Wednesday 17 October 2012

Catherine Wagner's My New Job (Fence, 2009)

What a nervy, original book! I'd dipped into it before but only recently read the whole. Here are a few favourite passages.

I lean forward on a nerve ebullient
my sweet alive and roasting in a current

from "Exercise 1 (11/28/00 PM)"

Good for M the comfortable-with-people to be away from me. tauten the cord to make it all more urgent

from "Exercise 7 (12/3/00 PM)"

The wheatrows flattened
gold, another dark
combed curve opened
like a stretchy

opening lines of "Exercise 21 (11/8/01 Am) [Back Seat of Minivan]"

starred when I looked straight up
sky dark gray, geese rose
in alarmed soft shh and hasping
long-necked geese
a-gossip all upset


all along I was alone to that
though everyone saw me
checking myself out by talking to them
when they checked themselves out in me
I tried to say O here have it all
     warm woolen flood     welcomer
          some spider-netting held it back,
kept growing over my warm and my intention to befriend

from "Exercise 34 (1/3/02 PM)"

All the following poems come from a section titled, "Everyone in the Room Is a Representative of the World at Large," and all the poems share that title. Each passage comes from a different poem.

I make the bird a flying fist
my violence goes on out along the stream.


My beast came up and hit me in the self.


It is not a hero
who will approach the mirror of
this appointment
and glide her thighs and torso to it.
That is me

These passages can't convey the experience of the undulations of a whole Wagner poem. For that, please purchase the book from Foyle's in the UK or your independent bookstore in the US.

Monday 15 October 2012

"Unruly: Print into Poetry"

Here are details and images from my dear friend Susan Mackervoy's show of handbook books, prints and poems, with Sophie Herxheimer, at Marine Studios in Margate, running until 20 October. I so wish I could go!

Saturday 13 October 2012

Andre Bagoo's Trick Vessels (Shearsman, 2012)

Thanks to Vahni Capildeo for recommending this book to me--I've enjoyed it. Here are some favourite passages.

Hear this: the ocean is not meant to be lit at night
Instead of going to water I go to light


Your mother cannot name her great grandmother
Your father does not know where his village was

But I have such knowledge, I ensure these erasures
I follow the stop, I do not leak

from "The Unnamed Creature Said to Come From Water"

it was easy to imagine your island
a furniture wed to agile spies
        a stable is where they keep me
wrecked forever on memory

the last stanza of "Visa"

...I linger to the surface.


Small rooms are the best places for windows, they are so grateful.


But when the hermit finds a new shell, there is always a moment when the creature is vulnerable. In between rooms, there is oblivion. A risk of freedom.


Evidence is the foundation of everything. But it is a field wrought with dispute.

from "To the Centre of the Earth"

Each question begets violence.
It begs on behalf of its recipient.

from "And This Note Was Not an Answer"

Links to reviews, video, and online purchasing from numerous outlets are available on Shearsman's page for the book.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

zimZalla and Jo Langton's PoeTea

My fondness for zimZalla and its array of avant objects--happily combining the poetic, playful and smart--meant I was delighted when asked to provide a response to one of Jo Langton's splendid PoeTeas, the "fresh" one. I was sorry though that my circumstances meant I just had time to respond with a poem using words from the tea bag (I'd have loved to create a responding object...); you can download the poem here.