Charles Whalley’s essay on post-internet poetics ‘This has been a blue / green message exiting the social world’ takes its title from a Sam Riviere poem, which makes me imagine ‘blue / green’ text messages bubbling like algae blooms on a mobile phone.
‘The atomic landscape … does not allow me to rest’: Kurihara Sadako and the Hibakusha Poet as Public Intellectual
The 70th anniversary of the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima was marked by a solemn ceremony in the Hiroshima Peace Park on 6 August, 2015. I formed part of the 40,000 strong crowd, pausing at 8.15 am while the peace bell tolled to mark the dawning of the nuclear age. On that day, the anti-nuclear sentiments the anniversary spawned were complicated and compromised by politics.
In mid-August I was in Adelaide to read poetry with Kent MacCarter and others as a guest of Ken Bolton’s ‘Lee Marvin Readings’ series at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation. Over a couple of days, Kent, Ken and I had some expansive conversations including one about how much we loved various works by Michel Butor, the great French experimental writer. Just over a week later we heard the sad news that Michel Butor had died on 24 August, 2016 at the age of 89.
The Many Lives of a Handscroll: Inspired by Zhai Yongming’s ‘Ambling along the Fuchun Mountains with Huang Gongwang’
Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains is a handscroll by the Taoist painter Huang Gongwang from the Yuan Dynasty. It is now acclaimed as one of the ten masterpieces of Chinese painting. Inspired by Huang’s work, the renowned Chinese poet Zhai Yongming published her latest collection Ambling along the Fuchun Mountains with Huang Gongwang in 2015. Chen Si’an, a young theatre director and novelist, read an earlier version of the text and was inspired to create a theatrical adaptation. Sharing the title of Zhai’s poem, Chen’s play premiered in Beijing in 2014. This essay explores the life and after-lives of Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains.
Many live after L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E then, but few live as it. There is no comparable, or adequate, rupture precisely because there is a lack of Historical, and philosophical, work being done. Cue the misunderstanding of what to radically break with. This might be because of the paradox of university scholarship now – we live in a moment after the national mythmaking of bygone days and in one informed by the black armband view that is predominant institutionally.
I am reminded of Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth. For the work Salcedo broke a hairline crack into the floor of the Tate Gallery’s Turbine Hall. Running the sheer length of the hall, the crack broadened out to a crevasse of some feet. You walked alongside and gaped in. The floor was later repaired the cracks remain.
The authors I touch upon in this essay – perhaps not the female poets most in accordance with my personal taste – share a common story in which I am more or less implicated. I see their choices to write as a means of displaying a female experience, and – with a straightforwardness and sharp intentionality at every step – reject the matter of females as reflected objects. Instead, they assert their self-reflected subjecthood.
EXPLODE Editorial: Awfully Passionate Egregious Demagogueries … reflections on absolutes, straying, anguish and bees
If poets are in the business of cultivating ‘voice’ then, logically enough, to which ends? Is there an onus not only to learn how to speak but to also become versed in what to speak of? If 20c. English-language poetry can be characterised at least partly as a constellation of non-dogmatic radicalised tropes making response to authorising discourses of power / knowledge, then which impetus remains (if any) to adopt transgression as a foremost rhetorical mode?
Sublime Necrophilia or Ceasing To Exist in Order to Be : On Translating Kim Kyung Ju’s I Am a Season that Does Not Exist in the World
Like the male dusky antechinus, an Australian marsupial, translation has an unusually long mating period. For 14 hours it fucks so vigorously that its stress hormones overload, causing its immune system to collapse. It performs the sexy death. A lethal transfer of life. Or is it a deathy sex?
Pokedex Entry #011: Metapod is a Bug Type Pokemon. It evolves into Butterfree.
Species: Cocoon Pokémon
At the AWP writers’ conference in Minneapolis a couple of years ago, I attended a panel on Paul Celan’s poetry. In the Q & A that followed the panel, the first question was ‘How can we make sure that young American poets are not improperly influenced by Celan’s poetry without truly understanding it?’ The panel responded by offering a variety of possible solutions, such as reading the extensive literature about the poet or reading his letters and journal entries that have been published as well.
18/9/2015 Rosewood, Schull, Co. Cork, Ireland
Difficult and full fortnight of work coming up before I have to travel solo to London on bus, ferry and train.