Monday, December 01, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014


Mentioning here THREE relatively recent print poetry journals I had the honor of contributing to earlier this year, one from Buffalo, two from New England, all deserving much further attention: 1) NO INFINITE; 2) GAFF; 3) KADAR KOLI.

1. NO INFINITE (No. 2): Boston. Ed. Mitch Manning. Contributors: Sophia Le Fraga, Jared Stanley, Richard Owens, Derek JG Williams, Rene Char trans. Teresa McMahon, Mark Pawlak, Semezdin Mehmedinović trans. Ammiel Alcalay, Patrick Williams, Kev Bewersdorf, Jill McDonough, David Rich, Mel Bentley, Ed Steck, Audrey Mardavich, Keith Jones, Joshua Gottlieb-Miller, Tyler Gobble, Andrew K. Peterson, Jim Dunn, David Grundy, Zach Collins, Inga Eičaitė.

No. 2 includes an astonishing 10-page spread of visual work from London-based artist Inga Eičaitė.

2. GAFF (No. 1): Gloucester. Ed. David Rich. Privately circulated. Contributors: Sean Bonney, Audrey Mardavich, Jose-Luis Moctezuma, Ian Heames and Jonty Tiplady, Lisa Rich, David Hadbawnik, Boyd Nielson, Mitch Manning, Frances Kruk, David Grundy, Richard Owens, Michael Peters.
The opening epigraph to Gaff, drawn from Clarence Manning Falt's Wharf and Fleet (1802), reads: "When the trips are being taken out, often many fish slip from the pitchforks and sink to the docks. A class of young men and boys then row around in little boats, called punts, and gaff up the fish beneath the wharves and sell them. It is an illegal business, and if caught, they are subjected to a fine and imprisonment. It is operated at low tide."  
3. KADAR KOLI (No. 9): Buffalo. Ed. David Hadbawnik. Contributors: John Hyland, Arielle Guy, Gerrit Lansing, Susan Briante, Michael Sikkema, Michael Kelleher, Aaron Tucker, Emily Anderson, David Rich, Jen Tynes, Gillian Hamel, Chris Piuma, Pattie McCarthy, Kevin Varrone, Robin Brox, Richard Owens, Boyd Nielson, Zach Finch, Dale Smith, Morani Kornberg-Weiss, Roger Snell, and a special feature on the archive including an interview with Ammiel Alcalay and an essay by Megan Cook. 
Commenting on the archive in his editorial introduction to the journal, Hadbawnik outlines what he believes to be two foundational rules of archival research: 1) "Don't trust an edition when it claims to capture the 'original' of something"; 2) "Don't trust anyone or anything, even when you think you're holding the 'original' in your hands." 
Chaucer scholar Megan Cook adds in her essay on the archive, "Pedant Love," "Over the years, I have spent a lot of time waiting in and around rare book repositories, enough time to decide that waiting is indeed the distinguishing feature of the archival habitus."    
                                                                                                                                  FRANCES KRUK (from GAFF):


Also recent and astounding: TRIPWIRE (No. 7): Oakland. Ed. David Buuck. Contributors: Jen Coleman, Leslie Kaplan (trans. Julie Carr & Jennifer Pap), Rodrigo Toscano, Jeroen Mettes (trans. Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei & introduced by Samuel Vriezen), Lesego Rampolokeng, Heather Fuller, Nathan Cordero, Donato Mancini, Trish Salah, Arnold Joseph Kemp, Hsia Yü (trans. Steve Bradbury), Carlos Soto-Román, Tonya Foster, Rachel Zolf, Eric Sneathen on Dodie Bellamy, Julia Bloch on Divya Victor, Robin Tremblay-McGaw on Harryette Mullen, Nicky Tiso on David Wolach, plus a special feature on British poetry, featuring Nat Raha, Sean Bonney, Connie Scozzaro, Francesca Lisette, Emily Critchley, Verity Spott, William Rowe, Jennifer Cooke, Robert Kiely on Samantha Walton, and Colleen Herd & Pocahontas Mildew.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Tuesday, September 09, 2014


From Ravaged Wonderful Earth | David Kessel standing center (photo: Natalie Fonnesu)

Mentioning this somewhat belatedly, but one of the several meaningful endeavors I enjoyed the honor of contributing to last year was Ravaged Wonderful Earth: A Collection for David Kessel (Outsider Poets in collaboration with FEEL 2013). Celebrating the life and work of Tower Hamlets poet, socialist and mental health activist David Kessel, the festschrift includes poems and commentary from Nick Waller, Christina Viti, Stephen Watts, Sarah Barratt, Chris Gutkind, Frank Bangay, Howard Mingham, David Amery, Tim Pearson, Myra Garratt, Natalie Fonnesu, Shamim Azad, Mike Parsons, Spider Evans, Adjowa Rhonda Abraham, John Clarke, Peter Barham, Alan Morrison, and John Zammit. The collection also offers a generous selection of Kessel's poems, including a poem rendered in German by Dieter Reger. David Amery, from his comment on Kessel:
Reading poetry such as David's doesn't simply open a window onto someone else's subjectivity, it also expands our own. The danger is that we shrink back into our own isolated subjectivities ...  
Ordering information for the collection seems unavailable, though an active email address for FEEL can be found HERE.  

Monday, September 08, 2014


From "Night Light," Danny Hayward (Hi Zero 27):

There is a great deal of pressure to be blasé
nihilistic, ironic, unconcerned,
     to be stupid, iconoclastic,
     to outface false desire
by preemptively owning it fully.
Can I yet believe you are better than that 

The following posted 5 September 2014 at Sad Press:

Hix Eros #4 is out! This one’s a bit different, all about J.H. Prynne. It collects essays by Michael Tencer, Justin Katko, Lisa Jeschke, Timothy Thornton, Joe Luna, John Wilkinson, Abigail Lang, Keston Sutherland & Robin Purves, with an introduction by Keston Sutherland. 
The collection is available as a free PDF. There will soon be a limited print edition too. If you are connected with a university, we’d really appreciate you ordering one for your library (Hix Eros #4, ISSN 2056-8908, price TBA shortly). 
Those of you with Kindles (or the Kindle app) can also already buy Hix Eros #5, filled with reviews — written by Brandon Brown, Jennifer Cooke, Stephen Emmerson, William Garvin, David Grundy, Iain Morrison, Michael Tencer, Greg Thomas and Karen Veitch — of poetry by Connie Scozzaro, Dodie Bellamy, Richard Barrett, J.H. Prynne, Laura Elrick, Amy Todman, J.L. Williams and Nat Raha, and of Ian Heames’ little magazine No Prizes and Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, and Vanessa Place’s anthology I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women. It usually costs 79p. A free PDF version will also be available, probably around the middle of this month.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


We know that we live in a world inhuman in its poverty. We know that we are a colony, living under community imperialism. The U.S. that we see is not one of freedom, beauty, and wisdom, but of fear, terror, and hate. This is a nation of your laws, run by your police, and based on protecting your economic strength. 

                                     ——Afeni Shakur | Letter from Prison (Rat, 7-20 January 1970)

The politics in our communities are controlled from outside, the economics of our communities are controlled from outside, and we ourselves are controlled by the racist police who come into our communities from outside and occupy them, patrolling, terrorizing, and brutalizing our people like a foreign army in a conquered land. 

                                      ——Black Panther Leaflet (Brooklyn, c. 1969) 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Stunned by this 1975 photograph of John Taggart, George Oppen and Ted Enslin included in the Taggart feature edited by Matthew Cooperman for J2. Credited to Jennifer Taggart, the overcast setting of the photograph complements the austerity of the stones upon which the three are seated. 1975.

The J2 feature—which includes commentaries from Peter O'Leary, Karl Young, Pam Rehm, Mark Scroggins, Joseph Donahue, Stephen Ratcliffe, Patrick Pritchett, Brad Vogler, Marjorie Welish, Jon Thompson, Eléna Rivera and Robert Bertholf, along with work from Taggart himself—reminds me of the Taggart feature edited by CJ Martin and Thom Donovan in the 2009 number of Little Red Leaves. Rather than commentaries, the LRL festschrift includes poems written for and after Taggart by Ted Enslin, Pan Rehm, Eléna Rivera, Joel Chace, Kevin Holden, Frank Sherlock, Martin and Donovan. The LRL feature also includes an incredibly useful selected bibliography compiled by Robert Bertholf while the Bertholf piece on Taggart at J2 focuses on two books: Unveiling / Marianne Moore (Atticus / Finch 2007) and There Are Birds (Flood Editions 2008).

As I understand it, There Are Birds contains the whole of Unveiling / Marianne Moore. Both titles are remarkable, each carefully attending through their construction to the poems they embody. The cover for There Are Birds offers what is perhaps one of Ralph Eugene Meatyard's grittier, least representative and more phantasmagoric photographs. But the earlier Atticus / Finch title is somehow starker and considerably more desolate in appearance. Designed, printed and published by Michael Cross while at Buffalo, the lines from Unveiling / Marianne Moore included on the back cover are congruent with the starkness of the book's appearance: "Skinny tree sparsely branched lacking | a felicitous phrase to begin."

Given Taggart's enduring affinity for Oppen, such lines could easily serve as a descriptive epigraph for the whole of Oppen's oeuvre. Spot on in the most curious way. Sparse—the austerity of this—that language, like bread or milk, is not to be wasted.