Monday, March 28, 2005

Erica Kaufman's Belladonna intro for HASSEN! 

Hi all, I loved Erica Kaufman's introduction to Hassen's Belladonna reading the other night at the Zinc Bar in NY that I asked her to please send it. After Hassen finished reading we were all pretty BLOWN AWAY! And I looked over at Kristen Gallagher sitting next to me, she quietly nodded her head and said, "Oh yeah, that introduction was right on!"

Damn straight it was! Anyway, below is the introduction, and BIG thanks to Erica for letting it be posted to the PhillySound page.

hassen writes poetry & fiction in the philadelphia area. poems can be found in frequency audio journal, nedge, skanky possum as well as with the phillysound poets for furniture press and online at mini-mag.com. chapbooks include sky journal: from land and sky journal: from sea as well as salem, forthcoming from belladonna.*

hassen’s poetics is a visual one, both on the page, in the mind, and out loud. while reading her chapbook, sky journal: from land, i am reminded of the great surrealist filmmaker, maya deren, and her short film "at land." deren is often remembered because of her "silent connection with the eyes" and the "juxtaposition of disparate spaces." in this film, the viewer follows deren through a myriad of spaces and rituals. "natural rhythms are reversed" as she travels through "anachronistic spaces."

in "before the world," hassen verbally creates the same sensation with lines like "it could break the blue" and "clocks were starfish." what one takes to be a normal environment or an unconscious human routine, suddenly becomes different. in sky journal: from land, hassen writes, "to measure/ electricity of transformation," and this feels like a voicing of this phenomena apparent in her work. things are changing, both words and images, and it is vibrant, trustworthy, rather than jarring.

in "tonight," she writes, "is this/ meditation or do you study your own images in me." and, again, the reader or listener is brought into a visual language, a language that is both "radically artistic," fluid, "and perhaps even transcendental." i heard hassen read her work out loud months before i never saw it on the page. a lot of the time when i enjoy work read aloud, i often do not like it on the page. but hassen’s balance between the tangible and the abstract, the verbal and the visual, makes for a poetics that maintains its omnipotence both out loud and on the page. this reminds me of her poem, "hysterical," where she writes, "my organs let you read them."

and, thank you for the privilege.

please welcome hassen.

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