Wednesday, January 27, 2010

HEART BADLY BURIED BY FIVE SHOVELS by Hugh Thomas



I'm really delighted by the first poetry chapbook that I've edited (and contributed visuals to) for the Supernova Tadpole Editions imprint with Jennifer Hill and Dan Waber's incredibly enthusiastic and lovely Paper Kite Press.

It is heart badly buried by five shovels, by New Brunswick (and Toronto?) writer Hugh Thomas. These poems feature Hugh's quirky incisive humour and lyricism which lives on the sharp edge between meaning and allusiveness. Many of them are homophonic translations from a variety of languages. All of them are in language which seems to have been written by the ocean as programmed by a computer or vice versa. Grammar and sense are a musical code, but it's a quantum harpsichord that's playing, perhaps in two places at once.


MISTAKEN ALBATROSS

The wind navigates the altered sea
straight to the albatross.
The name of the albatross is:
up, down, dance, fall.
Suspended from the sun,
it brushes the salt interface of the eye.
In the organism of sky and water,
the malfunctioning component.
On its great wings aloft,
a liberty which is a theft.
It is a statue of wind.

—Hugh Thomas


4"x4", 24 pages, $8 (includes shipping)
The book can be ordered from here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

An obsidian questian



a small island, a curling flame rising, obsidian in the ivory, a djinn hissing from the prison cave of its tittle.

an exclamation mark bent by the wind, a cupped hand seeking purchase on the sleek face of the page.

a streamer or the path of the kite and its flyer, the full stop and its single ear, the question mark is an attempt to pull something in, to connect by asking, the angler of grammar, certainty growing a single antler at sentence end. the question mark a sign referring to a thing outside of itself which itself refers to the sign itself, the sibilant phrasing like the surf surrounding the sand of the island which is but a black stone at the base of the sign.

the question mark is an ouroboros snake the moment before catching its own tail. it is an inverted nose, a one-eyed bass clef, a quest which turns back, questioning as a dog circles twice before sleep.

the pirate dances: a jazz hook oscillates, marking the interrogative spot in a thought map of thin air.

Friday, January 22, 2010

An Exclamation: a Subtle William for Christian Bök


WILLIAM SUBTELL: for Christian BöK


the single horn of the exclamation mark, the shadow of a unicorn surmounted by its long eburnean shadow, a distant comet and its swart trail

a flashing darkness riding through the bright forest

a finger raised to test the wind, a short then long dash, morse code aspiring upwards, exclaiming toward the sky.

is it an instruction: ‘exclaim here’, or a regret: ‘the word before, it would have been a good thing to fill with unbridled joy, or shouting’

the mark itself an exclamation, the midge of the full stop stretched out, a throat, a smear, a cone of explosion

a skid and then a sudden stop, long life short end or vice versa, a sundial gnomon and its black tongue painted by light

death’s favourite punctuation: the jot, a single moment, its long black robe fluttering behind, the letter of self, inverted

Friday, January 15, 2010

Music and Poetry: Wordtrack and Indonesian Football

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INDONESIAN FOOTBALL
A composition using diverse audio materials,
including Indonesian chant, Russian choral singing,
the sounds of a children's football game in rural Canada.



There’s a football field whose 55 yard line is the equator and whose goal posts are the North and South Poles. The field is scared. The field is brave. The field is the dark green of the night sky and the stars scrimmage in their constellations, hoping for a final goal outside of spacetime. The field weeps, the field makes macramé out of the air, the field opens itself to the weakest seasons, that spring that was frozen, that summer without fruit, the fall where the trees were whitecaps and the birds were nostalgic for limbs. The field blankets the shivering tectonic plates of feeling, and is tucked in by night. Morning is a breakfast of solar systems, dawn a sticky floor of footsteps. The field is a baby, skin stretched wide by chance, by the Zodiac, by matter, by breath. The football, spinning far above the field, is an egg from which the field was born.

*

The above short text was written as a wordtrack for the above posted composition.

*

Also, I direct you to NF Huth's interesting blog, Click, Buzz, Chirp of various recorded sounds. I was thinking about her recordings when I used my recording of my daughter's football game played out in the countryside outside of Hamilton near the town of Rockton.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Writing on the Wrong Side of the Wall: a collaboration with Geof Huth



Geof Huth and I began exchanging a little booklet back and forth through the mail. Geof wrote about it on his blog. Apparently (because we'll see how this develops) we are sending this little book back and forth between NY to Ontario and filling it with some kind of drawing. We began with what Geof terms 'fidgetglpyhs' though as I was working on my second set at a cafe, I was sorely tempted to dip the book into my decaf latte or paint it with coffee. A fidgetsponge. A glyphrag. The writing of a book as a process of osmosis. The text as capillary.

These little cards bound together with a single ring immediately appealed to me when I saw them in an airport store. Writing on these little tablets they become a deck of cards, an asemic Tarot, flash cards for an arithmetic without number, and with only the fingers to hold them up: countless fingers. The hand as a fleshy star. The grip as twinkle. They are paper teeth. The rectangular ribs of an as-of-yet non-breathing book.

I've posted some of our images. Ordering the images is part of the process, though now it is Geof's next move. In this non-semantic Rummy, he may reorder them. He may hide some of the images up his sleeve. The text may evolve from fidgetglyphs to texts, drawings, maps, dominoes or demonoes. They may begin to bruise colour (or in Geof's case, color.) On the back of the images, I have created some single word poems/images, but I'm not posting them. Part of the mail-art process of this is surprise, and I don't want to give everything away to Geof. The texts on the back can be reordering numerously. They are a subtext, a back text, the writing on the wrong side of the wall.

Monday, January 11, 2010

World, get out of my grille, which is a grille of words.

When I write, I see through to the world. I can write and see what is coming. I walk through the world and the world washes over me and my texts. My words are a sieve through which the future passes. Writing and the world are one. Seeing, walking, and writing are one. The internet, physical movement, looking, and communication are one. The world is the sign and the sign is the world. We look through our writing, we look through our technology and we see the world.

Here's the iPhone app that makes this possible:


Saturday, January 09, 2010

New Year's High Resolution an Uphill Email




A few days before the beginning of 2010, Nathaniel G. Moore, for an article for Open Book Toronto about writers' New Year's resolutions, asked me if I would send him my resolutions. I don't usually, in truth, make resolutions, but I had just been given an iPhone and I had, having receiving the email on a chairlift, and having skied down a few slopes and had time to think, a few minutes on a gondola at Mont Tremblant to write the following set of resolutions. Of course,if I'd had a few more runs, I might have thought of world peace, global warming, Omar Khadr, or being able to predict and head off Steven Harper's shockingly undemocratic proroguing of Parliament.

I resolve to, in this hi-res season, read more, review and write about others' work more, to start what I've finished, to punctuate more responsibly, to use vowels more impressively, and to be more of a lexiconaut, a verbivore, a librarian of the printless, a gargler of fonts, a masticator of silence, a chewer of the seen, a control s-er of the actual, a control w-er of the imagined. I want to be involved in more discussions about writing, ideas, about writers and ideals. I want to find a positive way to engage my iPhone-aphilia, my email breathing.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Is John Ashbery part of the universe that isn't Garfield?



THE SHOPPING CART OF THE NIGHT SKY; SOME ELLIPSES AFTER H

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P. Szren has created a Poemic Strip anthology. Poemic strips combine, according to PSzren, the arts of comics and poetry. Imagine the speech balloons of Charlie Brown coming from a thousand-headed John Ashbery while the part of the universe that isn't Garfield slowly embriars dark cherry like a Meershaum pipe smoked by spacetime's celestial and supercluster- toothed maw.

The authors in the anthology: ainur, A. Litowczak, Andy Martrich, Aurelia Milach, Daniela Gallardo Zderich, Gary Barwin, Jim Andrews, Jonny Gray, Lanny Quarles, Lucie Haškovcová, Márton Koppány, Neide Dias de Sá, Nina Roos, o. thomas, PSzren, saniismail, Satu Kaikkonen, telomateo, Tim Gaze, and Weronika Barott.

The anthology itself:


Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Shanti, my composition for choir, and the 'grannyness' of real life.



"Shanti": is a composition that I wrote for school choir. The text of Shanti is comprised of the words for peace in several languages, and the words "Come outside and see, how the world does shine." This is from a 'holiday' performance by two school choirs. I wrote the piece in order to have a seasonal piece that was more inclusive than the usual, though often lovely, Judeo-Christian songs choirs typically sing for such concerts.

Now, during this high resolution zone of New Year's, I note that, luckily, the resolution of this video is poor enough that one cannot make out the individual kids' faces, and so their privacy is protected; this also means that we get a lovely digital snow effect, perfect for the season. I'm also hoping that there is a certain low-res charm to the recording, a kind of early 21st century grainyness to both the sound and the images. I enjoy it in the way I enjoy the purple texture of Gestetners, the shiny grays of early photocopies, the palpable earthiness of cuniform tablets, the pixelation of 1980s computer graphics, and the out-of-focus, jittery nature of real life itself.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Objects in the Mirror / Death's favourite punctuation


OBJECTS IN THE MIRROR ARE MORE CAPITAL THAN THEY APPEAR


*

What is death's favourite punctuation mark?

An exclamation mark,
the jot, a single moment, its long black robe fluttering behind.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Ditch, anthology of innovative poetry



There is something graceful and elegant about turning virtual pages, a small digital wave flowing from one side of the screen to the other. Perhaps, better, a sine wave, rising and falling, silent and without the susurration of paper, but with its central shadowed valley, its darkened ditch where the digital pages take root in the imaginary binding.

John Goodman's fantastic "ditch," poetry website/journal has created ditch, anthology 1 (canadian innovative poets) which you can read through like a book in the glowing 2-dimensional/pretend 3-dimensional world of the computer screen.

The list of included poets is exciting and varied. Each gets several pages and a bio and picture. I'm really pleased to be included.

rob mclennan
Alessandro Porco
Todd Swift
David UU
Nathalie Stephens
Erín Moure
Jay MillAr
a.rawlings
Asher Ghaffar
Mark Truscott
Geoffrey Hlibchuk

Natalie Simpson
Jordan Scott
derek beaulieu
Daniel f. Bradley
Margaret Christakos
Jon Paul Fiorentino
Alice Burdick
Gary Barwin
Lynn Crosbie
gustave morin
Elizabeth Bachinsky

Louise Bak
Stephen Cain
Sean Moreland
Frances Kruk
Judith Copithorne
Natalie Zina Walschots
Marcus McCann
Meredith Quartermain
Camille Martin
Nathaniel G. Moore
f.ward (cover art)

Glyph hanger

Top of Mont Tremblant, Quebec
December 31, 2009