Friday, September 30, 2011

3 Words: New chapbook by NF Huth




3 Words by NF Huth!

now available from serif of nottingham!

a new chapbook featuring 9 brand new poems!

your choice of three colours!

only $5 Cdn!

contact me and it can be yours!

here's a poem from the book


When If And

She throws out the dishwater that is still hot.
She throws out the dishwater that is still hot enough to use.
She uses cold instead.
She washes the dishes in cold water.

She rests on a chair that is not cloth.
She rests on a chair that is not cloth but that is wiped easily.
She sits on a vinyl chair.
She wiggles on a vinyl chair that is easy to clean.

She questions the sound from the hall.
She questions the sound from the hall that is rain but not.
She wonders if it’s wet.
She hears the wet rain that is a cough from the door.

Most words begin with B.
Words that flesh out thoughts begin with bees.
Bees are not inside with us.
Words that used to swarm land on the armchair.

Her eyes follow the swarm heavy with rain.
When silence swarms she fills the space between.
Silence is never filled.
Rain heavies the bees. They swell and drop from her mouth.

The clock signals some ends with sound.
A final sound is a puddle of bees ticking on the floor.
Her meter is bursts of three.
Her meter makes constant ends.


Railroad Song: I've been working just past where I know






WORK SONG

I’ve been working on the yellow road
Trying to live long all day.

I’ve been working on the green road
And time just passes away.

I’ve been hauling on the blood red road
Don’t you hear our bones rattling?

I’ve been working on the bruise blue road
Rise up & begin earning in the morning.

I’ve been assembling on the pale white road
Don’t you hear the shouting of ‘heroes’?

I’ve been working the coal-black road
Someone came to the diner I know.

I’ve been struggling on the burnt purple road
Living large all day.

I’ve been working the orange red road
Just past where I know.

I’ve been gasping on the grey road
And I’d be happy to give it away.

I’ve been working the dusty pink road
Wish Charlie Parker would blow his horn.

I’ve been watching the wide whale road
Someone’s likely in the kitchen shucking corn.

I’ve been carrying on the lost yellow road
Invisible way before dawn

I’ve been working on the dirty brown road
And time passes where once were locomotives.

‘Cause I've been working
All day.

I've been working
In time.

Don't you hear the whistle?
Don't you hear the captain?

For I’ve been working
All day.


__________________________
from a bumpHEAD multimedia performance. The video played behind our performance which consisted of spoken text, saxophone, bass, and guitar.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Parenthesis (


1.

(the parenthesis is your
needs answered
it is your field which you sow
with love and reap with thanksgiving
the parenthesis is your board
and your fireside
for you come to a parenthesis
with your hunger, and you
seek it for peace)

2.

(the parenthesis is your
belief in manifestations of
needs answered
the spirits of the dead
it is your field which you sow
solitary essences that haunt
with love and reap with thanksgiving
particular locations, objects, and people
the parenthesis is your board
with which it was associated with in life
and your fireside though stories of
phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships
for you come to a parenthesis
and even ghost animals
with your hunger and you
have also been recounted
seek it for peace)

3.


(the parenthesis is your
roadside, a marker that commemorates
a belief in manifestations of
a site where a person died
suddenly and unexpectedly
needs answered
away from home
the spirits of the dead
unlike a grave site headstone
it is your field which you sow
which marks where a body is laid
solitary essences that haunt
the memorial marks
the last place on earth
with love and reap with thanksgiving
where a person was alive
particular locations, objects, people
the parenthesis is your board
travelers often buried where they fell
by family members or friends
of the person who died
and by your fireside stories of
a bunch of flowers, real or plastic
phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships
taped to street furniture or a tree trunk
for you come to a parenthesis
a handwritten message, a personal memento
which may be included
and even ghost animals
a more sophisticated memorial
may be your hunger and you
have also been recounted
a cross or a plaque
seek it for peace
wreaths)

4.


(the parenthesis is your
can you get over here
do you need the police or fire or ambulance or
roadside a marker that commemorates
a belief in manifestations of
it’s important
what do you need the police or ambulance
a site where a person died
uh, somebody’s going to die
do you need the police or ambulance
suddenly and unexpectedly
needs answered
just fuckin’ get over here
what’s going on?
away from home
the spirits of the dead
an ambulance
do you need an ambulance or fire
unlike a grave site headstone
it is your field which you sow
send someone
do you need an ambulance there
which marks where a body is laid
solitary essences that haunt
yeah where are you
(address omitted) and the phone number you’re calling from?
the memorial marks
the last place on earth
I don’t know get over here please
what’s going on
with love and reap with thanksgiving
where a person was alive
get over here
tell me what’s going on
particular locations, objects, people
the parenthesis is your board
someone’s holding me hostage
holding you hostage
travelers often buried where they fell
by family members or friends
yeah get over here
are you injured
of the person who died
and by your fireside stories of
he’s injured
injured what happened
a bunch of flowers, real or plastic
phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships
I had to stab him
how old is he
taped to street furniture or a tree trunk
for you come to a parenthesis
don’t know, get over here he’s gonna die
yes a handwritten message, a personal memento
which may be included
hello even ghost animals
do you have any information
a more sophisticated memorial
that’s all I have
maybe your hunger and you
but we’ll send somebody
okay have also been recounted
a cross or a plaque
okay seek it for peace
wreaths
are you there?)



Tuesday, September 20, 2011

We Emersongency Celebrate




Exploring interleaving source texts and translation software. I particularly like 'we emergency celebrate the good with you' and 'I'm still proud of them who respect us.'

I find my writing life busy with writing a novel, writing poems using 'old school' techniques -- extracting them like a magician's coloured hankerchief from my fingertips, writing poems using various exploratory (at least for me) processes such as the example below, and creating short stories, both with and without any forethought. A variety of ways of editing the previous types of writing, including the radical edit: deleting the whole thing and forgetting about it. Some engagement with posting the work here on this blog. Perhaps linking with Facebook. Occasionally reading one of these explorations publicly. Aiming for a multiplicity of ways of creating, continuing, remaining energized, following through on hunches, plans, and suspicions.


POPLAR

we have a lot
but do not blame

the child is good
but nothing to talk about

who is the boss
who advocated all this

his body swaying like the wind
now snow

his second home
the entire human family

in the narrow part of the universal
with immersed parts of love

how many people face the snow?
I’m still proud of them who respect us

this snow reads

wandering eye beams


we see a lot of outside
we emergency celebrate the good with you



Friday, September 16, 2011

Some of my upcoming events




Saturday, September 17, 8pm  
Somewhere There, Toronto
Gary Barwin (reeds & text) with Arthur Bull, guitar, Nicole Rampersaud: trumpet Tena Palmer: voice Bob Vespaziani, percussion, David Lee: double bass.
227 Sterling Road,
Unit 112,
Toronto

October 6-9
Nyhil International Poetry Festival,
Reykjavik, Iceland

Friday, Oct 21, 8pm  
Harbourfront International Festival of Authors
Gary Barwin reading with Jennifer Haigh, Colson Whitehead, and Sarah Winman. Becky Toyne hosts.
Lakeside Terrace,
Harbourfront
Toronto.

Sunday, Oct 23, 2 pm  
Harbourfront International Festival of Authors
Authors Gary Barwin, Joe Dunthorne, Souvankham Thammavongsa,and Alexi Zentner. Kyle Buckley hosts.
Studio Theatre, Harbourfront,
Toronto

Wednesday, Nov 2 , 8pm 
Pivot in Toronto
Gary Barwin with Aisha Sasha John and Gregory Betts
The Press Club,
850 Dundas W.
Toronto

Thursday, Nov 10 8pm 
Toronto Franzlations book launch
Gary Barwin & Hugh Thomas
The Ossington
61 Ossington Ave
Toronto

Sunday, Nov 13, 2pm
Hamilton Franzlations book launch
Gary Barwin and Hugh Thomas
Bryan Prince Bookseller
1060 King St .W.
Toronto

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Forgive me...

I'm reposting this from about five years ago as I was thinking about it for a scene in my novel where my 14-year old protagonist in Medieval Spain considers the Jewish 'Day of Atonement.'

Tomorrow night begins the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement. It's a time to 'atone' for one's trangressions. It would be like an all-day once-a-year Catholic confession, except that you don't confess to anyone, but acknowledge within yourself the deeds that you wish to atone for. I really like the opening service (Kol Nidrei) mostly for its seriousness and the solemn beauty of the music/chanting. I don't resonate with the idea of asking for forgiveness before God, but acknowledge that it is a healthy thing to take stock of one's deeds of the past year and consider them in a reflective light.

In the last couple of days, a book appeared in our downstairs bathroom. I guess my eldest son put it there. I recognized it as one of the books that I stole when I was about 14 from people whose kids I was babysitting. There are four books I remember stealing when I was a young teenager. To wit:

1. The Existential Imagination. A great anthology of short stories, including work by Kafka and Beckett.
2. Psychoanalysis and the Existential Imagination.
3. & 4. The Collection Works of Shakespeare (two volume edition). This I especially liked because of the etching of a pastoral English scene on the front, all those puffy clouds, stone buildings, and rivers running through millwheels.

From almost thirty years after the event, its fascinating my choice to steal these books. Firstly, it reveals that I was a strangely precocious, nerdy, and serious 14-year old. I also remember buying Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite on cassette using a handful of silver dollars. Secondly, the idea of stealing two books on existentialism is mesmerizingly ironic. It begs the question of how I conceived of my personal moral code. I do remember thinking of all those books in these houses as a beguiling array of worlds of thought and fiction for me to discover. As far as I recall, I didn't steal anything else from any other houses. Once I did try a drink of "mead" from a bottle. Again, that was because it seemed so redolent an entry into another world, mead recalling to me probably the same time in England that the Shakespeare illustrations did. If a kid stole a book from my shelves, would I be upset?

 ABSOLVO MIHI


tree forgive me
shoehorn forgive me
five forgive me
blue sky forgive me

forgive noun
forgive verb
forgive tonsillectomy of sky

replace my bones with words
& walk

replace sounds with sky

moon
fungi
mouth

raingear when the rain
has stopped falling
the lawns of barbershops
choirs of hidden deer
the war of the day
an amnesty of quiet

Sunday, September 11, 2011

After Aristotle and Nietzsche on 9/11

I've been working on a suite/collection of poems circling around the expression of/exhortation to compassion, empathy, and kindness & how it is both simple and extremely problematic to express such concepts and how even the concept itself is both simple and complex and can be difficult to meaningful frame. I thought that this small text might be appropriate to post today as many people approach 9/11 and what it might mean to them and the culture.

CANTO 

O enemy my enemies there is no
is no friend O my friends there
O my enemy enemies there is no
no friend O my friends there is
O my enemies there enemy is no
friend O my friends there is no
O my enemies there is enemy no
O my friends there is no

friend my O friends there is no
is no enemy O my enemies there
O my friend friends there is no
no enemy O my enemies there is
O my friends there friend is no
enemy O my enemies there is no
O my friends there is friend no
O my enemies there is no 


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Ungendered third person singular pronoun / The Shimmy of Shadrack


When will the English language adapt? When will it adapt and create an ungendered third person singular pronoun? I lie awake nights thinking. He lies awake night thinking. Someone was in my bed. They couldn't sleep. He/she tossed and turned. Her mouth longed for an ungendered third person singular pronoun. Someone slept until he was refreshed. We changed the language and then had breakfast, each of us with her preferred choice of grapefruit.



THE SHIMMY OF SHADRACK

1.

man was in my office crying
didn’t understand irony
I worried

about mucus
I told myself
keep typing

eventually I gave him a tissue
thank you, he said
keep typing

the shimmy of Shadrack is
the shelf of my broiling gate squeezer
he said

but he wept with such fury
I might not have understood
one day all this will be over

an appropriate metaphor will sail
as we all wish it to sail
and even this man will be joyful

2.

each man is a great tweezer
broiling on a shelf

Shadrack you shimmy
when others are girt with grief

I look at a squirrel
it looks back at me

are we really so different?
he with cute nose

me with nostrils
worn with flair

do animals cry?
Internet says

animals do not cry
as humans do

but produce tears
necessary for

healthy eyes
(follow the link)

the salt creates
osmotic balance

why don’t you cry, animals?
what is the metaphor?

Friday, September 02, 2011

Preview of my latest book: Franzlations.




My latest book is due out from New Star next month. The above is an almost finished draft of the cover, designed by Craig Conley who also did the images. The book has his brilliant images on every page. He also designed the book. My other collaborator on this was Hugh Thomas, who is one of my absolute favourite poets. I'm thrilled to have been able to collaborate with them on this. I know my good friend, Franz, was too,

Here's something about the book.

Franzlations takes the parables and aphorisms of Kafka as a starting point, and steps a few places to the left in order to reinvent them. Sometimes this means walking off a cliff and into the empty air. (Don't look down!) Sometimes this means keeping the cage and replacing the bird. For of course, Kafka's writing is a rich source of ideas, play, structure, and wit. It looks like the real world, but in the way the bootstrap that one pulls oneself up with looks like a real bootstrap.
It is said that if Kafka had not existed, Kafka would have had to invent him. But since he did exist, Franzlations has invented an imaginary Kafka so that he could help create the Kafka that was already there. Perhaps it was that. Kafka who helped create these imaginary parables.
This, itself, is a parable.