Friday, June 28, 2019

Cody-Rose Clevidence, Flung Throne

speak, rock. like a bad tongue, ugly in the mouth of the world.

speak, first nerve, first chord, now-cold sea
seed in lace blooms by the grey shore first sign.

hard rocks horde crystals under oceans, speak, nitrogen
    speak, carbon, reed genesis like the first breath.

    acidic ocean of forgetting, second sign
                is quartzite, pink like an eye
            upturned in the metaphoric face

                    who ate hir children as rocks
      speak, children of rocks
                            radiated, ultra-violet, sinuous Lethe

        who ate first rocks radiant in the night-sky,
                                    grew slowly. (“[AGATE/ALGAE]”)

I’m a little late to this, but finally spending some time with the precise and punctured exuberance of Cody-Rose Clevidence’s second collection, Flung Throne (Boise ID: Ahsahta Press, 2017), a follow-up to Beast Feast (Ahsahta Press, 2014) [see my review of such here]. Flung Throne is thick, massive in scope, and speaks in a skillfully-garbled speech, writing “speak again, bastard, garble it, first throat, choked first. how long a / hollow is anchored, breeds open, raptor, captor, larva, shell & home” [“ASTER[ISK] PULL// POOLED FORTH”]. Clevidence is clearly a poet of large projects, writing expansively and thoroughly against and through an idea, comparable, perhaps, to the work of Winnipeg poet Dennis Cooley in terms of scale. Flung Throne engages with consciousness, mythology, science and the natural world, and the progression of life on earth while writing out a language open to high and low speech, pop culture, slurred and guttural utterance amid and even essential threads of wisdom.


Darwin’s pond the lake
in me Orpheus

the opposite of Lethe

my hound
my sound
my skin
be bright
yr (my) flint-

I remember

split the arrow shaft in me
grown deep | take root

the crack thru me
may yet be a wound in the earth.

// (“APE|ANGEL”)

There is something quite compelling in the way Clevidence combines phrases and language, blending high and low language to propel through sound, thought and ideas. And who couldn’t love any poem, book length or otherwise, that included such as:

heliopteryx abysmal gonad
surround a man


Q: How does the work in “Poppycock & Assphodel” compare to, say, the work in BEAST FEAST?

A: Well.... it’s very different... but what happened was this.  After BF I wrote this long, v dense manuscript called FLUNG THROWN &... well I had just read John McPhee’s “Annals of a Former World” and was obsessed with the evolution of early life on earth, & flung. thrown... like I said super dense & well it felt v serious, something about the evolution of consciousness, to feel grief, my friend Amelia Jackie, The Molasses Gospel, has a line “All the pain is worth it/ all the pain is worth it/ just to have one minute/ alive”... & I was like... uhm really cuz... no.  & just something about the vastness of geologic time & to be conscious in whatever way we, as humans, are, in our human consciousness experiencing this tiny sliver of our experienceable world, for like, what, a blip in time, anyway, and also to be honest I got deep into prosody & was just rereading Hopkins, H.D. & Brathwaite, like, trying to learn, on some intimate level, their respective genius’ w regard to, like, how sonic & prosody & meaning can get wove together, anyway, like I said, it’s DENSE (I was also obsessed w this idea that like, if a book of poetry is 18$ dollars, it should... I dunno take more than 20 minutes to read, or like, I wanted, needed, to write something that felt heavy.  so Poppycock & Assphodel became sort of a minimalist jokey slough-off of shit that was too silly to get put in Flung/Thrown, sort of like a catch-all manuscript for one liner's & dick jokes, to like, shake the density out of me.  formally it’s very loose, but where BEAST FEAST isn’t as tight as I’d like it to be, in retrospect, in p&A the looseness was a foundational necessity, like, I had to walk it out or shake it off after the rigor I tried to put into F/Th. and then like I said it’s a totally narcissistic personal lyric, the scope is v close n small, somewhere between my eyeballs & th world, the lines are mostly short & turn v fast, the rhymes are goofy, & like it doesn’t have a bigger philosophical project that underlies it like both BF & F/Th (tried to) do.

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