks, mine being the second of these, the tiny /pleis/ (2011). But might that mean all four will be (eventually) available as dusie pdfs on the website? And is this a single unit quartered, as it appears in print, or something more, perhaps?

Death Mix
all lines from Paul Celan

leaf-green heart of a shadow looks at itself
there comes a stillness, comes this storm

which crossing awakens?

snow-bed under us both
sky of paris, giant autumn crocus

is that a ferry?

we dig a grave in the breezes
black milk of daybreak

I see through it down to the bed

stone, wherever you look, stone
in the passages, passages

let the grey animal in

O one, o none, o no one, o you

Poe writes out a map in pockets, parcels, and allows the connections to create themselves, in a small work created, in part, during a Soapstone Writing Residency in July 2010. After reading her work in various places and corners, Poe seems strongest in her attention to the smallest of moments, carving down and further, down. As she writes in her acknowledgments:

The title of this collection is based on a quote from Nahezhda Mandelstam's Hope against Hope (Athneum Publishers 1970): Once, resting by the pile of rocks, [Osip] said: “My first book was Stone, and my last will be stone, too” (399, emphasis mine).

1 comment:

Jim Maughn said...

Thanks so much for this, Rob.