Thursday, 31 December 2009
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Christmas 2009 in Normal, Illinois
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Elsa Cross's Selected Poems, third selection
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
A few appreciative words on The Tethers by poet-critic Ben Wilkinson
Sunday, 13 December 2009
Divining for Starters, or How It Began and Begins and Begins
My series of poems "Divining for Starters" began with the first two written in late 1999. I was in my third year of the Ph.D. program in English at the University of California, Irvine, and was completing my graduate coursework, which included an emphasis in critical theory. The emphasis involved a 3-course, year-long survey, and a required number of optional courses, which for me included Marxist Literary Theory with Rey Chow and Pardon and Perjury with Jacques Derrida. Anyway, in 1997 or '98 I read Derrida's seminal essay, "Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences," and related writings, and began thinking about this Western compulsion to create/assert origins, and the way this compulsion is embedded in our thinking--it's a new day, new project, new year, new beginning, and so on, always suggesting we can decide such an origin simply by stating it (I know I'm getting away from the Derrida now; this is the direction my thoughts took me in when I thought of the work more abstractly later). That was the idea when I wrote the first, and hence unnumbered, "Divining for Starters," and I explored the idea more explicitly in "Divining for Starters (2)" a few months later. For me, the phrase divining for starters means trying to find a way to create a beginning, to originate while acknowledging one is always in medias res. I think many people, consciously or unconsciously, live by divining for starters, and each poem in the series considers the possibility of a particular new origin or the possibility/problem of deciding an origin more generally.
I'd be glad for questions that may help me clarify this answer further.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Matt Bryden's "Miso"
Sunday, 6 December 2009
"Cycle on the Pavement" by Nicholas Whitehead
Cycle on the Pavement
You want to get from A to B,
Don’t want to drive or pay.
Don’t want to cycle on the road
Yet still, there is a way.
Cycle on the pavement!
No cars, no traffic lights.
No one-way signs, no dotted lines,
A cyclist’s delight!
But even on the pavement,
Cycling’s not without its cares.
Your route involves pedestrians
Who think the pavement’s theirs!
They’re living in society
They really should get real.
Faster is the master here,
And foot gives way to wheel.
You’ve got a flashing headlight
And a helmet for your head.
Yellow, hi-viz cycle clips,
And back light flashing red.
If they can’t see you coming,
They must be bloody blind.
There’s someone with a white stick there.
[SMACK], Well, never mind.
It’s actually illegal,
It’s in the Highway Code.
It spells out very clearly
You should cycle on the road.
But human laws don’t matter,
You can break them with impunity.
Gives you complete immunity.
So cycle on the pavement,
With a smirk across your face.
Cycle on the pavement,
And fuck the human race.
Friday, 4 December 2009
Elsa Cross's Selected Poems, second selection
You answer through silence.
You reduce thought
to the void,
and there where you razed all image
your name is renewed.
at the tips of your tangled hair.
words become quiet,
and one step further on the mind opens up
to the shock of its own annulment.
Present in everything
thus you also disappear.
Where are you leading me
stripped of my own body?
And what of Death?
Small butterflies flying among the ruins.
Froth leaves necklaces around the throat of rocks.
Islands of black rock.
Terns nest in the porous walls.
A necklace of froth--and I see my own wreck.
Night comes and shuts off the shine on the water.
Come, you tell me.
With closed eyes, just the tumble of the sea.
Still very close
those beaches to which I will never return.
Very far away now.
Black light devouring our bodies.
And on the water,
where rays freeze in their own light,
I see you like a seed of fire.
Every wave leaves trails of silk against the sun.