PUSHING WATER: The Scaffolds
Pushing Water: The Scaffolds, by Charles Alexander. Poetry. $18.
A chapbook of 16 pages that continues the long poem Pushing Water, which has appeared in previous volumes published by Junction Press, Cuneiform Press and Singing Horse Press, with another volume forthcoming from Cuneiform Press. The poem’s latest published section is part of the dusie kollektiv “dusie 9” project, honoring Marthe Reed. The chapbook is digitally printed, with rubber-stamped titling on covers of Samuel French blue paper.
From the notes at the end of the book: “Conversations with Marthe Reed were always searching, and useful, while also rich with laughter, smiles, and concern — for the planet, for the people, for everything. It was a pleasure and an honor to know her, and to participate in this Dusie project to attest to Marthe’s wonder and how she passes it on to others. In addition to the book’s dedication to Marthe, I also wish to dedicate it to my partner, Cynthia Miller, and to my daughters, Kate Alexander and Nora Alexander. If there are lights circulating in the waters, to me, Cynthia, Kate, and Nora are the luminaries.”
For Instance, by Eli Goldblatt
For Instance, by Eli Goldblatt. Poetry. ISBN 978-1-946104-16-8. 114 pages.
Reproductions from woodcut prints by Wendy Osterweil and drawings by Michael Moore.
In a sentence, the phrase “for instance” follows an assertion or argument, and precedes a series of examples. Eli Goldblatt gives us myriad examples unconnected to a thesis, except insofar as the thesis asserts what is. This is a world composed of bombings, wars, bad history, framed in a private space of family, garden and dream-work (which often takes us back to all the bad histories). In a larger sense, the book is an elegy—for his dear friend Gil Ott, and for a world where fascists lose. But “even in Barcelona, Franco won.” “War grows” in the poet’s mind, erupting in museums and in his son, who “emerges into the sunlight stabbing, punching, blasting his enemies.” Words are like tattoos; they scar. The poet craves “a language beyond all this talk, / words erupting beneath words that evict / or seduce, dominate or sell.” Goldblatt’s book offers a public and private MRI; we do not yet have the results, so we can only hope for the best. Our best consolation may be that we have this map of one poet’s decency and care.
— Susan M. Schultz
Reading Eli Goldblatt’s For Instance provides delights of a kind one can hope for, sometimes even expect, but never predict. In this copious and wide-ranging new collection, Goldblatt writes from within a closely attuned, deeply committed attention to that dance of limits & potentialities we call daily experience. Where there is a wall or other obstruction, his words seek a gap or to create the gap – space that leads through. Miraculously, it is precisely the light on the other side, the light he will find, that illuminates Goldblatt’s search. At the same time, a constituent gravity shapes the poems of this book; their articulations offer the possibility for – but they also demand – the close embrace of re-reading. Here is a book for time, one to return to and discover its moment renewed again and again.
— Tom Mandel
Since I Moved In, by Trace Peterson
SINCE I MOVED IN, by Trace Peterson. Poetry / Transgender Studies. ISBN 978-1-946104-15-1.
A new & revised edition of the classic book by pathbreaking poet & cultural critic Trace Peterson. This edition contains a new Introduction by Joy Ladin.
The second edition of Trace Peterson’s Since I Moved In is a welcome re-issue, with a new introduction by Joy Ladin, of a landmark collection of poems by one of the most influential transgender poets writing today. Peterson, enacting her self-chosen name, traces connections and lines of flight between genders, between creative expression and acute observation, between her grounding and training in Tucson’s celebrated poetry scene and her on-going involvement in New York’s. Trace is an imperative, as well as a noun, and a name. It means to write over, as well as a faint remainder. Animated by the space of that double signification, and by the practice of making new life through transcribing an old life into a new register, Trace Peterson’s poetry — in life and in words — gives voice to something raw, inchoate, in-process-of-becoming. —Susan Stryker
These are the daring adventures of the voice, the voice that wants to be a body, and had no way to be a body in and for itself when this book was written: this book is maybe the first book of poetry in which I saw my own trans experience written and comprehensibly embodied, not allegorically or across a gap of anachronisms but as it is, as it was at the very same time. This is the voice that kept secrets from itself, that knows what it’s like to keep a secret and wonder whether it was never a secret; the voice, too, that knows how troubling it feels to be a voice, to be nothing other than voice, among readers and listeners who claim, in that early-2000s way, to hate voice (because they cannot hear their own). There is a Hartford in her heart, “no broken glass in it,” though “the map is not the map,” and alongside it there lurks, or flourishes, an “inability to be where I am.” This is a voice that sees: that sees “the boys at / lavender the girls in show,” a voice of experiment, a voice “wearing your socks.” I recommend it to anyone like me, and also to people who are nothing like me, who want to know how it has been. — Stephanie Burt
Hopeful Buildings by Charles Alexander
“This book collects six works, different from each other in many respects, but all moving with a strong investigative force. Thinking is the experience of everyday living, and Charles Alexander's work is a poetry of thinking. But it is experience, not difficulty, that wonderfully complicates these poems and brings them very close. I hope many people will read HOPEFUL BUILDINGS and take great pleasure both in its detail and in the larger construct that the details, perceived, provide. I do”—Lyn Hejinian
The Long White Cloud of Unknowing by Lisa Samuels
THE LONG WHITE CLOUD OF UNKNOWING
Library of Congress Control Number: 2019943662
118 pages. Poetry. Published 09/15/2019
A woman with a suitcase of meat waits in a room for one day and into the night. Inside the room, language surrounds her. What is the stone phone, what images anchor her sentence? As heresy and authority intensify, she readies to open the door.
How can we come to know — to truly experience — place, presence, and time’s own embodiment in us: what earlier writers have called “the divine”? In the quiet power of Lisa Samuels’s vocalized listening across languages and via bodies, we too are a listening body, a body in absorption and expulsion, attentive in the thinking, pause, and query of a day in a woman’s life. Spanish French Māori Latin all course thru the mind of the one thinking in English, whose rich linguistic inner life we inhabit and move in as if it were a spacesuit we don to float in atmospheres otherwise inaccessible to us. In this language, this unknowing cloud full of knowledges, relations, worldly resonances, we are held. The Long White Cloud of Unknowing captivates utterly.
— Erín Moure
Io’s Song by Murat Nemet-Nejat
IO’S SONG, by Murat Nemet-Nejat
Library of Congress Control Number:2019943807
Io’s Song is poem, energy field, myth, and autobiographical essay. It is “signatures’ colors.”
As the author states near the end of the work,
Myth is not a narrative applied, but dis-covered. The narrative that emanates against our will revealing ITSELF, A VIOLENT LIGHT that descends and leaves. Every myth is an arrival and escape, departure which in truth is death. This is due to the nature of words, their will to metamorphoze themselves from meaning to meaning, AS BEEING, crossing boundaries across human will, human reason or human culture, seeing ourselves thru the mirror of language as a reflection, willess, bobbing on the alien surface (façade) of words, ceding to insanity to plumb its depths.
Towards a Menagerie by David Miller
Towards a Menagerie. isbn 978-1-946104-17-5. Short Fiction. 136 pages.
by David Miller
These are children’s stories for adults, you could say… and they have the sort of quirkiness, humour and wisdom that might be expected from such an enterprise. Read… and enjoy.
Miller is a conjurer of narrative, pulling not rabbits but marsupial mouse, flamingo and others out of the hat or from behind the reader’s ear. Said ear takes delight in the adventures of this intrepid gang. The animals have a hard time but they come through. As does the reader, entertained, educated and re-humanised by this encounter with the Other.
(Anthony Rudolf, from the Afterword)
This is a book for dreamers and those who can still summon up what WH Hudson called the animism of childhood, or delight in Buddhist Jataka Tales and Beatrix Potter, Kipling and Calvino’s Invisible Cities. The living world speaks to us. One of my favorite characters is Antechinus — the pouched mouse (marsupial, really) of Miller’s Australian homeland — a fine example of convergent evolution. Throughout his career, David Miller has been drawing the unlikely worlds together in crystalline structures. You want to look forever; you learn what lucid means.”
In Towards a Menagerie, David Miller (Spiritual Letters), that versatile polymath, hooks up Kenji Miyazawa with Ub Iwerks—and Ovid!