January 5, 2017 § 2 Comments
Bref, I read a lot of poetry translated from German and a lot of nonfiction translated from French. This is not very shocking. Much of my non-book reading happened at Asymptote: this reading (plus editing) is far more diverse and includes work by poets like Vicente Huidobro (Chile), Jan Dammu (Iraq), and writers who push at the limits of what translation means (the Special Feature in our January issue). One of my favorite pieces of this latter sort is Bronwyn Haslam’s anagrammatic translations of Nicole Brossard’s poetry (“Soft Links” becomes “Silk Fonts,” for example):
It’s nouns that gulp fire and life, one can’t tell if they’re Latin, French, Urdu, Veda, Cree, Mandarin, Aleut, Creole, Basque, English, secrete a number, deed, quorum, animal or accelerate old anxieties eddying before us in doubled somber contours full of luster and immense legends.
I also got to collaborate with my friend Michael Joseph Walsh to put together a different sort of experimental translation portfolio for Denver Quarterly 50.4 I have a few extra copies and would be happy to mail them to anyone interested (or you can subscribe). Joshua Ware’s visual translations of Celan appear as an online supplement to this portfolio here.
For some years now I’ve been obsessed with a film by Yvon Marciano called Le cri de la soie (1996), which fictionalizes the life of pioneer psychiatrist Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault. This year I read two texts relevant to this film, de Clérambault’s case studies of women who developed an unusual sexual “passion” for silk and other textiles: Passion érotique des étoffes chez la femme (1908) and its suite (1910). « Read the rest of this entry »
December 31, 2016 § 2 Comments
– speak less of other people
– watch more good cinema
– sleep well
I found a poem I wrote on 06.04.09 called “A doctoral student confesses”—it is oddly prescient:
“so sound would be plural like description is” (Giscome Road 52)
“Sentences find you, style finds you on the road out; it overtakes you effortlessly, it palavers” (69)
May 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
I have about ten notebooks currently in my possession. This may not sound like a lot, but they have notes in them from every class and every guest lecture I’ve attended as a graduate student. I write on every page and am very sparing with the use of paper. So it is a lot, actually.
I’m about to enter a summer of what is known as “comprehensive exam study.” It is about as bureaucratic as it sounds.
In order to prepare for it, I’ve been going through these notebooks, deciding what I need around me as I attempt to think this summer.
And the notebooks don’t want me to.
Here are some excerpts from my notebooks, at random.
why does apostrophe allow a move to the present?
thing: “a gathering of people to make law” (Saxon)
(Joy[c]e: thing mode)
the occasion for
in and what
comes out is
a new modality
but for Cecil [Taylor]
of the self
“consent not to
be a single
thing” « Read the rest of this entry »
August 9, 2014 § Leave a comment
Sometimes I watch how other people use paper.
It upsets me when I see someone write only one side of a sheet or write on alternate lines of ruled paper.
I grew up writing on every inch of paper I could find, not out of worry for the forests but for paper itself. I used, for the most part, very ordinary notebooks. Once I found an empty notebook from my mother’s college days and I used that. It was very yellow. Today I buy Moleskines (which, from the looks of the graduate classes I’ve been attending, some writers use all the time) only when I know they will be carefully used and preserved. Typically I only buy their daily planners or their most ordinary softcover notebooks to copy out my favorite poems.
You could say I have a kind of disgust for ill-used notebooks.
And then I have a stack of paper of all kinds: junk mail, receipts, old assignments no one will want anymore. I write on their empty backs: notes for poems, grocery lists, lists of things to do. I use post-it notes very sparingly. I think they’re dangerous.
It turns out there are older relatives in my family who use paper in this same way. I can’t say whether I learned this habit from them or if it simply runs in the family like a, I like to think, good gene.
Here’s an example from my college days. Notes from a college guest lecture on the Israeli-Palestine conflict written on foolscap:
January 1, 2014 § Leave a comment
It amazes me constantly that adults say things like “My dream is to . . .” or “My dream came true” or “I know if I work hard enough, my dream will come true.” On American television, of which I am a passionate viewer, such things are expressed all the time. Which is odd to me because I work hard not to make my dreams come true.
I’ve been keeping a dream diary for about six months now; here are some excerpts, dates and names redacted:
I’m on a terrace observing a sort of kingfisher that can stand on its head. We (elsewhere in the house) are deciding how a string of murders took place. The kingfisher is an immediate suspect and in the distance a wolf is the other suspect. But perhaps we are wrong, because later I am in bed in a deep, unremitting sleep in a room that looks uncannily like the room I live in now and uncannily not. Though asleep, I am strongly aware that a man (whom [sic?] in my sleep I have deduced is the actual murderer and who perhaps is aware that I am aware) is trying to get inside, through the door and windows. Outside, of which I am also profoundly aware—though asleep—it is incredibly bright. Somehow I am able to thwart the murderer’s attempts to enter, but I am still in bed and asleep and able to sense mounting danger. I am afraid for my death and still I cannot get out of bed. This is how much I want to sleep.
. . . I work for a business (am a partner in?) that washes women’s hair and promises improvement. (No hair is cut.)
A blonde client with curly hair. A bathtub full to the brim. Its temperature is hard to maintain.
The blonde woman asks if we do psychological testing in order to determine why she has bad hair.
I am confused. I say the bath will take care of everything.
December 17, 2013 § 5 Comments
I have this chapbook out from Dzanc Books, which Matt Bell picked for the Collagist Chapbook Contest in 2012.
I wrote the poems for the chapbook in fall of 2011, surprisingly enough in a craft class.
Usually, a craft class is a space of experimentation and weirdness for me. I get to do a bunch of fun things and maybe get one poem out of the mess I create. Mostly, it’s a lot of learning to be used later, when I’m unaware of the learning.
But for some reason, in this particular class, which studied and practiced different ways of (re-) (un-)writing history in poems, I wrote nearly forty poems. Some of them were fragments or wholes created out of older wholes or fragments, but many were brand new poems in forms that were new to me.
Turns out, I kept notes during this time.