Saturday 10 May 2014

New American Writing 31, first selection

I've long been an admirer of New American Writing, edited by Maxine Chernoff and Paul Hoover, so I bought an issue during my recent visit to the States. Here is the first selection of some favourite passages from the current issue (it comes out annually). The spacing often doesn't coincide with the original, I'm sorry to say. If you know how to make intricate spacing work on Blogger, please let me know! obtuse an adumbration
of light we were ecstatic....


The Overghost Ourkestra Live
The Lighthouse could not have
sounded a more distraught


philosophic sound ensemble, we
dealt in light, light's audiotactile
valent, rough equivalence, rough
cloth covered us again...

from Nathaniel Mackey's "Anacoluthic Light"

Waves come
from inside the heart and take the form of slow talk


I sense: her laugh rings in church bells
which is my going away from her

  from Husein Barguthi's "The Falcon"
translated by Fady Joudah

Some climbing is ascension some climbing is collapse
some eyes are ashes and some are alight

from Husein Barguthi's "I Dreamed You"
translated by Fady Joudah

A new guest in the body, foreseen, yet unforeseen:
for the last lost control has to be unforeseen.

from Nathaniel Tarn's  
Exitus Generis Humani, III. The Guest

it was waiting for you all along
there at the end of the shore line
where the first-person ends and
all subjects get pulled tight like a string

opening stanza 
of Donna de la Perrière's "Into the Silent Land"

The banjo is cheerful as a busload of ornithologists arriving in the tropics.


Anyone still writing poetry instead of getting rich at Goldman Sachs or Barclays with dizzying algorithms and sociopathic grandeur is pretty remarkable.


And a spark of love burns the house of apathy down.


The banjo makes the brown languid water of the Mississippi inexplicably explicable.


Think of tiny mosquito skulls busy with tiny mosquito thoughts.


Beauty leaves a scar. It always does. It is not sweet and gleeful like the banjo. It is serious like a cello. Like the drone of a cello in a bayou haunted by dread.


A banjo offering ablution and a heart in the chest pounding a fire to the brain.

from John Olson's "Ablution in Banjos"

The feeling is large, romantic, and incendiary. 


Soup speaks to my palate in delicate rhyme. Especially tomato soup. It tastes like a hot day in Mexico.  It is a happy solution to winter. Especially if you're someplace other than Mexico. Vermont, for instance, or Michigan. 


Sometimes I get it into my head that if I write forcefully enough I can create an opening in the fabric of time and laugh my head off all the way to Texas.


As for pronouns, who cares about pronouns? There is no cure for pronouns. They're everywhere. They're sprinkled into sentences and sliced into libraries. Places of quiet where he and she and you and it can sit in quiet and be anonymous as antennae sucking sounds of the air like radios and giving those sounds semantic substance. Chintz and illusion. Crickets and secrets and shadows and doors. Splashing and hardware and paint and titanium. In phenomenology, the multiplicity of phenomena is always related to a unified consciousness.

from John Olson's "No Cure for Pronouns"

And I said viper and saw myself unscrewed, cardial and unique,
carnivalesque and spoken, more vivid by means of the simple
tree of language.


                                It was night when we heard
the whispers of deaf men in the corridors.

from María Baranda's "Vibora," 
translated by Paul Hoover


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