Dec 28, 2013


(This post was initially published on the Margento UOttawa website HERE)


I am lucky. I live in five intersecting rings of poetry. It wasn’t always this way. My poetry life, and therefore my poetry community, has been hard won.

In college, one poetry teacher told our entire class, “Most of you won’t write one word once you reach the age of twenty-six.” Another professor took me aside and whispered, “Perhaps you should concentrate on children’s books.” By the time I had graduated with a degree in Creative Writing, I was without faith — not only drained of belief in my own work, but more importantly, utterly disheartened by the world of academic poetry. The community of poets I had idolized, poets such as Denise Levertov, Adrienne Rich, and Muriel Rukeyser as they went off in 1972 to investigate the war in Vietnam had all but disappeared. The famous friendship between Maxine Kumin and Anne Sexton had ended with the suicide of Sexton in 1974. The world of poetry didn’t look very promising.

Instead of pursuing poetry, directly after college I joined the Peace Corps. I wanted to travel, to learn from different cultures and experience new ways of living radically different from my own. I knew that if I were ever to have anything to say, it needed to be augmented with an extended worldview.

When I eventually returned to Boston from my two years in the Peace Corps, I found solace in books such as William Stafford’s Swimming the Australian Crawl and You Must Change Your Life. I took classes in the living rooms of poets who needed the extra cash. The casualness and camaraderie of those Thursday nights complete with a cup of tea brought me back to myself. The idea that there might be a way, after all, to be a poet in the world outside of the strictures of others’ beliefs started taking shape in my mind. Ironically, working with a grassroots community is what freed me of the need for acceptance.

After the death of my parents, I took a leap across the country and changed my life, as instructed by Rilke. At age 36, I registered as a student in the MFA program at the University of Oregon. My classmates were a strained group of twelve, representing a diversity of age, race, economic background and global geography.  Really, we were a ragtag bunch and with little more in common than a burning desire to write. And yet, eventually we learned not only to get along, but to rely on one other, and to open our hearts. The program changed us; it made of us more tolerant humans, more aware of how to live in a literary community.

Today I live in Seattle, WA, a city most famous for its coffee connoisseurs and serious readers. My first visit to Seattle left me wondering what these citizens had accomplished in their past lives to be reborn as Seattlites. The Seattle area includes mountain ranges, beautiful bodies of water, and books. Here, more people buy books per capita than in any other U.S. city. This statistic is often followed by a joke about the weather or a line that exaggerates our slate colored skies. But that is only half the story. Seattle overflows with literary organizations – most of them founded by a small group of people sitting somewhere on a sofa and asking, “why not”?

Community of Geography

In Seattle, poets celebrate Open Books: A Poem Emporium, as our physical and spiritual home. Owned by accomplished poets, John Marshall and Christine Deavel, the store schedules readings by nationally and locally famous poets twice each month. Often, there’s a house party following the event with everybody invited.  The focus is to bring new voices into the community, not lock them out. A community focused on inclusion.

The belief that poetry is meant for everyone, that no one holds the magical keys to the lyrical city is echoed in the organizations, residencies, and presses throughout Washington State. A prime example is Floating Bridge Press (FBP). The press has its roots in the basement of poet Peter Pereira’s house. A group of friends clustered together on Peter’s couch naming all the excellent poets they knew who had yet to be published. Why not start a press? Why not?

What inspired me to join the editorial board of FPB — to spend midnight hours reading manuscripts, answering emails, and mailing out journals was the spirit of the editors. Our desire was to discover new writers and give them a voice; to open out the community of writers by organizing readings, paying poets, and publishing new people each year. More than any other organization in Washington, I believe that Floating Bridge Press has created a lasting legacy of generosity among poets. Poets Kelli Russell Agodon, Elizabeth Austen, Allen Braden, Timothy Kelly, and Katherine Whitcomb have all been published by Floating Bridge Press.

But that’s just the beginning. Writing groups, reading groups, and residencies play an integral part in the literary landscape of my home. My Community of Poetry Readers, otherwise known as COPR’s comes together every month to discuss a book of poems and to gift individual poems that we’ve discovered. Anne Carson, Deborah Digges, Mark Doty, and Gjertrud Schnackenberg reflect the diversity of our tastes. We are a group of seven poets and two non-fiction writers who travel across the state one Sunday a month to talk about poems together and to share some aloud. We create a time out of time for each other in a ritual that allows us to be fed by poetry: a communal meal.

Community of Poetry Friends

Here is the secret nobody knows: poets need friends. OK. If you are reading this, you know it, and I know it, and so did Elizabeth Bishop. From Brooklyn over the Brooklyn Bridge this fine morning please come flying. In “Invitation to Miss Marianne Moore,” Elizabeth Bishop celebrates her deep friendship with another woman poet: her mentor and lifelong friend, Marianne Moore.

I know that Bishop and Moore shared poems, went on outings to the zoo together, and when Bishop moved to Brazil in 1951, wrote long letters.

I think if we look close enough, we’ll find that every serious poet who produces work over a lifetime has poets whom they can rely on. We need poets to drink coffee with, to talk craft with and finally (when it’s almost too late) to retell favorite stories of past and future dreams. Maybe because poetry is so far from the mainstream of American life, we need reminders that our hours, days, weeks, spent in seclusion are okay. More than okay.

I know that without my dearest poetry friends: Kelli Russell Agodon and Katherine Flenniken I would not be as brave as a poet. Without my dearest poetry teachers: Madeline DeFrees, Pamela Alexander, Linda Pastan, and Garrett Hongo, I would not be as well trained in the craft  (of course there is always room for improvement). Without my dead mentors: Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Bishop and Anne Sexton, I would not have begun writing at all.

Community of Peace Corps

A long time ago, I was a college drop out. The only thing that convinced me to finish my degree was the possibility of joining the Peace Corps. I knew I wanted to see the world and that I wished to write about it. At age 25, I was looking for myself by getting as far away from my own life as I could. Unbelievably, this worked.

And I am not the only one. There are many poets who began their writing lives as Peace Corps Volunteers: Derek Burleson, Sandra Meek, and Anne Neelon are three examples ~ all of them went on to publish poetry collections exploring their tenure in Africa.

But it is not only the other Peace Corps poets that I am drawn to. More important to me are the Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, who perhaps find something recognizable in my poems regarding their own Peace Corps experience. My two years in Niger, West Africa, was nothing short of surreal. All I had learned about life to that point was turned upside down and tossed next to a sand dune – soon to be digested by a goat or a camel. Many of us were just out of college, inexperienced in the larger world, and ill prepared for desert life — especially during a drought of biblical proportions.

I stubbornly subscribe to the old fashioned need for my poems to serve others. I know my poems can’t feed the hungry, house the homeless, end wars, or pass a more just stimulus package in Congress, but my job as an artist is to keep myself and others awake.

Community of the Grand Double P ~

Poetry and politics: a subject so often avoided in literary circles in the United States. Is political poetry merely another way of saying a poetry that is engaged in the world?  Are my poems detailing the lives of Bosnians during the war inherently political or are they more humanist? Is humanist a bad word? Does it imply a hedging of bets without wanting to upset anyone? I could write an entire piece on the slippery space the Double P inhabits, but I would remain estranged from a definitive answer. This is by choice. If I write poems that when complete are “about” the inhumanity of state executions here in the United States or the rampant racism Americans exhibited after September 11th, or the inhumanity happening in Palestine right now, that was not explicitly why I wrote the poem.

For the record: I am on the side of political poetry. I believe poets have a responsibility to our society at large.

World Community of Poets

My poems often reflect the people I meet. Since I have lived on three continents, these meetings frequently occur outside the United States. I’ve worked in several cities scattered across the globe – in Sarajevo, Bosnia, in Cape Town, South Africa, and in Gaza City, Gaza. While in Ljubljana, Slovenia I read on a candlelit stage with a translator by my side and later, outside of Galway, Ireland, I read to the mountains with an Irish friend. My poetry community is not restrained by border crossings. I believe in a global community of poets.


And yet. I am dissatisfied. This listing of people and places seems flaccid next to my vision of what constitutes a community of poets. My mind conjures Anne Sexton and Maxine Kumin with their dedicated phone line, their linked handsets perched on the corners of their desks as they worked.  I try to conjure the solidarity of poets who went to prison for their beliefs in South Africa – or anywhere in the world where human rights violations occur. I think of Jeremy Cronin’s poem  — Motho Ke Motho Ka Batho Babang (A Person is a Person Because of Other People) that details the wordless conversation between two prisoners as a guard scrutinizes them. A poet is a poet because of other poets. We need each other. It’s that simple.

Susan Rich ( & blog) is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently, Cloud Pharmacy and The Alchemist’s Kitchen, which was a Finalist for the Foreword Prize and the Washington State Book Award. She is the recipient of awards from Artist’s Trust, The Times Literary Supplement of London, Peace Corps Writers and the Fulbright Foundation. Individual poems appear in the Antioch Review, New England Review, Poetry Ireland, and The Southern Review. Along with Brian Turner and Jared Hawkley, she edited the anthology, The Strangest of Theatres: Poets Crossing Borders published by McSweeney’s and the Poetry Foundation. Susan lives and writes in Seattle, Washington.

Dec 21, 2013


(Initially Published on MARGENTO's UOttawa Website HERE)

Martin Woodside traveled to Romania on a poetry Fulbright. In the bilingual collection Of Gentle Wolves, he captured a snapshot of the mosaic of trends and confluences that define Romanian poetry of the last few decades. As he suggests in his introduction to the volume, the biggest surprise was the difficulty in categorizing Romanian poets, a reflection of the “tumult and discord that’s characterized the last century of life in Romania, and life after the 1989 revolution” (vi). If anything, the common thread running through the various voices, some decades old, some fresh and pulsing with the blood of the new millennium, is the ambition of being the one to re-invent the poetic form while never severing the bonds with Romania’s literary past.

Yet the volume doesn’t lack unity or a sense of common purpose. There are subtle points of convergence that emerge as one journeys from one poet’s landscape to the next. One witnesses the struggles to place signifying mirrors before a history in the course of finding itself, and one sees the wider and wider spiral that travels away from a nationally defined inner space, and into the larger world of global conversations, only to circle back to the evolving Romanian consciousness, undefeated by half a century of communism, engaged with the present, eager for that ineffable re-definition.

One such thread that one can identify is the need for cultural anchoring—whether it be in the sturdy soil of European tradition, as we see in the poem by Romania’s not so long absconded giant, Marin Sorescu, who attributes to Shakespeare the powers of a Demiurge creating the world in seven days, then “tired to the bone,/He went off to die a little” (5), or the more eclectic allusions in a poem such as “Summa Ethilica” by Radu Vancu, who summons as his drinking buddies the shadows of Thomas Aquinas, Mihai Eminescu (Romania’s staple poet of the 19th century), and even Marx, to derive eternal wisdom from the never obsolete “40 percent liquid hell in iridescent light” (19). In a similar vein, Angela Marinescu sits at an imagined table with “many poets/ Mihai Draghici, Paul Vinicius, Eugen Suciu,/ with novelists Ioan Grosan and Alexandru Vlad/ and with a young woman, beautiful, quiet like a carnivorous plant in repose” (21), an indication that reaching self-awareness is a collective endeavor.

Earlier generation surrealist poet Gellu Naum returns to a mythical past of Romania’s almost unchanged countryside, where Alexander the Great is summoned by a local woman as he “passed one summer in his golden boat reading aloud and making small comments/…/ hey there comrade Alexander the Great she would tell us don’t pretend you can’t hear/ hey there Argonaut I’ll give you my golden fleece that is the law/ I’ll issue a receipt” (7). As if in response to this search through myths in Romania’s millennial soil, crisp-voiced poet Chris Tanasescu finds himself “between stone and stone/ between earth and earth” (57) with a book holding him together as he relives Romania’s myth of the creator’s sacrifice, and the continuous repetition of Genesis as art: “and the book is the only place here/ to enter/ the only place/ to find a way through/maybe this is how the world started/ I say to myself” (59).

It is as if the poets of change seek reassurance in a world that simply is, so that they can glimpse into the possible and venture into a world they can re-imagine. Unsurprisingly, there is also an abundance of references to Romania’s only partially healed wounds of anticommunist and postcommunist struggles. In O. Nimigean’s excerpt from Intermezzo, “ovidean nimigean/ weeps all over the page/ feeling pity/ for this golden age/ ovidean nimigean/ a childish old man/ fills with grief/ for the Romanian” (37), in a voice reminiscent of old ballads but snatching Romania’s old self from the past and dragging it with him into his own, amorphous moment in history. In Radu Vancu’s “Kapital,” the ghost of Marx still haunts the streets of cities and villages, where “in the pubs of Romania,” heavy drinking turns formerly complacent people into anarchists, until “you are already, in all likelihood, a perfect mystic/ with the appropriate set of regrets at hand./ It’s bad not to have guts. And much better, after the first shot of vodka” (17).

It appears that poets are still trying to shake off the shame of inaction that followed the intellectuals of the communist night into the chaos of a democracy still fighting the demons of the past. Chris Tanasescu’s poem “Envoy” reminds Romanians that the ills we bear can take our place if we leave too much room for tolerance of those ills. The lines “Today, tomorrow, she endured/ pitiful girl—shouldn’t be pitied!” (61) reveal the epitome of the fear that is no longer a good excuse.

It appears that many of today’s poets find the self-congratulatory rhetoric of those accustomed with suffering abhorrent, and look elsewhere for redemption. In Gabriel Decuble’s “Crippled Mutt,” the beaten dogs on the street become the city’s guardian angels, a sign that it is, perhaps, time to let the ghosts of oppression leave the country’s crippled body so that it can finally find a way to start anew: “particles rise yelping/ particles limping through the atmosphere/ light slobbered from the fierce staggering over the void/ dispersed/ you don’t hear them you don’t see them/ these microscopic particles in one in all/       damning them not to be damned/ so that they never end” (53).

What’s left after the purging of Romania’s collective sins are “the dead resurrected from rain” (43) in Robert Serban’s poem “I Hide.” In the “nearly empty” village where the sick and old of past generations still wait and watch for something—be it angels or pigeons—in Ioan Moldovan’s poem “In Fact,” and love finds ways to bring the flesh back to the doll-like bodies, in Dan Coman’s “Love Poem.”

It is a bizarre world where people are picking up the pieces after some bewildering cataclysm, but there is much hope in this scattered world. Artists believe in the power of their art to redeem and rebuild, which is why this volume sets itself apart from other contemporary productions as an on-going question whose answer is somewhere under the rubble of history, waiting to be unearthed.
                                                                                                                           —Liana Andreasen

[Of Gentle Wolves, an Anthology of Romanian Poetry
Translated and edited by Martin Woodside
Calypso Editions, 2011,
68 pages, soft cover, $12]
[A shorter version of this review was initially published in Atticus Review]
Liana Vrajitoru Andreasen is originally from Romania, and currently lives in McAllen, TX where she is an Associate Professor at South Texas College. She holds an MA from Salisbury University and a PhD from Binghamton University. She published academic work in Alecart, Texas Review, Quarterly Review of Film and Video, Southwestern American Literature, The CEA Critic. She published stories in Fiction International, The Raven Chronicles, Thunderdome, The Horror Zine, The Willow Review, Mobius, a Journal of Social Change, and upcoming in Scintilla, Weave Magazine, and Calliope. She received two Pushcart nominations (for fiction and for translation work).

Dec 2, 2013


[Joanne Dominique Dwyer. Belle Laide. Louisville, Kentucky: Sarabande Books, 2013]

Joanne Dominique Dwyer—Belle Laide—If to Love Is to Inhabit
(Initially published on the uOttawa website here)

One cannot but love a book that starts this way: “First my father Killing Me Softly with his Roberta Flack album./ Then my son Killing Me Softly with his Fugees CD” especially when those are the opening lines of an ars poetica—actually “Ars Poetica, or Keeper-of-the-Water.”  Contemporary young poets apparently feel a need to start their (first) books with ars poeticas, and some of them do it well.  Joanne Dominique Dwyer is one of those—while providing a relevant imago of the poet at work as being at home, since the metaphor in the title has to do with the frozen birdbath the birds peck on in the cold outside the speaker’s home.  The image gives her the opportunity to interrupt her own speech with a sharp aside in which she both scolds and… scalds herself: “Excuse me un mementino, while I boil/ water to pour on the ice.  Bullshit!/ you’re not going to take time to boil water/ when it scalds right from the tap.”  A quirky discourse of a restless poet who will not take bull from anybody, herself included.  And, like in other recent ars poeticas, she addresses the reader directly, but since other poets unwillingly prove to actually be afraid of the latter, or at least mistrustful, and try to compensate for that by showing off, she off-handedly invites them into her family, her home, her own body (of words), even calling them lover but also warning all the way about the deadly dangers of such togetherness “I can see why lovers commit suicide together./ And why you enter me with such abandon,” as the only one she’s actually afraid of seems to be herself and the cancer-like unstoppable expansion and inclusiveness of her verse : “On my shoulder a carcinoma that will eventually kill me—/ will eat my flesh, as I eat yours.”

            But is this a Whitmanesque inclusiveness—not really, not at first at least, rather one centered on or starting from the familial, the interior, the bookish.  “I don’t get out much—socially, for adult pleasure./ But I read a lot” starts a captivating poem that takes us into the speaker’s extensive readings of Turkish harem accounts, and then to the speaker’s daughter’s ceramics class work, a conversation at a wedding party casually and awkwardly switching from horrid jail stories to deluxe breast jobs, and then back again to harems, Islam, ceramics, and a Persian hair removal kit recently that the speaker recently purchased but “has yet to use.”  

            Dwyer is compared in a back cover presentation with Plath and Sexton, and indeed, her confessionalism and acted childishness every once in a while allows questionable traumas to surface menacingly (“my missing daughter returned by midday muted,/ having been held on a rooftop”), but the general tone is rather relaxed as she enjoys digressing and surfing her own stream of consciousness in more of an O’Harian style.  The ‘wild’ surprises occasioned by language ramifications, by the dark associative power of her unconsciousness, and sometimes by multiple voices (in “Barely a Body Comes Knocking” for instance the deceitful complaint about the lack of visitors veers at a certain point into a fantastic and funny Voodoo curse against possible thieves—“And my assistant ghosts will hex your virility/ And you will sit all your remaining days/ In a rocking chair like a ceramic troll on the porch/ Of the state home in Maine for old and demented alcoholic ship builders/ Because the home for old and alcoholic sailor is full// You think I’m semiserious/ I do my best work when hypnopompic…”—) may also remind one of Ashbery, with the significant difference that Dwyer wants and manages to convey a (multiple but) coherent image of the self that is propped by the consistent pursuit of memories and dreams, and by memorable self-definitions and metaphors, “keeper of the water,” “an encyclopedia salesman,” “ a footless repairer of huaraches and boots,” etc. 

            The second section persistently and sometimes manically pursues possible ‘definitions’ of love, ranging from “if love is to imagine” to “if love is a door,” “a mezzanine,” “to fall,” “to inhabit,” and eventually “to be thirsty in the night/ un-slacked in the day.”  Such ‘philosophical’ musings are actually as bodily and sensual as could be, and, what is absolutely remarkable in Dwyer compared to other contemporary poets, the erudite references, the mythologies and metaphysics, the asides and the detours do not slacken the passion and the emergency, but quite on the contrary, they keep mercilessly spilling fuel on the fire of the crescendos, while also adding a bite of inquisitiveness, sarcasm, and, of course, self-contradiction:

In the Louvre we saw the carved bit of ass
showing on the Venus of Milo.
Lift my dressing gown over my head,
               or take it all the way down.
               Look me in the eye when we make love
               so I don’t mistake you for a blind man.
               Don’t be afraid of my dark,
               buy me a bird of my own—
               spit on the candle in the corner.
                                                                           “Request to a Lover”

The breathless 3 or 4-beat-per-line hurried complexities, intimations, and urges, make room at a certain point to a bluesy shorter piece, in which St Augustine (a recurrent reference, or rather character), Billie Holiday, sensuality & grimness, homelessness and glamour, death and a repressed knowledge of the spiritual powerfully converge.  

            A nagging question and potential problem in writing such poems would be (besides what if love were… [at all]), but how do I end this, and, if after all the deployed artillery I need a simpler or quieter ending, how can I make sure it’s not going to be flat or irrelevant.  Dwyer finds good or not so good answers to this question (among the most unfortunate ones are those that go like “You are intrigued with her/ and I hate her”) until she realizes it would be better to confront and testify for the lack of any solution and the confusion itself rather than improvise single-use surrogates.  That is what she does in the cosmic spectacular finale of “Bent,” the final poem in the second section, where a maddening maenad squeezes the love and… the life out of her lover, and then, a bacchant drunk on his “lake water,” she admits no reciprocity or communion in facing her own deepest uncertainty, and along with that, the demise of the sacred.

            I am bent around the darkness of the sun
               siphoning salt form your skin,
               eating almonds from your cupboards,
               drinking the last of the lake water
               as the sails come to a halt on the sand.
               I will never give back the lake its love!
               It’s mine! It’s mine!—Loch Ness monster
               or man on the shore carving canoe paddles,
               I’m not certain.  It’s so ark without the moon,
               difficult to find the far encampment—
               the inward holy body.

This last note lingers into the third section, where Dwyer directly addresses her need for a spiritualism of her own and “an instance of devotion” for the sacred madness of maverick figures like Christina Mirabilis, for instance, whom the church has kept out “of the sanctioned canon of saints on the grounds/ that you are not the beau ideal to follow,” and who, spiritually speaking, is therefore an emblematic “beau laide.”  

            Paradoxically, the intensification of the search for the spiritual brings about more explicit confessional or maybe even autobiographical texture, and along with that, even more popular culture and consumerist ‘flavors’ than before, while pulling back a bit from the earlier grandiose metaphorical imagery and approaching the erotic much more directly.  But is that really paradoxical?  Not for a poet like Dwyer, who, while taking the customary American distance from institutionalized religion is relentlessly in search for an actual experience of the sacred, for the ‘real’ ([un]canonical) thing, which, of course, once reached, cannot but illuminate (through) the profane as well.  

            Profane in all senses, since in one of the most powerful poems in the collection (“Down-by-the-River”), the speaker takes “a shit behind skinny oaks” and asserts (more than elsewhere) an Irish-Catholic-pagan-Gypsy-outlandish-Mexican (non-)identity (“No Identity Crisis Here” reads another relevant title), fusing a Whitmanesque celebratory union-with-the-cosmos eroticism (“I long for the lightning/ of your ejaculate in my mouth, on my breasts/ between the folds and fabric of my flower./ Call it a pussy or a cunt, or the shores of an eel-infested river”) with her unmistakable sarcasm, fierce political/gender critique and brilliantly ironic associations (“Only do not […] pretend to care about the young girls/ who open their mouths like milking machines on dairy farms,/ or take it in the ass, all to remain immaculate until marriage./ I wiped my ass with dry oak leaves, and yes it scratched.”) 

            The poet’s deepest and most intense purpose always keeps its promise—and therefore the last poem in the collection is indeed an eschatological poem… “of sorts.”  And not in spite, but actually by means of self-irony as well (yet is this just self-irony?—“J. Dominique is certain that Christ will return soon/ […]/ as a guest at the wedding of two men madly in love/ and turn tap water into bubbly water”), the ardently mystical vibrates ever stronger, so much the more as it is (in the end as well as in the beginning) experienced strictly on a stripped corporeal level.  Listen to this crossover ballad-chant-lease-like ending; there is multifaceted irony here indeed, only that it aims beyond the traditional postmodernist paradigm, while still sounding postmodern (although it is not for the first time in the book that Dwyer euphonically pairs holy and body).  This is probably the greatest merit of this first collection and the major promise that Joanne Dominique Dwyer may represent:

            And she’ll be ashamed for her ego-driven desire
               to be listed among the holy,
               and humbled into a hollow love for her body—
               no matter how temporary the occupancy.


Nov 25, 2013



NORMA DUNNING has been awarded The James Patrick Follinsbee Prize for Creative Writing (2011) and the Stephen Kapalka Memorial Prize for Creative Writing (2012) through the U of A... MORE HERE

Nov 19, 2013


 photo (c) George Floarea

Calin Torsan Portrayal of MARGENTO in Graphic Front

His place is not among us. I can't see him here and I can't see him now. He is a fool, and a thief, and a mystic. But these words are just blowing their own trumpet, marking his entrance MORE HERE!!!!!

Călin Torsan is an archivist at the Romanian Peasant Museum. Over the years, he has been involved in many musical projects (Domnișoara Pogany, Einuiea, Nu și apa neagră, Jazadez, MORE HERE !!!

Nov 9, 2013


Peter Joseph Gloviczki. Kicking Gravity. Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland: Salmon Poetry, 2013

From Contorted Ars Poeticas to the Funny Banal and Back

And what will the ricochet/ of my ankle be worth […] this bony puzzle/ in the window doubling,/ now, as a mirror: the person/ I was before I kicked gravity/ hard in the abdomen.  Laugh,/ babe, that’s what you told me […]     
… those taller/ versions of yourself when they/ appear between the boundaries/ of what that old architect let in/ when he said: Put it here,/ yes, that’s it, now we’re home.

Those are a few (actually most of the) lines from the intriguing opening poem, “Door,” from Peter Joseph Gloviczki’s Kicking Gravity.  The architecture of the poem (and of the book) is thus laid down by an “old” architect—most likely of form and tradition that draws boundaries and gives directions—in this poem.  He’s not the only character in the poem though—“babe/you” is another one who actually speaks when we think the speaker does, since when half way through the poem, when we believe we just heard the (indeed) contorted lyrical confession of the speaker, we find out it (or at least part of it) is actually what that “you” answered the speaker when the latter asked for advice regarding dealing with the former’s “taller versions”.  This is self-referential and it develops an (at least apparently) complex allegory of the writing of a poem involving deceitful rhetoric, recurrent indeterminacy (“what will it be worth,” “what you told me,” “what the architect let in,” etc.) and masterful enjambment.
The few following prose poems that follow are far from being that complicated though.  It is as if after expelling the “taller versions [expectations?]” of the reader, the poet relaxed and started telling anecdotes from his childhood, about an aunt “we” like to call “Lefty,” and soft-surrealist Simickian mixes of blurry memories, oneiric fears or eroticism, and submerged personal mythologies—

Sara taught me where all the doors where; I loved the ones inside her elbows.  I learned how to open those first; how they connected to other openings in her body, wired one to another like a burglar alarm (“Wired”),

but unlike the Serbian-American master, he either overdoes it by adding unnecessary ‘strong surprises’, or dismisses any possible richer meaning by settling either for a sentimental conclusion or a joke.
            The prose poems in the first section are interrupted by a funny and captivating “Sonnet for Anne” written after Stephen Dobyn’s “How to Like It”—

               … to make Anne
blush.  Her cheeks become cherries: fresh, ripe Bing,
the kind that would have been painted by Rembrandt.
Anne turns that cold Pepsi to sweet Riesling.
She sends Catholic school girls into a jealous rant.

            One would picture the poet’s imaginary audience hollering and asking for more, but Gloviczki prefers to go back to the less appealing puzzling prose pieces. 
The second section seems to start off the same kind of scenario as the first one, a first rather twisted abstract poem, a possible ars poetica (“(i) can’t stand” “the mechanisms which facilitate hands opening and closing […]” etc) followed by a couple of seemingly biographical notations, but then a couple of sparse poems with scattered short lines fortunately change the pace.  “The Tornado Sequence” captures well the experience of potentially devastating weather by stitching together apparently unrelated fragments, thus suggestive of the effects of a tornado—“the guy whose tractor/ trapped him,/ the woman thrown against her fence./ I bought a lottery ticket, he [the speaker’s brother] says,/ on my drive home” which unfortunately the author chooses to spoil (in this one once again?) with a flat joke: “I’ve been fooled by light before,/ never by wind—/ even my best chair failed me” (as above, the poet’s emphasis here as well). 
            Gloviczki’s travel poems, which are praised in one of the blurbs for their “listening with a journalist’s ear” are not travel poems.  But unlike in A.L. Nielsen’s Ghana or Kansas sequences where there is no ‘travel poetry’ because the genre along with certain capital assumptions in modern poetics are challenged and reshaped in remarkably relevant ways, here what we get is scenes and/or reflections that hardly have any relevance or efficacy in describing (let alone enacting) a relationship between a problematic speaker and the elusive alterity of a place or community.  The bad English of a cab driver, for instance, who takes a circuitous route most likely in order to rip off a speaker who doesn’t resist because of his stomach flu hardly tells us anything interesting about the latter’s experience of visiting Budapest.
            In the third section, some more family poems draw a few good sketchy portraits or scenes, while certain images successfully circumscribe unclear but persistently haunting events from the past.  In “Breakfast,” for instance, the speaker’s mother apparently thinks the former could have but did not prevent somebody’s death.  She then sets a knife on the table and starts spinning it “with a sure hand.”  A number of ‘advice’ or ‘instruction’ poems are both funny and convincing.  In one addressed to (or spoken by?) a groundskeeper, the various thoughts, pieces of advice, and everyday tidbits make room, at a certain point, to the surprise of a couple of very good lines taking some unexpected turns: “Sure,/ the evening light always visits and windy doors know to slam shut./ Love, write my number on your hand./ Call me with my digits against your flesh.”


Nov 3, 2013


POETRIES & COMMUNITIES Project–General Argument

Does the community around us need poetry or poets?  Community—singular, as in local, or global as well—or rather plural, as we are part of or in touch with so many matrices crossing all kinds of social, linguistic, cultural, and geographical divides?  But going back to the first question, are poetry and poets one and the same thing in that respect—or, in other words, is the poets’ poetry the poetry that communities around them ‘consume’, identify with, enjoy or employ for (any of) the meanwhile marginalized and ‘secularized’ versions of the functions that poetry ‘normally’ had in ‘traditional’/‘pre-contact’/pre-(post)modern communities? [...]

Submission Guidelines
Contribution 1–David Baker & Page Hill Starzinger
Contribution 2–G.C. Waldrep
Contribution 3–David Antin
Contribution 4–Jerome Rothenberg
Contribution 5–Betsy Warland
Contribution 6--Garry Thomas Morse


Oct 26, 2013


A.L. Nielsen. A Brand New Beggar
Bolder, CO, and Normal, IL: Steerage Press, 2013

A.L. Nielsen’s new book is praised by Evie Shockley in one of the blurbs on the back cover, for the fireworks lit under its language, and the way in which it stitches together places, people, and moments.  Stitching al those things together is actually, in Nielsen’s case, like playing series of chords (with riffing and variation) on a (blues) guitar; only he uses an interesting and quite hard to master technique—open tuning.

“Seven Series,” for instance, is a poem that illustrates Nielsen’s preoccupation with seriality (whence the recurrent motifs of trains, train sets, traveling, slide-shows, etc, and whatever involves sequences or cycles or reformulations), which relates him to Spicer, but it would be a mistake to make of that a pervasive feature, as Nielson is actually related to so many and to nobody in particular.  (Apropos of Spicer, though, “Hidden Lake” is a funny but convoluted reprise of “Concord Hymn.”)  The first one of the seven series stands proof—“An end to all this// Eschatology”—a distich which, pardon my punning, should indeed make history.  Or is, in any way, an opening that promises a lot.  Nielsen chooses ‘not to deliver’ though, and so, what follows sounds (not like Spicer but) more like a sequence of Koch’s blandest surreal (yet metropolitan) jokes—“I have/ To hurry// Here// They close/ The dictionaries/ At seven” (5th series)—and after trying to compensate for the lightness with a ‘hard surrealist’ totally puzzling 6th series, the last one, like a Dadaist farce, confirms the closing of dictionaries “at seven”: the 7th series contains no words. 
Many other ‘jokes’ in the book are actually much more relevant than that, such as “41” which is a “series” of mass media and political and everyday clichés in a crescendo where totally probable absurdities (“Continuous/ Breaking developments,” “We ran a touchdown/ And the enemy didn’t show up”) lead to a black humor cynicism that would make Frederick Seidel jealous: “We get more punch per bomb// A struggle to the last child.”
“Higher Math”—higher because it’s about wild geese flying up in the sky, and math because the shape of the flocks is equated with the greater/lesser than symbol in mathematics—describes the phases of a contest between the hunter and his game which reminds one of Charles Simic’s mathematical symbolisms of crows in winter, only now (depleted of the visionary tone and) humorously remixed by a laconic Billy Collins.  Still, Nielsen manages to compress there both ecological concerns and a subtle ars poetica—“I wait unlicensed/ In the caesura of their seasons/ Scrawling with my shotgun in mid-mud.”

            After a number of such poems the reader realizes that there are apparently two poets taking turns in this collection (both of them versatile and alluding to quite a deal of contemporary writers, as already stated), one that writes song-like (and most of the times deceitfully) light poems, and another one that specializes in hard to follow, contorted syntax, nagging indeterminacy, and non sequiturs.  The former’s palette ranges from idiosyncratic limericks, “A is for an/ Other/ Part of our/ Name a/ Part…[etc]” (“Anna”), to emphatic blues poems, “Really doesn’t matter/ How hard I sing/ Night still/ Removes everything”) (“Small Song”), to political critique and creed, “Word arrives that Jesse Helms has died/ Tolson’s Africa shakes off a fly” (section IV, the best in the book), and the oracular (and therefore, political) poetry of place “There’s no/ Their there” (section II).  The ‘other poet’ often places his pieces right next to the first, letting the reader decide which poem is a make-up for which, as for instance, right before the above quoted “Small Song”, “Rivers” (meant to also be read as “reverse”?) deals with the same theme, only in a more complicated unnecessarily philosophical (and thus facile) way—“An idea/ Pitched in the rest//Taken up by the rest/ Rests.”  Compare the two finales, “The finite work of morning/ Refrains// Evening/ The score,” and “Really doesn’t matter/ What I might will/ Night/ Still.” 

Nielsen sometimes acknowledges the ambivalence (“I hear voices/ From the other’s side/ As if someone wore/ Reading a Poem” (my emphasis)—he puns in a poem involving an ingenious typographical word-play, “Silence of the Iambs,” where the sparse irregular iambs are themselves the silenced… lambs), but the ‘less likable’ ‘other’ breaks loose in the last (and weakest) section, where he over-insists on the trite figure of the slide-show as disparate and sometimes painful or nostalgic memories.  When the jumbled enjambments and rumbling syntax seem to find a way of cohabitation and signification in “Zoo Slide,” the poet drops them altogether and switches to end stops and romance.  Still, the poem concluding the section and the book is an excellent one (and like most of the best poems, an instance of collaboration between the ‘two writers’ in the collection), a blues of strong rhythms, unexpected phrase turns, both sudden rhymes/puns and remote echoes fusing the personal and the political, “This suitcase intends/ A world/ Broke at the clasp/ Grasp// World gone wrong// […] These unintended/ Blues stones/ In my passway/ Cinders rasp/ In my draw/ Rail against the night/ Smokestacks steel strings/ Open tuning…”
            Still, the book’s major contribution is its poetry of place.  In section II, “From Kansas,” which is actually just a short preview, and then in the full-throttle section IV, “From Ghana,” Nielsen writes an intriguing, both alluring and aloof, mysterious one-of-a-kind poetry of locality.  The complexity and immensity of a place and culture are made palpable not by erotic immersion or elated enumerations, but by what we gradually sense is being left out—as well as by the speaker’s own puzzlement and wonder.  Yet it is not primarily ellipsis that does the trick in these laconic poems, but the always fresh eye of the observer, and the refusal to categorize or generalize (mainly manifest in the amazing capacity to shift and turn and [still] be inclusive within draconic brevity).  These are poems in which the tools of imagist poetry are used to the opposite ends. As (perhaps) post-post-colonial poetry, such verse not only refuses the stance of the western colonist/traveler/tourist/orientalist, but, without professing the old news of postmodernist disenchantment, does not even consider the option (as it is strongly skeptical of the actual possibility) of description (while being, among other things, once in a while descriptive as well).  The result is a sequence of multifaceted puzzle pieces for us to (re)arrange and approximate the mystery(ies) of both the place and the speaker, and thus participate in the incomprehensible experience of being a contemporary inter-cultural person interacting on different levels with a certain place of wondrous culture and landscape marked by political injustice and tragic history/ies.  Just like in open tuning (a figure so relevantly employed by the poet in the above quoted blues), Nielsen does not bother to ‘fret’ the strings of the reality he encounters, but (apparently) plays them as they come, and the strong effect results from the order, frequency, and rhythm in which he chooses to pick or strike them. 

                       Gratitude for such wary
                              Signage as
                              Sings to me
                              Each morning
                              Such as this
                              Muddy Waters pouring
                              From seaside speakers
                              Homecoming baptism

            The echoes—sing/sign—of the speaker’s personal cultural background present on the public globalized speakers’ playlist represent signage for him to get back home every morning, but (the “gratitude” for) such experience is best expressed by an oxymoron—“homecoming baptism.”  Certain layers of American culture here (the icon of Muddy Waters but also the more recent blues and pop hits with lyrics celebrating being baptized in muddy water) gain unexpected relevance as the speaker, in Ghana, is baptized in the muddy water of his true “home,” African(-American) culture and literature which he has studied and celebrated for decades.
In dialoging with or evoking other major rock culture figures, the poet seems to almost forget about the place he’s supposed to ‘tell us about.’  In a poem referencing “[Frank]” he writes, “The/ Mothers// Of necessity// Sang// Kansas/ Kansas/ do-do-dun to-to// It was/ For them/ An invention,” being as ironic at Zappa just as the latter once was at everybody, but at the same time giving him credit as a major artist (of the ‘necessary’ proportion).  Moreover, the doo wop refrain, if heard as forms of the verb to do, unexpectedly renders the language, the politics (necessary and of “necessity”), and the politics of language… of Kansas (and not only). 
Other times, the reader has more dots to connect as (in alluding to Nkrumah’s biography for instance or) in the poem concluding “From Ghana,” where the actor Omar Epps (who, we are not told, but presumably know, starred in Deadly Voyage, playing the part of a sole survivor of a group of stowaways from Ghana) introduces himself to the speaker “in the market” (‘here’, ‘there’?, what difference would it make?) and is “Surprised/ As I am/ To find himself/ Talking to Elvis” (my emphasis).  What we have here in the ways the poet references rock culture is a (long awaited) brilliant sequel to David Wojahn’s rock and roll sonnets (since, after all, both Wojahn and Nielsen share an interest in “mystery,” as well as in… all sorts of “trains”), while also bringing such a different approach and perspective.  And, at last (in the poetry trying to speak of place and history and identities by manipulating symbols of popular music and culture), such a different purpose.


Oct 13, 2013


Shane McCrae, Blood, Mesilla Park, NM: Noemi Press, 2013

Shane McCrae’s Blood—The Unstoppable Epic

“Probably the real story of race in the United States, […] an epic that spans three centuries,” reads Kathleen Ossip’s blurb on the back cover of Shane McCrae’s latest collection.  Terrance Hayes concurs with an accolade that sounds like an intersection of his own language and the author’s: “His disconcerting language tracks the estrangement and strangeness, the severance and severity of a Self seized by history.”

McCrae professes a poetics of capitalization and line breaks, where enjambments are not so much meant to amplify aesthetic quality and meaning-related complexity, but convey subversive messages and ensure survival while telling histories of massacre, abuse, and misfortune.

Some niggers isn’t and they is
Never gonna be and them I known
And I remember best
is niggers I seen dead             / Remember even
the breaths they was
always breathing

(“Heads”—“2. Captured and Returned to His Master”)

The “niggers” both exist and do not exist, as they (sort of apophatically) are beyond the ‘grammar’ of the establishment and they endure in ways that elude the masters’ control.  The enjambment transforms an auxiliary verb into a main one asserting existence (and they is/ Never gonna be) and then further assertion is hidden behind the capitalized “Never.”  Bad grammar and typography thus renders unexpected value to the language distorted and translated by rebellion and by the gasping breath of the chased slave—ontology (“they is”), knowledge (“I known”) and cultural heritage (“I remember best”) are thus established and fiercely defended under the nose of “the Master” with the latter’s tools.

            Slashes also play a shrewd role throughout the book.  In the quote above for instance the slash is placed ‘unnaturally’ far from the line break it feigns to accommodate, and acts like a hideout for the capitalized “Remember,” and for the way in which the slaves get “even” by never forgetting those who “was the breaths” of their culture.

In fact, McCrae accomplishes a lot with very few devices.  There is barely any description in the book yet the images (and the sounds) are unforgettable.  Complexity is reached by ellipsis, by clashing scenes, narratives, and voices, by speech that seems to be drowned out by other speeches, memories, and fears, but then resurfaces even stronger than before.  The poetry flux is a wave encountering particles of matter (of matter that matters, the one of life and death) and thus seems to be obnubilated, but actually nothing blocks it; in fact, it is exactly such brief (and horrific) episodes that render it perceptible.
Ranting, raging, rambling syncopated voices that seem to sound the same, cover in fact an impressive number of forms and styles—satire (“the silver [money] rattled as I ran it sounded like/ a chained dog jumping”), black (or rather cynic-horror) comedy (“he was barefoot in/ Shit when the white men found him     /[author’s slash] He stank so bad/ They couldn’t hang him didn’t want those feet/ over their heads// That’s why they burned him”), prophecy (“Our Savior comes disguised     /[author’s slash] Like a thief in the night/ […] down from the cross/ And he must set the cross on fire”), ballad/blues/farce (in “The Ballad of Cathay Williams William Cathay”), elegy (“Brother it keep us like a pond keep leaves/ from trees on the pond they/ Rotting in the thing they lived on/ […]/ Brother our father me and him / [author’s slash] That’s how it love/ keep us together”), etc, etc.

            The fragmentary epic seems to go full circle when in the last poem, the speaker sardonically acknowledges that “I thought// Who do I got to kill/ to get all the way free/ And it was     more people than it was/ alive in the world,” thus echoing as if from the other end of the world (and history) the oppressive image at the beginning of the book, with its ominous enjambment-puns: “The death in us was bigger than the life in us/
except for some of us     it seems like now/ And them the niggers got their heads cut off…”  The massacred rebels are still around (here and) “now,” moreover, they are the (atemporal?) here and now, they have become the matter history is made of (they are beheaded now and… them).  But if the victim, the enslaved, the exterminated want to be free (not to survive…), they’ll have to imagine a holocaust the world is not big enough for.  McCrae goes beyond the victim/victimizer overlap and reaches the negative (capability and) sublime of a poetry that, in order to be true, will have not only to account for but also reenact the endless horrors of his people’s history.

The characters’ confessions are truncated, contorted, distorted, stressed, compressed, pressed for time and space.  If it is an epic it is one of deeply subjective and incoherent voices that have no time or reverence neither for the ample Homeric meter and its circuitous rhetoric—the “niggers’ song” is not meant for ceremony or leisure—nor for the gluttonous Whitmanesque enumerations—since although they crave and recognize democracy (“The Yankees were/ Shaking hands” and calling the slaves by their names) they haven’t really enjoyed any justice or democracy yet.  The vision is not huge, but relentlessly ramified, not gigantic, but unstoppable.  That’s why—it gotta be continued…


Oct 4, 2013

MARGENTO--New GRAPH POEM Installment: Andriescu, bissett, Bowering, Marlatt, Militaru, Warland

From T h e   G r a p h   P o e m

Radu Andriescu

 bill bissett

Marilyn Bowering

Daphne Marlatt (photo by Jocelyn Mandryk)
Iulia Militaru 

Raluca Tanasescu

Betsy Warland

Martin Woodside

From T h e   G r a p h   P o e m

Featuring Poets/Translators:
Radu Andriescu, bill bissett, Marilyn Bowering, Daphne Marlatt, Iulia Militaru, Raluca Tanasescu, Betsy Warland, Martin Woodside

(With Announced Forthcoming Ramifications from David Baker, bill bissett, Osbern Bokenham, Iulia Militaru, and Radu Vancu)

(traducerile în limba română în josul paginii)

Radu Andriescu
Morning of the whale

Stamps of light shine over the water
Volatile water lilies.  From its concrete eye
the whale sprouting small metal spheres.
The cold blue benches around the pool
are empty, in the morning.  My two year old daughter, muffled
mirthful, scrambles around the campus[1]
whale.  Monochrome trams roll by
heading downtown, fissures the glazed silence
among the hostels.

Translated from the Romanian by Martin Woodside

Iulia Militaru

Dance 1
me and the sun are home, but where is his silence?  The dance of how I hover over you, over them. I commit murder, while he keeps writing impassively.
(one m
ore step o
ver t
he tw
oof u s)
How can you not understand these parts
Assemblaged by your daughter’s
Words as she runs in the dark[2]
On the concrete edges of the whale, here and now 

The woman gets a taste of spring.
My father loves our silence,
This thought shattered in voices. Listen.
I’m the sun of his son, the son of the sun.

(Who shall say I’m not, with all her dancing,
the happy genius of my household?)
(ast ep
in dan
sing ov
er l eav
es. Overy ou)
annihilate (yourselves) on this page.  The world murdered individually![3]  This very day let’s die again.  And then, just the steps we take over the father.

Translated from the Romanian by MARGENTO

Betsy Warland
Let me slip
(from Daphne Marlatt & Betsy Warland, Two Women in a Birth)

‘let me slip into something more comfortable’
she glides across the
lābi, to glide, to slip

(labile; lābilis:
labia; labialis)
la la la
‘my labyl mynde. . .’[4]
lābilis, labour, belabour, collaborate, elaborate[5]

‘The Hebrews named their letters, some guttural. . .  others dental. . . and so they call others, labial, that is letter of the lips’

slip of the tongue
‘the lability of innocence’        
labium ‘any of the four folds of tissue of the female external genitalia’
four corners of the earth
four gates of Eden
labia majora (the ‘greater lips’)
la la la
labia minora
(the ‘lesser lips’)
not two mouths but three!
slipping one over on polarity

slippage in the text
you & me collābi, (to slip together)
like notes in class[6]

o labilism o letter of the lips
o grafting of our slips

labile lovers
‘prone to undergo displacement in position or change in nature, form, chemical composition; unstable’

giving the one authoritative version the slip
graft, graphium, graphein, to write

slippery lines

thought is collaboration

Marilyn Bowering
an encounter with the 17th century Hebridean bard,
Mairi Macleod

1. Cauldron


When she wrote a song critical of one of the chiefs, she was banished to a west coast island. While she was exiled there, she composed another song.[7]

I am a cow    such a beautiful plaited

tail    A marvel comes out     two stresses
a rhyme    several verses

in the rear-end gait
(Moo)       of a cow (they say)

But how do I know   I must take
a bone flute and       blow through the holes

to make    music

Each time that I lick
and don’t bite     the bull face

the bull mind
I hear what    they think

Those heavy bulls   with their balls
do not know

They fuck     whatever lies down
or backs up

So I walk ahead    on my own and compose[8]

I am still a cow       in their minds
but in mine    there’s a poem[9]

God’s breath    in the grass
God’s hand    in the wind

and I’m not     just
not just    blinded with shit[10]

bill bissett
whn i first came to vankouvr

from halifax by way uv Duluth
thousands uv peopul wud swim on
english bay in th sun    now no wun duz
th sewrs go into th watr instead[11]

                        travelling thru wales it
occurd to me agen wher duz it go from
a train     on to th tracks evree wun sd
my doktor tol me cattul eet shit    thats
what the cows alongside th tracks dew ar
waiting for whn th trains pass

                     so on english bay in th
watrs we cud have cows diving    they
wud b watr cows    peopul wud b abul
to go into th watr agen n cud ride

th cows on th surf n out to th boats
or th universitee

                        i remembr a place in
nova scotia calld cow bay      that must
b wher th cows live

                                    iul go back
ther n bring th cows west

P o e m u l   g r a f

Poeți/traducători prezenți:
Radu Andriescu, bill bissett, Marilyn Bowering, Daphne Marlatt, Iulia Militaru, Raluca Tanasescu, Betsy Warland, Martin Woodside

(Cu viitoare ramificații anunțate – David Baker, bill bissett, Osbern Bokenham, Iulia Militaru și Radu Vancu)

Radu Andriescu
Dimineaţa balenei

Timbrele de lumină strălucesc deasupra apei.
Nuferi volatili. Din ochiul de beton
al balenei ţâşnesc mici sfere metalice.
Băncile albastre de frig din jurul bazinului
sunt goale, dimineaţa. Fetiţa mea de doi ani, înfofolită
în veselie, aleargă pe marginea balenei[12]
din campus. Tramvaiele rostogolite monocrom
spre centru fisurează poleiul de tăcere
dintre cămine.

Iulia Militaru

Dans 1
eu şi soarele în această casă, unde-i tăcerea lui? Dansul din plutirea mea deasupra ta, deasupra lor. Eu ucid,  el scrie liniştit mai departe.
un pas
te no
id  o i)
Cum nu înţelegi aceste piese
Laolată puse de cuvintele
Fetei tale ce aleargă-n umbră[13]
Pe marginea balenei, acum aici[14]

Femeia gustă din primăvară.
Tatăl meu iubeşte tăcerea noastră,
Gândul sfărâmat în voci. Ascultă.
I’m the sun of his son, the son of the sun.

(Who shall say I’m not, prin tot dansul ei,
the happy genius of my household?)
(un pa
sîn da
ns pe
ste foi. Vo
distrugeţi(-vă), pe-această pagină. Asasinare individuală a lumii![15] Chiar azi, din nou să murim. Apoi, doar paşii noştri deasupra tatălui.

Betsy Warland
Stai să-mi trag
(din Daphne Marlatt & Betsy Warland, Doua femei intr-o singura nastere)

– stai să-mi trag pe mine ceva mai confortabil,
                                    traversă ea lunecând
lābi, a glisa, a luneca

(labile; lābilis
labia; labialis)
                        la la la
„mintiea mia labilă. . .”[16]
lābilis, laborare, bălăcărare, colaborare, elaborare[17]

„Evreii și-au denumit literele – unele guturale. . . altele dentale. . . iar pe altele, labiale, adică litere din buze”

lapsus al limbii
                        „labilitatea inocenței”
labium „fiecare dintre cele patru pliuri de țesut ale organelor genitale feminine externe”
patru colțuri ale pământului
patru porți ale Edenului
                                    labia majora („buzele mai mari”)
                                    la la la
                                                labia minora
                                    („buzele mai mici”)
nu două guri ci trei!
una trăgând-o peste la polaritate

                        alunecare în text
tu & eu collābi, (a luneca împreună)
în labializare!   
ca notele de curs[18]

oh labilism oh din buze scrisori   
oh grefându-ne una pe-alta scăpări

îndrăgostiți labili
„predispus să-și modifice poziția sau să-și schimbe natura, forma ori compoziția chimică: instabil”

lăsând Ediția de referință cu buza umflată
grefă graphium graphein a scrie

                                    rânduri lunecoase

gândul e colaborare

traducere de Raluca & Chris Tanasescu (MARGENTO)

Marilyn Bowering
o întâlnire cu poeta-bardos de secol XVII din Insulele Hebride,
Mairi Macleod

1. Cuptor


Când a compus un cântec critic la adresa unuia dintre șefi, a fost exilată pe o insulă de pe coasta de vest.  În surghiun a compus un alt cântec[19].

Sunt o vacă       așa de frumoasă împletită

mi-e coada     O minune iese     două bătăi
o rimă     câteva versuri

din pasul legănat al dosului
(Muu)     de vacă (zice-se)

Dar de-unde să știu eu       îmi treb’e
fluierul de os      să-i suflu-n găuri

să fac     muzici

de câte ori ling
și nu mușc        fața de bou

mintea de bou
I-aud     ce gândesc

Grei boii ăia     cu coaiele alea
și n-au habar

Fut       tot ce zace
sau dă-ndărăt

așa că merg ’nainte       singură compun[20]

Sunt tot o vacă     în capul lor
dar într-al meu     e un poem[21]

suflarea Domnului     în iarbă
mâna Domnului      în vânt

și nu sunt      doar
nu doar     chiorâtă de căcat[22]

                                    traducere de MARGENTO

bill bissett
cnd am ajuns prima dat în vancuvr

din hali fax trecnd prn d lut
mii de ua men n o tau n
in gliș bei n soare              acu n mai e nime
s vars knali zăril n apă n locu lor

                        kl torind prin uei lz mia
tr cut iar prin kp un d s duce din
trun tren   pe și n au zs toț
doct rul mia sps k vi tl mnnk kkt    asta
fac vacil p lng klia f rată   
teap t s treak tr nu

            așa kn in gliș bei n
ap am putea aduce vaci s fak scufun dăr   ar
fi vaci d apă        ua men iar put ia
să in tren apă iar șarp utea k lari

vacil pe valur ș pn la bărci
sau pn la un versi tat

                        m iamint sc un loc n
nova scotia un golf cau bei        un d tre
bu s tr iasc vacil

                                    te ntorci
acol ș aduci vacil ncoa n vest

                                    Traducere de MARGENTO

[1] These last three lines are ramified by “How can you not understand these parts/ Assemblaged by your daughter’s/ Words as she runs in the dark/ On the concrete edges of the whale, here and now” in Iulia Militaru’s “Lucia. Dance 1”
[2] Daphne Marlatt and Betsy Warland, “Let me slip” from the longer sequence “Reading and Writing Between the Lines” in Two Women in a Birth
[3] Ramified by the “Do you think I could walk pleasantly and/ well-suited toward annihilation?line in the vertex “Simile” by David Baker in its turn ramified by “Ce-ti spune unul dintre mortii tai?” by Radu Vancu
[4] From Osbern Bokenham, Lives of Saints (translator’s note)
[5] This stanza ramifies the couplet “I am still a cow       in their minds/ but in mine    there’s a poem” from Marilyn Bowering’s “Threshold…” the first excerpt from “1. Cauldron”
[6] This stanza ramifies the lines “How can you not understand these parts/ Assemblaged by your daughter’s/ Words as she runs in the dark” from Iulia Militaru’s “Lucia. Dance 1”
[7] Tobar an Dualchais (Marilyn Bowering’s note)
[8] This line and the following couplet ramify the lines “I think this is a lousy pome,/ what do yu think, shit-head reader” from bill bissett’s “[either way, as if what yu decide]”
[9] This couplet is ramified by the stanza “(labile; lābilis:/ labia; labialis)/ la la la/ ‘my labyl mynde. . .’/ lābilis, labour, belabour, collaborate, elaborate” from “Let me slip” in the longer sequence “Reading and Writing between the Lines” by Daphne Marlatt and Betsy Warland
[10] Ramifies the lines “my doktor tol me cattul eet shit   that’s/ what th cows alongside th tracks dew  ar” in bill bissett’s “whn i first came to vankouvr”
[11] The last three lines ramify “and tried to make sense in this terrible world/ of all the hard life, always hard/  to live in a velvety sewer” from Iulia Militaru’s “No Language for Old Men”
[12] Aceste trei versuri sunt ramificate de fragmentul „Cum nu înțelegi aceste piese/ [...]/ Pe marginea balenei, acum aici” din Iulia Militaru, „Lucia. Dans I”
[13] Daphne Marlatt și Betsy Warland, „Stai să-mi trag” din ciclul „Citind și scriind printre rânduri”
[14] Ultimele patru versuri ramifică fragmentul de la „Băncile albastre de frig” la „marginea balenei” din „Dimineața balenei” de Radu Andriescu
[15] Ramificat aici de versurile „Crezi c-aș putea merge cu plăcere/ și la costum spre anihilare?” din „Comparație” de David Baker, la rândul lui ramificat de „Ce-ți spune unul dintre morții tăi” de Radu Vancu
[16] In original „my labyl mynde”, din Osbern Bokenham (Lives of Saints) (n. trad.)
[17] Această strofă ramifică versurile „Sunt tot o vacă     în capul lor/ dar într-al meu     e un poem” din „Pragul” – „1. Cuptor (fragment [Când a compus…])” de Marilyn Bowering
[18] Această strofă ramifică versurile „Cum nu înţelegi aceste piese/ Laolată puse de cuvintele/ Fetei tale ce aleargă-n umbră” din „Lucia. Dans 1” de Iulia Militaru
[19] Tobar an Dualchais (Nota lui Marilyn Bowering)
[20] Acest vers și distihul care îl succede ramifică versurile „eu cred că puiemul ăsta-i varză,/ tu ce crezi, cititor de căcat” din „[șașa, șașa, de parcă ce hotărăști]” de bill bissett
[21] Distih ramificat de Daphne Marlatt și Betsy Warland, „Stai să-mi trag” – „– „(labile; lābilis
labia; labialis)/ la la la/ „mintiea mia labilă. . ./ lābilis, laborare, bălăcărare, colaborare, elaborare” din ciclul „Citind și scriind printre rânduri”
[22] Acest cuplet ramifică versurile „ doct rul mia sps k vi tl mnnk kkt    asta/ fac vacil p lng klia f rată    aș” din nodul „cnd am ajuns prima dat în vancuvr” de bill bissett
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