Andrew Topel, visual poet of commanding technique, is a rightful heir to lettrism. View this series piece by piece full screen (click on the image to get larger image), then view on the blog scrolling at various speeds top to bottom through the series to get a sense of the series as a whole. What would a sound/musical score sound like for a film of this series?
Ticked off by a phone call I said, “Shit” and “Shit!”; he rushes into the kitchen and kicks me in the balls. In another instance, I stand in shadow, hands in pocket, scanning the strait for orcas; he sits below me in the sun, squinting seaward, hugging his newly-purchased book about whales. He was ripped purple from water, no shades of grey.
Arundel Books 1001 First Avenue (corner of Madison and First) Seattle, WA 98104 phone 206.624.4442
Lindsay Hill was born in San Francisco and graduated from Bard College. He is the author of five books of poems, including NdjenFerno (Vatic Humm) and, most recently, Contango (Singing Horse). His poetry has been widely published in journals including Caliban, Sulfur, To, and New American Writing. He is the former co-editor of the journal Facture. Lindsay lives in Portland and is a member of the Spare Room collective.
Nico Vassilakis was born in New York City in 1963. His latest book TEXT LOSES TIME, is out by ManyPenny Press. He has co-written and performed a one-man play about experimental composer Morton Feldman. Vassilakis is co-founder and curator for the Subtext Reading Series and editor of Clear-Cut: Anthology (A Collection of Seattle Writers). His visual poetry and videos have been shown worldwide at festivals and exhibitions of innovative language arts. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Ribot, Caliban, Aufgabe, Chain, Talisman, Central Park and Golden Handcuffs Review. He works for Fantagraphic Books and lives in Seattle with his son, Quixote.
Edition artists' book, 2008. Closed 7 ”w x 9 1/4”h, 56 acid free pages, cover soft full color, laminated 100# Ultra Gloss Cover Stock, Digital Color Silk - C2S, 90 bright. Interior: Text Stock 32# matte, coil binding. Published by Otoliths, Australia, and printed in the USA by LULU. ISBN 978-0-9805096-5-6.
"Red is blood, passion, life. Yes. Circles and eggs, although squeezed are repeated, and imply renewal. Some have the illusion of cutouts, holes. We feel like we can see through areas, looking back or hinting to the future. The muse hides as time flies. Rosefish represents M. Rosenthal Rosenberg; the Granny apple is transparent. Uninvited, the mouse brings annoying problems. Asides abide. Calligraphic marks, the living line, become beings, ghosts are language. Bold letters become organic and architectural objects in each underwater and sky atmosphere, the mindscapes; fragmented words are strong entities near layered part circles. Read in one direction. The reader is enticed to turn the page and, now differently reread on. Reading upside d own excites, as it irritates the reading process. Circular-like images are fragmented. Half of the visual poem suddenly overlaps it?s capsized other half; read in one direction, turn, now differently reread each strong colored panorama. RED has a beginning, middle and a starting again. "
Now in the collection of Ohio State U, Avant Writing Collection.
My first year in San Francisco I must have attended 200 readings and missed many I wished I had got to (you could find a poetry reading everyday of the week in the 1980s). Yet by 1990, when I started teaching high school English full-time, the number of readings I attended had dwindled to a dozen per year, half of which I organized or featured me as a reader.
That lamentable dearth of attendance at poetry readings (the life-blood, the connective tissue, of my development as a writer) continues (how many readings have you been to in the last year?), but there may be a good valid reason for the decline: The rhetoric of the poetry reading is predictable, enervating: Poet providing an explanation to the poems that often proves to be more interesting than the poems themselves, an unstructured reading (let’s read the poems that have gotten positive response rather than building a reading so that the reading itself is a viable, collective text), any energy acquired in a poem’s reading dissipating before the next poem begins. A poetry reading requires planning, attention to the timing and spacing/space within which each poem is uttered/performed, yet readings have been dumbed-down to the formulaic.
I haven’t attended many readings other than my own the past few years. The last one that stands out is a reading by Jonathan Brannen in Portland’s Spare Room series. One perk to my new university post at WSU, finally unavalanched by student papers, is open evenings to attend the English department’s reading series.
Rick Barot visited WSU last Thursday. The bulk of his reading fit the rhetorical frame I touch on above, yet his work broke out of the mold with a striking collage piece, “Exegesis,” a blending of a close reading of one sentence from Hemingways’ A Farewell to Arms and a blog by a soldier in Iraq
about birdwatching. He had no witty explanation of the poem; he was almost embarassed about reading it (a war poem, many of which he had discarded).
When I asked him if he had other poems like that, Barot was almost apologetic. What I hoped to say to him in asking was that what he was most uncertain about–poems such as “Exegesis”– he should be most certain about. Time to mine that creative vein and eschew the explanations.