17 Poets! Reading Series in New Orleans
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
I like too that these two pieces are companion pieces, but this is the first time that they have been shown together. The hands are under glass while the pelvis is exposed (albeit protected by alarm if you get too close). I like to imagine them in conversation deep in the night held in the belly of the park and it's slumber music.
As we should, since the pieces desire our continued involvement in the drama of their post-blues lives. For instance, what of these seashells paired and then separated after being exposed to 48 hours of music by particular musicians? Aren't they being forced to hold the echo, to engage in a call and response that is at the heart of the blues, to be both in a state of longing and yet imbued with the particular mode of release from that sorrow. Aren't we all inhabited by loss that is shaped by the music that makes up our particular formations? Music in that sense is the medium excised from time, able to contain the past when we hear it and also in the initial hearing able to project a future-- in one sense, pre-lived in its very conception.
More information about Robleto and his exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art:
Video by Doug Maccash of Robleto discussing his bone sculptures:
June 1st: Lecture by Dario Robleto at NOMA
NOMA's press release for the exhibit: The Prelives of the Blues
Friday, May 25, 2012
I'm very happy that this chapbook came out on Bob Dylan's birthday. So happy I sang Song to Woody last night at 17 Poets! after reading some Bernadette Mayer poems to celebrate May Birthday poets. Some other May Birthday poets that were read aloud by our community of writers included Robert Creeley, Robin Blaser, Theodor Roethke, Arthur Cravan and others.
There's a great Jacket essay on Arthur Cravan and his relationship to Mina Loy here.
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
from Disavowals or Cancelled Confessions (translated by Susan de Muth) originally published in Paris, 1930 and limited to 500 copies (translated & published by MIT press, 2007)
Translator's note: "The reader will note that two titles are proposed in this edition, the original Aveux non avenus presenting an abundance of possible meanings, allusions, associations etc. that neither Disavowals nor Cancelled Confessions fully conveys" (XVIII).
From the introduction by Pierre Mac Orlan: "I think that adventure here is, by its very nature, interior; but it is presented to us in a series of cinematic glimpses which insists on the cerebral, rather than the plastic, nature of the enterprise" (XXIV).
From translator Agnes Lhermitte who assisted Susan de Muth in this translation: "Claude Cahun's 'poem-essays and essay-poems' (as described by Mac Orlan) do not claim to construct either the psychology of a person or the narrative of her life, but imply 'the invisible adventure' of a scalpel's investigations into the dark zones of the psyche, the painful gaping of a cracked being" (XXI).
"I welcomed young monsters into myself and nurtured them. But the make-up I had used seemed indelible. I rubbed so hard to remove it that I took off all the skin. And my soul, like a flayed face, naked, no longer had a human form."
Thursday, May 10, 2012
[Film Description from Youtube: A video recorded at the Edison-Newman Room, Houghton Library, (Harvard Nov. 2011) with a multimedia show, produced by Nicole Peyrafitte, the event integrates a range of elements including live narrative and translated poems, and a slideshow of visual materials including photographs, manuscript pages, etchings by Gisèle Celan-Lestrange, historical documents and other relevant and resonant materials. ]
This video captures Pierre Joris' nearly life-long engagement with Paul Celan's poetry and politics. He begins with an introduction to Celan's life and work and explains his relationship with Celan's poems from his earliest memory: a "cutting into the soul" memory, that begins his long relationship with Celan's words. Joris goes on to describe his history of translating Celan along with his meeting of Celan's wife and their subsequent relationship. Joris says he once said to her in regards to allowing more Celan translations to emerge: "Let 1,000 translations bloom."
This is not just a lecture on Celan poetics; this is an example of how 20th century poetry is ushered into our 21st century and how our current technologies can be used to breathe a form of "new life" into the poems. Maybe not "new life" but certainly a new form of living, a new way of getting readers excited and interested in this work, which itself is timeless. This multimedia presentation with films edited and produced by Nicole Peyrafitte captures the viewer's gaze on many levels, from the cerebral deconstruction of the word at its most basic level in discussing translation to the aesthetic beauty of hearing Celan's words against a visually explorative backdrop with the use of the films. The collage of sound, image, and Joris' live discussion of Celan provides a multiple sensory response to Celan's poetry. Joris' talk is about translation and the presentation itself becomes its own form of translation, creating an amalgam of entries into Celan's work for the novice reader. Celan's poems, Joris attests, are a "threshold," a gate ushering us into the 21st century. It stands to reason then that one way of seeing Celan, of engaging with his work is in this 21st century medium of video, sound, images, and also the amazing opportunity of being present in the audience, (somewhat) at this event via the internet.
It's really beautiful as well to capture the passion and energy (and frustrations) of the translator as Joris really delves into specifics in word construction and language about 45 minutes into the film. This video captures Joris' concentrated involvement in the dissection of Celan's often complicated and exhilarating stretching of what the German language can do and how this informs both the poem and the translator's task. Joris lights up on the stage as he describes the "dark 'o' sounds" and "light 'a' sounds" of the poem "Todtnauberg" and the incredible task of ushering the poet Celan into the english language in this our 21st experience of his imperative works.
But I'll let Pierre Joris tell you:
Thursday, May 03, 2012
The Nicki Minaj Project is not an attempt to discover a truth, but an attempt to gain entry into a mirage.
As it shifts, we lose focus and yet a horizon is a plane of stability. What is this new trend of white privileged poets using the mask of inner-city gangsta rap to infuse their poetry with a sense of street and music? What is the mask and how tightly does it constrict? When one voice rises to the top, how many others fall silent? I am not interested in answers but in constrictions. I am not interesting in layers, but in a sheen of glossy images. I am not attempting to convey but attempting to collage to the point of distortion so the underneath can become a point of excavation. I am not interested in forgetting the discomfort of America as images of residents from New Orleans were led by gun point from the Superdome in August of 2005 in an attempt to rescue/ resist/ contain/ cage/ control/ suppress/ save/ or where does the line of discontent draw itself in the sand.