Saturday, December 16, 2006

Inland Empire

A hole on the way to heaven
The real face is made of tears
Lightning strikes the real
Voice summoning our substitution

A hole on the way to hell
Tears remove the face
From the face monitors remain
Within monitors this is our thesis

Of forthcoming a hole on the way
Skyward speak the static
Set theory close your eyes
If you believe yourself to be.

Michael Cross & Myung Mi Kim (@ St. Mark's)

This entire week I have wanted to post something to mark the occasion of Myung Mi Kim's and Michael Cross' reading together at the Poetry Project this past Monday. With the exception of myself, Cathy Park Hong, Eliza Newman-Saul, Stacy Szymaszek, Brenda Ijiima, a creative writing workshop from Fordham and a handfull of PP regulars there was an unusually small turn-out for the reading. This seems to me a curious fact where Kim is at the top of her game, and Cross has emerged as a significant younger poet and seminally artful publisher of new writing.

I have already written something at this blog about Kim's recent book with Cross, *River Antes*, a book which no doubt furthers Kim's serialist project and should, with any luck, come out soon with a major academic or trade publisher to reinforce Kim's reputation as one of a handfull of American poets at middle-age thinking across their books in rigorous ways. After hearing Kim read again last Monday, I also recognize Kim to be entirely singular in her off-page delivery. Very few readers give such vigilant* attention to their presentation, where the decisive pauses in Kim's reading create an auditory situation necessary to hear what is being read--and therefore for the work to convey maximal meaning, to onto-acoustically (less than psychologically) maintain the tenuous relationship between reader and audience. What is also consistently striking to me is Kim's ability to change tones and registers as quickly as she does, and to maintain her voice at a threshold of audibility. Where the voice remains at this threshold the audience "leans in" heightening its own listening powers, making a room ring with language-presence: a decisive Pneumatology, a relation within which to dwell...

Of Michael Cross I will only say now that he is one of my most valued contemporaries. This value issues mainly from the intensity of his writing and revision practice, as well as the difficulties of his thinking. Cross's recent poems "Sacred" & "cede" (now out as a chapbook with Vigilance press) display the tuitions of Cross's efforts. Each word feels here as if a nail driven into the page, and the rhythms of the poems cleave a modal, inter-textual quickness of a hearing-brain making caesuras within longer lines--nearly punctuationless, antinomian, utterly obediant and potential (free?). The importance of caesura in Cross's poetics points to what is for me a dual problem of Grace and intention in certain ongoing poetics. How the en-Graced writer may move as a vitual automaton in the language, going beyond mechanism in mechanism itself, emptying knowledge of a knowing or knowable content. A poetics of Kleist's God-Marionette, of Event, of Cartesian-cinematic phantoms. Inasmuch as Cross approaches his work like a (Matthew) Barney or (Rachel) Whiteread, or before them Robert Smithson, making molds as "Non-Sites" by which to process language-materials, his work also admits a continuation of some of the great living artist-poets: Acconci, Coolidge, Darragh, (Susan) Howe, Mayer, P. Inman, Retallack, Taggart.

*I borrow this word from Stacy Szymaszek's concise introduction for Cross and Kim last Monday.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

True Name

--for kari edwards

At its moment of conception

The angel falls

For itself the immortal

Thought-body falling

Into the socius for

Itself a body

Smoked its last breath

Your Soteriology

Both brave and frightened

The bright words splay

Our sex the body

Is really a symbol of itself

Singular before its true name.

2nd Ave. Poetry Vol. II

Kinda last minute I have work in Paolo Javier's 2nd Ave. Poetry webzine, and will attend the launch party Sat. Check for details...