surplus

Violet Energy Ingots

Violet_Energy_Ingots_SC_for_website_largeOpening transcendent portals outside of culture and time through which the divine might speak, the oracle of antiquity was called upon for advice on urgent matters ranging from the public sphere of politics, war, crime, and duty to the private realm of personal concerns. Delivering messages while frequently in a trance, the oracles answers were often ambiguous; operating outside of rationality and valued for this very fact, the question and answer exchange thus embodied a unique and productive tension between the quotidian and the extra-ordinary.Introducing Hoa Nguyen at a Poets House reading this June, Stephen Motika called her work “oracular,” a descriptor immediately resonant with Violet Energy Ingots, Nguyens latest book, for the way it addresses the urgency of the contemporary political and cultural moment through a range of registersquotidian, fierce, enigmatic, imagistic, conversationalin a lyrical, fragmentary, and,… read the full review »

 

Correspondences

correspondences - final - cover_page_1“Tantra is marked by its difficulty,” Nisha Ramayya states in the opening “Notes on Tantra” section of Correspondences, a twenty-six page pamphlet of poetry, micro-essays, notes, and images. The principle structure of the book follows tantras ritual structure: divided into ten sections, with two additional postscripts and a bibliography, its rich combination of critical enquiry, photographs of Ramayyas own ritual practice, and lyrical, often surreal poetry, draws the reader into an investigation of devotion, language, and uncertainty.***Knowing nothing of tantra, to write this review is to write out of ignorance. The date is January 20th, 2017. The pen is heavy; the body hard to lift. It is a day of willing myself to move and of speaking back to many voices of doubt. How can I review something I know nothing about? What arrogance, I… read the full review »

 

Trouble the Water

TroubletheWater_FinalFront_largeIm fascinated by the adjective inhuman. Applied to non-human subjects, it is redundant; applied to human ones, it is false by definition. Its the tautology of how a thing is never more or less than itself that guarantees the falsehood. Nothing that is human can be inhuman. And yet even if you resist the most grotesque and oppressive instances of how weve applied the term inhuman (just think of the crimes humans justify against other humans thereby), its difficult to deny the temptation to describe human things as more human or less human, even though I know perfectly well how treacherous this can be.Part of this is just the inevitable consequence of defining things, but part of it is also the desire to preserve the value of some attributes by either affording them a special status or denying that status… read the full review »

 

Archeophonics

ArcheophonicsThe poems in Peter Gizzis most recent book, Archeophonics, operate as an homage to sounds as in the title poem that celebrates echoes, repetitions, and other poems, the archive in the mouth:

Im saying this and its saying meThats how it works, seesaw likeThe archive in the mouth and the archive is on fireThats the storyThe sun and the body and the body in the sun

A trajectory runs through the whole from poems of despair and loss to those of revival as the old language / continues its dialogues / in ordinary dust. The book directly raises questions of how one is to go about the writing of poetry given the collapse of language and the self, as in an initiating quotation from Rimbaud: For todays tourist, orientation is impossible. The first section presents a speaker who is… read the full review »

 

The Most Foreign Country

MostForiegnCountry_Cover.inddIn early 2017 Ugly Duckling Presse will release for the first time in English Alejandra Pizarniks debut collection, The Most Foreign Country, translated by Yvette Siegert. First published in 1955 when Pizarnik was 19, she was later to renounce the book, which remained all but buried, even in Argentina, until it was reprinted in Poesia completa, published in 2000, 28 years after her death. This first book begins precociously self-aware with an epigraph by Rimbaud on adolescence: Ah! the infinite egotism of adolescence, the studious optimism: how the world was full of flowers that summer! Airs and forms dying… and moves into 24 associative poems that demonstrate the influence Pizarniks early work takes from automatic writing. After these poems a suite of six fairly conventional love poems under the section title A Sign Upon Your Shadow conclude the book,… read the full review »