Saturday, September 11, 2010

When bodies become the case
Will they still be a poem
Or form of art or prose because
Grief is a form of action

When bodies become the case
Of all we cannot be
No art can prove or disapprove
Movement made a maze

Of skin when bodies became
The case an image they still needed
That would extend space that might
Buy some time, save some face

For the dying whose bodies became
The case and were a law
Living inside the heart like
The law was always made

Blood becomes a site
No glove will heal or hold
Steeped in what was left to fill
Until hell evokes a reason

They put their hands on us
No glove will hold or touch
The law their bodies were
When there was no justice

So all the lenses of your
Camera almost crack
But don't outliving the fact
Of their blood's gaze, its resolve

That all our laws lacked
The question of this subject
What the body can do
Determines a line of police.

Friday, September 10, 2010

5 Questions With Miriam Katzeff of Primary Information (@ Art 21)


I think there were two reasons to start Primary Information. James [Hoff] and I are both very interested in artists’ books and some of the publications we were most interested in were rare and expensive—too expensive for us. We wanted to share these projects with people that might not be able to afford them. The second reason is that we wanted to promote artists we were interested in outside of exhibitions which are limited to a time period and place. I’d discovered European artists whose work I’d never seen in person through books and wanted to do the same for American artists or younger artists..

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Aspect Blindness: Arnold Kemp and Sreshta Rit Premnath (@ Art21)


As with Kemp’s artist’s book, Spirit and Image, Premnath’s Zero Knot presents a series of frames for historical and political realities which a reader/viewer must hold in their attention, where some frames negate or simply block out others. Much like Wittgenstein’s own rigorous linguistic-philosophical investigations, I encounter through Kemp and Premnath a discourse pragmatics in which what can’t be seen (or resolved) is as important as what is known through an enumeration of the facts. In the work of Kemp and Premnath, facts become only as good as their display and our position towards their display, and this prevents a kind of solipsism that art might otherwise induce. Skepticism overshadows solipsism, becoming a force for critical thinking and renewed reflection upon aporetic cultural encounter.

R.I.P. Mark Linenthal

Michael Cross has a nice write-up in remembrance of Mark Linenthal, a San Francicso State University professor, former director of the university's Poetry Center, and mentor to many a Bay Area poet, who recently passed away. Cross's write-up includes an extensive introduction which Rob Halpern read for Mark's reading at the Last Laugh Cafe on January 12, 2008, a portion of which I include below.

I was fortunate enough to visit with Mark on two occasions when I visited San Francisco in the summers of 2007 and 2008. What stood-out to me about Mark were his irreverent yet good natured sense of humor, as well as his enthusiasm about poetry, and especially the poetries of George and Mary Oppen, who were his close friends.

Rob Halpern on Mark Linenthal's poetry:
At a time when the idea of experience has come under siege, Mark’s poems score, with uncompromised lucidity, the movement of their own attention making contact with a world where experience is still possible. In this sense, the poems are instructive: they prepare, in language, the presencing of an “experience” that remains outside language. For Mark, small acts of attention become consequential for locating one’s place in a world where “place” goes on eroding. Rather than giving into the force of that erosion and the rule of words, the poems bear witness to the fragility of location where a concern with “what can be said” becomes the most serious of all concerns. “What can be said”—as both direct question and relative statement—conditions the poems’ formal possibility while delimiting their content. It’s in their faithfulness to “what can be said” that Mark’s poems enact the values of clarity and precision, against injudicious obscurity and vague impressionism. But to measure one’s sense of measure—honestly and accurately—by “what can be said” requires a certain lightness of touch, and like Lester Young, after whom he wrote a great poem called “Listening to Lester,” we can hear Mark in his poems, “learning to play so lightly / he could believe it.”

Monday, September 06, 2010

The mind steeped in ash
Where does one go to forget it
To move earth and be moved

By earth, the mind steeped in
What we could not know, these fringes
Of this we where I sleep

Where one declares themselves burnt
Moulds or analytics of movement
Like men who like to dig holes