James Pate writes, "A few years ago, I remember reading a book review — I can’t remember of what book — but the reviewer said it was a children’s book written for adults. It was meant as a compliment, and it could apply to Green Lights as well. It’s filled with lines like ‘E was looking at a flower. Then she held it up to the sun for a second, until it caught on fire.’ It’s a book that tries to lure us to some fresher, less hidebound, less ‘adult’ ways of thinking, perceiving. It’s a book of radical, subversive innocence.”
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I utilized both Swedish and English to compose these five poems. They come from a longer work-in-progress called The House of the Tree of Sores. And a huge thank you to Steve Halle for publishing this work in Seven Corners.
Michael Martin Shea writes, "Like my dad always says, ‘There’s more than one way to necropastoral.’ And if we can think of the necropastoral as a mode of reading, (Joyelle calls it a ‘reframing’), then it follows that, like any critical praxis, there are theoretical underpinnings, forerunners, sleeper-ideas that prefigure and inform the current moment. The ones who furnished the war-room with all these fancy snacks. The most obvious, of course, is Raymond Williams’ The Country and The City, but I’m more interested in the work of Giorgio Agamben and his theorization on the state of exception.”
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Michael Martin Shea is a poet and 2014 Fulbright Fellow to Argentina. His research interests include ecopoetics, political theory, Latin American poetry, and contemporary American avant-gardes. This essay is part of a larger project that attempts to historicize the Necropastoral, both philosophically and aesthetically. He lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
I discuss my translation of a long Sara Tuss Efrik poem over at Montevidayo.
Paul Cunningham writes, “Johannes asked me to talk about my translation of Sara Tuss Efrik’s ‘The Night’s Belly’ (Nattens Mage), a hellish three-part fairy tale of wombs and charred rooms that draws on Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the story of Sleeping Beauty (or Thorn Rose; Little Briar Rose), Little Red Riding Hood, and possibly even Polanksi’s Rosemary’s Baby (1968). ‘There are plots against people, aren’t there?’ This is the question a frantic, phone booth-encased Rosemary desperately asked after being cruelly deceived by her husband. In ‘The Night’s Belly,’ Efrik’s female protagonist similarly carries a child of unknown origin. A swelling devil-red child—sometimes described as having pincers, or flapping wings. A throbbingly painful monstrosity. Possibly the child of her husband’s ‘red mistress’ (who later evolves into more of a Macbeth-style witch-mistress), Efrik’s protagonist continuously obsesses over the unfaithful husband’s activities.”
The nipples smarted, the pubic hair frizzed up. Paranoia melts and is redistributed, transformed into small graftings of screaming creatures. Girl dolls, logs. Everything gets mixed together. The heat pushes moisture out of the skin, surfaces glow teasingly. The husband finds himself on the African continent, in a city of solidified lava. White jeeps cross paths with starving dogs, gospel music flows out of Pentecostal churches, overcrowded hopsitals have locked their gates. The suicidal husband drives around with a sweet slut. They are going to climb Nyiaragongo. I expand the image, a widening circle, it whirls, a treasonous ring dance around that which burns. More and more sluts. A mass of eggs, explosions, a burning sky, a spray of shrapnel across our bodies.
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Laura Carter writes, "Raúl Zurita introduces Valerie Mejer’s poetry with the following words: ‘only through radical vulnerability can the urgency of love arise.’ He calls her work a series of photographs, allowing us to claim what we find in her verse as hemorrhage, weakeness even. Mejer, a Mexican poet with roots in Germany, Britain, and Spain, is a unique voice writing in a postmodern state where things don’t always seem so whole. She beautifully weaves a breakdown of narrative by carrying us through family stories, photographs of her loved ones, and love’s outcries and declarations.
The book is set up in four parts. The first, from the way, the way, begins as if on a journey. Mejer interrogates our animal bodies, the things that make failure inevitable (and beautiful) in a world where bad things happen, as we all know too well. She weaves a story of sleeping and waking, always perpetually coming out of a dream but then finding that this ‘aliveness’ can’t quite last. Here’s a sample from the section’s title poem:
Waking up, we are swallowed in wakefulness.
The house swallows us in its terrible thirst. The routine of taking our children
to school swallows us
and so does the if only I could.
[Click] to read the full review via The Fanzine
Joyelle writes, "We haven’t yet made it to the Dog Days of summer and yet it is time for something completely different—A Mammal’s Notebook: The Writings of Erik Satie, edited and introduced by Ornella Volta, translated by Antony Melville, and just out from Atlas Press, London. This volume, like Satie, aka ‘The Velvet Gentleman”, is good-looking, hilarious, charming, insane, snippy and visionary, all at once.”
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Pressures of Luminosity: Aase Berg's Dark Matter and HDR Photography -
(Cliff over Houses, © Eivind K. Dovik)
by Ryo Yamaguchi
Dark Matter, by Aase Berg, translated by Johannes Göransson, Black Ocean 2013
Aase Berg’s Dark Matter is an unrelentingly intense book, a fact that translator Johannes Göransson mentions more than once…
"Where can you find ‘ruby-red vertigo,’ ‘moon juice,’ ‘rats wearing black bras,’ ‘a plane smaller than a fingernail,’ ‘a cavity-ridden piano,’ and ‘death’s umbilical cord’? A ‘Moon Bead Necklace,’ ‘white cream on a green furry plate,’ ‘rabbit ribbon,’ and ‘the cloud’s toes’? Crying cafés and subway stations? All the garbage, mathematics, swimming pools, rats, Buddhas, toads, and screams of the world? Inside your Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream, of course!
The third collection of poems by the celebrated South Korean poet Kim Hyesoon, translated into English by Don Mee Choi (an admirable poet herself), Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream also includes Kim’s long poem ‘I’m OK, I’m Pig!’ and an appendix composed of two interviews and a short talk on Korean women’s poetry. Kim has been awarded prizes for both ‘engaged’ poetry and “pure” poetry, and her work has been described as Grotesque, Gurlesque, and Necropastoral, and it is all of these: ‘I’m going to be something that has no borders,’ she writes. In Kim’s open, feminine, and feminist poetics, the poet is like a shaman from whom a death-filled language ‘comes out dancing,’ and the reader is left stunned, floating in a world in which all hierarchies and borders have disappeared. Serious and playful, subversive and sublime, these are heartbreaking and mesmerizing poems.”
[Click] to read the full review via The Collagist
Lucas de Lima writes, "Me and my superstar fellow readers, I must point out, are not battling each other as opponents. Far from it, we’re joining forces as the one and only LATINA GURLESQUE, a luminous, feminist, outrageous decolonial parade. Taking a SPICY, CALIENTE line of flight south of the original Gurlesque anthology, our aesthetic already throbs in contemporary performance art. Consider the mystic genitalia and unholy queer ‘spictacles’ of La Chica Boom."
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THIS IS HAPPENING TONIGHT IN NYC
‘You’re faking it. That’s just a copy’
Laura Ellen Joyce writes, "Sara Tuss Efrik’s Persona Peep Show is a reproduction that draws attention to its status as perverse copy – as defaced art. The poem-film examines what it means to reproduce. There is a heavy emphasis on the female body in the language and visual imagery of the piece. What we are seeing in this film is both a reproduction of Bergman’s Persona, and an interrogation of the ways in which reproduction happens culturally, artistically, and biologically. Efrik reminds us that reproduction is an uncanny act, that to reproduce is always to die. Reproduction exists as a means to protect the dwindling, fragile object which is replaced. In the case of Persona Peep Show, Efrik resituates Bergman’s original film within a contemporary political and artistic context and allows it to be disseminated anew. What she also does is to set up a series of psychoanalytic and feminist concerns around the nature of reproduction.”
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¡OMDiosa! Will you be in New York next Friday? Don’t miss the LATINA GURLESQUE @ THE BUREAU OF GENERAL SERVICE-QUEER DIVISION (FRI. JULY 11, 7:30 PM)
Who let this “new grrly, grotesque, burlesque” poetics leak out of the border in a divine ooze of caliente pink?
Monica McClure’s debut collection, Tender Data, will be published by Birds, LLC this year. She is the author of the chapbooks, Mood Swing, from Snacks Press and Mala, forthcoming from Poor Claudia. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Tin House, Jubilat, Fence, The Los Angeles Review, The Lit Review, Lambda Literary Review’s Spotlight Series, The Awl, Spork and elsewhere. She curates Atlas, a collaboration series of visual artists and poets, and lives in New York City.
Lucas de Lima was born in the state of São Paulo, Brazil. He is the author of Wet Land (Action Books, 2014) and the chapbooks Ghostlines (Radioactive Moat) and Terraputa (forthcoming from Birds of Lace). A contributor to Montevidayo, he pursues doctoral studies in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania.
Jennifer BARRRRFFFF Tamayo is a New York-based performance artist, writer, and activist. She is the author of three collections of art and writing, most recently YOU DA ONE (Coconut Books, 2014). JT lives in Brooklyn and serves as the Managing Editor of Futurepoem.