Here is an audio recording of a reading I gave from "Ressentiment," the second part of my ongoing anti-memoir, Left Melancholy, at Segue last April.
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Originally intended as the beginning of a collaboration with another writer, Meatyard, My Neighbor was composed when I first arrived in Manhattan in the fall of 2005, and has been edited and worked over many different times in the past decade, often as part of unpublished poetry manuscripts. During that time I was steeped in the work of the Lebanese writer and artist Jalal Toufic and his many theoretical and aesthetic reference points that I shared an interest in, including the Kentuckian photographer, Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Meatyard’s work appealed to me since it seemed to use photography as a means of visualizing the metaphysical, therefore making the ‘otherworldly’ available through an ensemble of “aesthetic facts” (Toufic’s phrase). Like other poems I was writing during this time, it also became a way of mediating—albeit obliquely—ongoing geo/political crises, such as the USAmerican wars in the Middle East, and widespread racism against Arab subjects. Much of the poem is ekphrastic—a relationship anyone can see who is familiar with Meatyard’s photographs—but with something else in the mix both highly speculative and oddly New York Schoolish (see Hannah Weiner’s The Magritte Poems, for instance) in excess of the verbal description of works of visual art (ekphrasis). Like other poems I was writing in the mid-2000s, it also embodied a melancholy attempt to understand my encounters with the world as a Bardo or state of transmigration. Since the poem has been in a transmigratory state itself for quite some time now, I’m relieved that it has finally found rest in print. –Thom Donovan, 11/2017
Tuesday, November 07, 2017
ON Contemporary Practice is proud to announce An Online Compendium and Accompaniment, edited by Rob Halpern and Robin Tremblay-McGaw. Intended as an appendix to From OurHearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice, an anthology of critical essays regarding New Narrative writing practices and literary community, the editors write: “In the process of editing From Our Hearts to Yours: New Narrative as Contemporary Practice, we realized that the book’s appearance in the world could also be the occasion for making available a set of archival documents and fugitive texts intimately related to our approach to New Narrative. These materials will serve ongoing scholarly and critical inquiries, while also enhancing any reader’s engagement with the book. In addition, we solicited three interviews with New Narrative writers, and these interviews are housed here exclusively. We also prepared an exhaustive Index of Keywords and Concepts to accompany the book as a finding aid in addition to the Index of Proper Names and Places included in the book itself (and even on its own, this second index offers its own pleasures as a poetic form!).”
Featured contents include: the introduction to From Our Hearts to Yours, “A Generosity of Response,” composed by Halpern and Tremblay-McGaw; transcripts of the 1981 Left Write Conference, edited by Steve Abbott; archival documents related to the Left Write conference; Soup 2 The New Narrative Issue (also edited by Abbott); exclusive interviews conducted by Jocelyn Saidenberg with Bruce Boone, Robert Dewhurst with Dodie Bellamy, and Miranda Mellis with Kevin Killian; the opening section to “Scandalous Narratives,” from Earl Jackson’s seminal 1995 scholarly study of New Narrative writers, Strategies of Deviance: Studies in Gay Male Representation; a Bibliography of Works Cited in From Our Hearts to Yours; and an Index of Key Words and Concepts from the anthology.