Friday, February 25, 2011

Akilah Oliver 1961-2011 

I'd like to find a way to honor Akilah Oliver, someone I've had the good fortune to know in the past few years. I'm sad that I'll never see Akilah at the Project or share drinks at the Grassroots Tavern again. But her courageous openness & unflinching approach to the many kinds of love will continue on through her memory & her work. Make some time for Akilah Oliver & check out her readings on PENNSOUND.

- Frank Sherlock

Monday, February 21, 2011

This is what's called a "poetry doubleheader" 

Thursday, March 3 is a great day for poetry and Philadelphia!

Come celebrate with readings at Penn Book Center and Kelly Writers House!

6 pm
The Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street

8 pm
whenever we feel like it
Kelly Writers House
3805 Locust Walk

Jena Osman is a poet and scholar who teaches at Temple University. Her latest book is The Network, published by Fence Books in 2010. Her other books of poetry include Essay in Asterisks (Roof, 2004), The Character (Beacon, 1999 and winner of the 1998 Barnard New Women Poets Prize) and Amblyopia (Avenue B, 1993). With Juliana Spahr, she is the editor of the award-winning and internationally recognized literary magazine Chain.

Emily Abendroth currently lives and works in Philadelphia, where she co-curates the Moles Not Molar Reading & Performance Series. Recent work of hers can be found in Digital Artifact, Encyclopedia, How2, Pocket Myths, horseless review, Eco-poetics, and Cut & Paint. Her chapbook, Toward Eadward Forward , is available from horse less press, and a lengthy excerpt from her book-length work-in-progress "Muzzle Blast Dander" can be found in Refuge/Refugee (Volume 3 of the Chain Link book series). She is currently piecing her
way through some writing and thinking and collaborative reflection/action on solitary confinement practices in U.S. prisons.

Elizabeth Robinson's most recent books are The Orphan & its Relations (Fence) and Also Known As (Apogee). Three Novels, a collection of poetry, is forthcoming this year from Omnidawn. Robinson has been a recipient of grants from the Fund for Poetry and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. She co-edits EtherDome Chapbooks and Instance Press. With Jennifer Phelps, she is also co-editing an essay collection, Quo Anima, on contemporary women poets and spirituality.

The Collage Poems of Drafts (just published in 2011) and Pitch: Drafts 77-95 (2010) are the newest poetry books by Rachel Blau DuPlessis from Salt Publishing. She is a poet-critic whose other works include The Pink Guitar and Blue Studios. Forthcoming from Iowa is Purple Passages: Patriarchal Poetry and its Ends.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

that "torn sound" - some echoes 

I was moved by Cecilia Vicuña’s film Kon Kon, which I watched at the Kelly Writers House a couple of weeks ago. In some ways the film echoed Nathaniel Mackey’s reading two days earlier, in the same room, and has had me thinking more about ritual—knowledge is ritual, Vicuña said in the q & a that followed the film—as resistance to that which conditions us to accept and perpetuate the destruction of our world, to forget history (that is, our rootedness to the land we live on). Their ideas are echoing for me Conrad’s (Soma)tic exercises and workshops, too.

Below is the trailer for Kon Kon and a kind of poetics braid I made from Mackey’s preface to Splay Anthem, Vicuña’s words about the origins of poetry, and words from Lewis Warsh from an interview by Daniel Kane in a book called What is Poetry. Mackey’s and Warsh’s voices have been circling in my mind for the last few years, echoing each other somehow, and now there’s Vicuña’s. I weaved it like this: Mackey, Warsh, Vicuña, Mackey, Warsh, Vicuña, etc, but really it begins with Vicuña’s poem we hear at the end of the trailer:

To poeticize or sing is to talk like a bird, a way with words and sound given rise to by a break in social relations, a denial of kinship and social sustenance, as if the break were a whistling fissure, an opening blown on like a flute.

No one knows how anyone actually thinks about anything.

Kon, or Con, is perhaps the most ancient creator god or goddess of the Andes. Associated with water as a life-giving force, the name predates the alphabet.

. . . the imperial, flailing republic of Nub the United States has become, planet Nub . . . a regime of echo the poem’s recourse to echo would cure homeopathically if it could. The long odds against that are enough to induce an exasperated scat or an incipient stutter or a lapse into baby talk (Nuh) . . . bird talk, talk by birds and for the birds . . .

It’s like I’m stumbling around in the dark, looking for someone who isn’t there.

In Mapudungun, a native language of Chile, the words “Co” and “Con” mean water and embody the concept of the sacredness of the cycle of water—from glacier to ocean, to river and cloud—in that language, repetitions such as Con Con are linguistic mirror structures used to intensify meaning.

Steven Feld relates a story the Kaluli (of Papua New Guinea) tell regarding the origin of poetry and music, the myth of the boy who became a muni bird, a kind of fruitdove with a bright purple red beak. The boy turns into a muni bird, and resorts to its cry when his older sister denies him food, a semi-sung, semi-wept complaint the Kaluli identify as the origin and essence of music and poetic language.

The blank page on which one writes one’s poem is a stand-in for the person who isn’t there.

Geoglyphs of looms and spiders are prayers for water. Threads are flowing water. Through threads people speak to the dead.


For more about Vicuña’s film, go here. Read more about the water god Kon here.

To read a great little story Brandon Holmquest tells about explaining Cecilia Vicuña’s book V to some cops who were pestering him, go here.

-- Ryan Eckes

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

poetry to music 

The amazing Chris Vaisvil set my poem "Say it with green paint..." to music. He's great! You can listen at THIS LINK, THANK YOU CHRIS!

Monday, February 07, 2011

PhillySound & Maggy Magazine EVENT! 

for the

Maggy Magazine

Jose Pistolas
263 S. 15th St.

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