Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Anne Lesley Selcer, Sun Cycle

The eye must be sun

Ice caked, falling water, compression, clarity, if colors are the deeds and sins of light, this is light caught sleeping. Green abases to gold, red deepens to rouge, a hillside becomes painterly, its grass turns ochre then expires into solidity. A postcard series: the sky painted blue, the grass green, this work is a machinery of distance and contact. Conceptually based sequences, shot North, West, Northwest, Southeast. The mirror is the brightest color; the mirror strikes light.

The author of the essay collection Blank Sign Book (Wolfman Books, 2019) and the poetry chapbook From a Book of Poems on Beauty (2014), Oakland, California-based poet, writer and critic Anne Lesley Selcer’s full-length poetry debut is Sun Cycle (Cleveland OH: Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2019). Sun Cycle is arranged in six poem-sections—“Appearing,” “Treatise on Form,” “Common Cinema,” “Sun Cycle,” “Soliloquy” and “The Picture of Dorian Gray (at 16 frames per second).” As she writes to open one of the poems of “Soliloquy”: “I always keep my head above my body. That rapist of mine was / on the wrong side of history.”

Writing poem-essays on and around economy, language, form, sex, theory, violence and gender, media and philosophy, Sun Cycle is essentially a book on structures and motion, and her responses to those structures. “thing is / parody is / thing is / form,” she writes, as part of the title section: “body is / sun is / vehicle is / frenzy [.]” Sun Cycle is an impressive collection of essay-poems that recongnize patterns, even as theyt work to push apart those patterns and establish new ones, writing out the possibilities of what might happen at the next turn of the sun. “Changeable, of questionable consequence. / Philosophy is paramount. / You’ve taken so much shit. // Insulated, riddled with holes, temporary.” (“Thatched”)

Everything within the formal field becomes form. Form feels tactile to the formless, which is unseen, without name, unaccounted for numerically. This is what is meant by economy, the market is in everything. Time is the main concern of form, next, formalizing communication.

When I seek communication, I often find form until I begin speaking in form, and all there is is form, and I seek form when I want exchange. Until there is no inside, until there is only inside, until what’s inside is spilling out.

Form is always waiting, intensely feminine, beginning lalations conjoined with emergent textures on screen. Form is slower than growing. Form confronts time. At form’s most intense edge, formlessness. At that most intense edge, form.

The question is not which is more powerful, but which is more reproductive. Then, since the terms threaten to flip or reverse, form asks, “is it possible for the formless to reproduce or just spread?” Thus form encodes the definition of reproduction. (“Treatise on Form”)

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