26
Jul
14

Swinburne, Four Syllables, and Learning to Listen to Write

The prompt for this essay was to write a 10-15 page paper about poems, stories, or novels that influenced my writing. Below is my response.

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Algernon Charles Swinburne

“Algernon Charles Swinburne” by painting George Frederic Watts 1867.

As I thought about what poems changed my work or writing, I had to ask myself in what capacity. In the capacity of expressing myself? in the capacity of using images? being concrete and clear? in the capacity of using the line? in using etymologies? in sounds? etc. Many poems of course came to mind, such as John Donne’s Holy Sonnet #10, Edmund Spenser’s “One day I wrote her name upon the strand,” Gerard Manley Hopkins “The Windhover,” W. S. Merwin’s “The Mountain,” “The Pencil,” “For the Anniversary of My Death,” and “The Last One.” Two essays also came to mind: Ezra Pound’s “A Retrospect,” which was really the start of everything for me, and Charles Olson’s “Projective Verse.” There were so many choices, but the more I thought about it the more I kept dwelling on Algernon Charles Swinburne and one of his poems. In fact, it was really just four syllables in this poem that I kept turning to for ten years during the 1990s. I believe these four syllables changed my writing more than any other poem. As a result, I will show how this happened and what I learned. In essence, I will show the growth of how my ears learned to listen. As a result, much of what follows will probably be common knowledge to anyone who’s been writing poems for some time, but it is still a sketch of how I learned prosody, or invented my own prosody.

I was introduced to Swinburne by way of Ezra Pound’s “Swinburne and His Biographers.” In this essay, Pound says:

Swinburne recognized poetry as an art, and as an art of verbal music. [. . .] No man who cares for his art can be deaf to the rhythms of Swinburne, deaf to their splendor, deaf also to their bathos. [. . . ] The rhythm-building faculty was in Swinburne, and was perhaps the chief part of his genius. (292-93)

Before I found my way to that essay and to Swinburne, I had been living in and practicing Pound’s advice in “A Retrospect.” You are probably familiar with the three principles (“Direct treatment of the ‘thing’ whether subjective or objective;” “To use no word that does not contribute to the presentation;” and “to compose in the sequence of the musical phrase, not in the sequence of the metronome”) as well as the motto “Go in fear of abstractions.” In the “Rhythm and Rhyme” section of the essay, Pound also points out:

Let him dissect the lyrics of Goethe coldly into their component sound values, syllables long and short, stressed and unstressed, into vowels and consonants.

It is not necessary that a poem should rely on its music, but if it does rely on its music that music must be such as will delight the expert. (5)

As a young writer, I of course wanted to “delight the expert,” as well as everybody else. However, I didn’t know how. Nor did I know what long and short syllables were. I only knew stressed and unstressed syllables, and not very well. And then, as I mentioned, I met Swinburne, and he, and especially one of his poems, drastically informed and changed how I wrote poems during the 1990s.

Swinburne’s poems will force anyone to hear stressed and unstressed syllables. One really can’t “be deaf to the rhythms of Swinburne.” It’s unavoidable. It’s with him my decade-long research into meters (qualitative and quantitative) and forms began. Swinburne wrote in so many meters and forms, I felt required to do the same. I especially loved Sapphic meters, and he has two Sapphic-metered poems, but they are done with qualitative meters instead of quantitative meters. However, I didn’t know this yet. All I knew was to listen.

And so I listened to Swinburne and other poets and my own poems. It was a long training process, but the poem that may have taught me more about meter and rhythm and influenced my own writing is one of the chorus sections from his Greek-like play in verse Atalanta in Calydon. The chorus opens:

Before the Beginning of Years

And it continues for 46 more lines in a bouncy rhythm. The backbeat of the poem is iamb, anapest, and anapest, which Swinburne will play off of throughout the poem. However, there’s much more going on than that. Here’s a typical scansion of the opening line:

Before the Beginning of Years - Simple Scan

In this scansion, I use “u” to indicate an unstressed syllable and “/” to indicate a stressed syllable. That scansion is absolutely correct, or is it? There’s something more complicated going on in that first syllable. I didn’t realize it the first few times I read it, but eventually, sometime later, I heard it different.

I read the opening line over and over again. I read it loud, soft, fast, and slow to try and figure out what was happening with that first syllable. While the “be” in “before” is unstressed, it certainly has more stress than “the.” “How can that be?” I asked myself. I discovered a number of reasons for this.

Edmund SpenserThe first reason was breath. “Be” is the first syllable of the poem, as a result it receives the first exhale from the speaker’s mouth. It receives initial breath, which is more powerful than subsequent breaths in a poem, at least when it pertains to unstressed syllables. When reading a poem aloud, one can’t help but to burst into the poem on the opening syllable, even if it’s just a small burst. The breathing takes time to regulate, usually a syllable or two or three. What I learned from this is that the opening syllable to a poem can’t really be unstressed. Actually, where I first realized that the opening breath adds stress to an unstressed syllable was in the opening line of Edmund Spenser’s “Sonnet 75,” which begins, “One day I wrote her name upon the strand.” The “one,” while correctly scanned as an unstressed syllable, is more of a semi-stressed syllable. I read Spenser’s poem again and again, I compared “One” to “u” in “upon” and to “the,” which are obviously unstressed syllables, I thought about it, and then applied what I learned to Swinburne’s chorus. It held true there. It held true with many other poems, too. It held true with the poems I wrote. What I learned is that the opening syllable will almost always have a little more stress than the same syllable later in the poem, unless there is a deliberate metrical play being facilitated by the poet. This semi-stressed syllable realization while important was still not fully developed, especially in me and my poetry.

The idea that there was the special syllable intrigued me. I had assumed there were either stressed or unstressed syllables and nothing else. This is all I ever read in books or was taught. Even in the dictionary, there are only stressed and unstressed syllables, and the “Be” in “Before” is unstressed. But here’s a third syllable that is neither. “Is it just an aberration? Is it only true of opening syllables?” I asked myself. I eventually found two answers. The first was realizing that stressed and unstressed syllables are not absolute. They are relational, as hinted at before with the “u” in “upon” and the “the” in Spenser’s poem. While “be” in “before” will usually be unstressed, its unstress comes in relation to the other syllables around it. Since the “be” in “before” is always surrounded by the stressed “fore,” it will almost always sound unstressed. Still, it is more stressed than the “the” later in the Swinburne line. In fact, articles are almost always unstressed, especially when it follows the stressed “fore.” The next unstressed syllable that follows the unstressed “the” is also “be,” but this time in the word “beginning.” This “be” is also considered an unstressed syllable because of where it is in relation to the stressed “gin.” But when I listened closely, I heard it being more stressed than the preceding “the.” I didn’t hear the “be” in “beginning” as stressed or unstressed. It was in between. This time, however, it wasn’t because of initial expulsion of air. It was something else.

When I listened to the lines in this chorus, I heard rising rhythms. Of course, the rhythm will rise naturally with iambs and anapests, but there was more nuance in the rising in Swinburne’s chorus, and it occurs in the second syllable of the anapests. It turns out Swinburne wasn’t using a two-scored scansion system of syllables. He was using a three-scored scansion system. Here’s a different scansion of the opening line:

Before the Beginning of Years - Three Tier

In this scansion, I use “u” and “/” as I used them above, but here I use “u/” to indicate a semi-stressed syllable. When I scanned it by hand with a pencil in the 90s, I used a “u” with a slanted line through it. I was inventing my own scansion and scansion markings, and I would invent more. But back to this line. The rising rhythm is nuanced. It’s smooth. It glides up into each foot’s stressed syllable – unstressed to semi-stressed to stressed. But there’s even more to this rising.

Again, after reading this poem many more times, as well as reading other poems and writing my own poems that tried to imitate meters and rhythms, I heard this chorus’s opening line differently. This time I heard how the last syllable “years” is more stressed than the other syllables in the line. Here’s how I scanned it:

Before the Beginning of Years - Four Tier

Here I use “x” to indicate what I call a strong stress. My ear now heard four levels of stress and I had built my scansion system to include one more scansion symbol. My poet’s ears were really coming alive. Hearing the sounds wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to know why it happened and how I could do it. While figuring it out, I reread Swinburne’s poem “Sapphics.” I liked the way the poem moved, but I didn’t know why it was called Sapphics. At the time, I had a little 4 ½” x 3 ¼” inch Collins Gem Latin Dictionary. (I still have it.) In it, in the prefatory materials, there is a seven-page “Metres” section about Latin meters and poetic forms. One of those was called “Sapphics,” after the poetic form Sappho used, which may have been created by Alcaeus of Mytilen (Sappho’s contemporary). But when the dictionary laid out the meter and format of the poem and gave a brief description of it, it didn’t use stressed and unstressed syllables. It used long and short syllables to represent the three hendecasyllabic lines (or “lesser Sapphics”) and the one adonic. I then remembered Pound mentioning “syllables long and short.” I realized some syllables have a longer pronunciation duration than other syllables. For instance, the “e” in the word “he” is longer than the “e” in the word “the.” I listened to that opening line again.

Before the Beginning of Years - Quantitative

The “–” below the line indicates a long syllable and the “u” below the line indicates a short syllable. My scansion system continued to grow as did my scansion markings as did my poet’s ears. The quantitative scansion system, I would later realize, is also relational, but the relationship has a wider scale. It works mainly with the whole line rather than what is nearby, as in qualitative scansion.

At this point you may be asking, “Why is the ‘Be’ in ‘Before’ longer than the ‘be’ in ‘beginning’?” That’s a good question. Outside of this poem, or if “before” and “beginning” are spoken as independent words, both “be”s would be the same length. In this opening line, however, I hear the “e” in “Be” in “Before” as a long “e.” It is as if the poem begins with a running start or as if the speaker is tuning his/her voice with the commencement of the poem. It might also be because of that initial expulsion of air. Nonetheless, pronouncing it as a short “e,” as in “beginning,” just doesn’t sound right. It’s seems out of key and out of tone, especially with the mood of the poem. One could argue that it is in fact a short syllable, and that is fine, as scansions can be debated. However, I heard and still hear it as a long syllable. The more important observation is the long syllable “years.”

I’m sure Swinburne was aware of long and short syllables, but he didn’t seem to consciously implement them. Even in his poem “Sapphics,” he translates the Greek quantitative meter into an Anglo qualitative meter. Pound will later write at least two Sapphic poems (“Apparuit” and “The Return,” though he disguises the form) where he plays quantitative meter against qualitative meter, and even later on, James Wright will Americanize Sapphics in “Erinna to Sappho,” using three iambic tetrameter lines and an iambic dimeter line. That, however, is another lesson. Back to Swinburne. No matter what Swinburne’s intentions were or were not, “years” is long and stressed. I thought this is how he made the syllable have more stress than a typically stressed syllable. I would later learn that a long syllable, and sometimes just a long vowel, can not only make a stressed syllable more stressed, but it can add stress to an unstressed syllable. In the opening to the chorus, the length of the syllable may also contribute to “Be” in “Before” being a semi-stressed word.

So what I had learned so far and practiced in writing by way of Swinburne? While there are stressed and unstressed syllables in poetry and they can be used as a backbeat to build a poem on, there’s more nuance to those syllables. There are at least four levels of stresses and they can be impacted by the length of the syllable. I learned that I can play stress and length off each other to create certain auditory effects. I would later learn that there’s even a fifth stress. It is more stressed than the strong stress I represented with an “x” in the above scansion. I picked this up from Robert Duncan, who somewhere wrote something like, “in each poem, there is one syllable that is more stressed than all the other syllables.” I found and find this to be often true. Though sometimes there are two syllables that are more stressed than all of the other syllables and sometimes there aren’t any outstandingly stressed syllables. I also learned that stresses are relational as well as the length of the syllable being relational. In addition, this chorus from Swinburne also aided me in realizing that rhythms can rise and fall, rhythms have their effects and can be used to create effects to please a listener’s ear and “delight the expert,” and they can also be used to affect meanings.

Writing in quantitative meters in English, however, is more a difficult endeavor and much more complicated than the four levels of stress. In the Romance languages, as I understand it, the lengths are more certain, just like our Anglo-American stresses. In Anglo-American, however, there are so many variable lengths of syllables it’s too difficult to scan effectively, but knowing when to use a long or short syllable is still useful in composing a music that “will delight the expert.” Further complications in quantitative syllables are compounded with schwas and diphthongs. How many syllables are in a diphthong? For instance, is “fire” one or two syllables? Or is it even more syllables as Robert Pinsky once pointed out when he was in the south and saw a woman running from her burning house yelling “fire” as a five-syllable word. This also became a learned lesson: context can dictate how a syllable is pronounced.

Additionally, after figuring out how a long syllable became a long syllable, which often occurs with a long vowel sound, I learned that vowels, especially long vowels, carry emotions. I thought the long vowel’s emotional effect had to do with duration and pitch. I learned some of this from Robert Bly, who I had thought had a tin ear, but would later realize he was using long vowels to create tones, which was his music. In “Educating the Rider and the Horse,” he briefly discusses it effects:

[The third type of sound a poem with a “wild animal” form is] the conscious intensity – not sequence – of pitches. Syllables that rose high, very high, in the Old Norse line the poets called “lifters.” We can hear them in Beowulf. Sometimes the lifters resemble the peak of a roof, sometimes the dragon prow of a Viking ship that rises and falls. Sounds pronounced naturally in the roof of the mouth, such as “ee,” drive the sound up; conviction drives it up; the beat as it arrives helps drive it up. This is mysterious, unquantifiable. (294)

Allen Ginsberg would do something similar as Bly, but his music came from the ups and downs of pitch. His poems, the lines in his poems (at least the ones I liked and read and studied) would often rise and fall in pitch. Bly would rely on a field of pitch (or a small range of pitches) for tonal effect, whereas Ginsberg would rely on mountains and valleys of pitch for movement and for physical effects. I eventually made up a hypothesis that in poetry the vowels in a word carry the emotions and the consonants carry the meaning, which I think is even more true the further back in English poetry history one listens.

During the 1990s, as mentioned, pretty much all I did was to write in as many meters (quantitative and qualitative) and forms as I could find, including free verse and projective verse. Olson’s “Projective Verse” essay was a major influence on how I wrote poetry. It taught me about breath and breathing, and informed, as a result, though indirectly, my understanding of long and short syllables. I would quote some of the poems I wrote, but I burned them all (all two boxes of them) in a bonfire fifteen years ago on July 3, 1999. It might be for the better because I couldn’t master aligning sound and sense, and to quote them would be embarrassing. Nonetheless, I could write meters very easily. And I could write a line or two that were clear, but writing a whole poem, especially with the complications I added (which I will note below), was more difficult than I could expect it to be. The poems I wrote had intricate meters and sounds, but the meaning of the poems were held together only in my head. They wouldn’t make much sense to other readers. Or the poems would be too abstract. Meters, I discovered, lend themselves to polysyllabic abstract words. At least that is true for me and even Swinburne. Swinburne in his later years fell into polysyllabic music, too. Still I kept at writing in meters and forms. I even tried to train myself to speak in sonnets, but I drift off topic.

Swinburne was not only an inspiration, but he also became a testing ground. If I discovered something in another poem, I would test it out in his poems, as I briefly illustrated above. I would also test it out in my own writings. I began with writing syllabics and used Swinburne’s poem “Syllabics” as a guide, as well as other poets. Once I got syllabics down, I moved on to iambs and then trochees and then to forms with those meters. Then I returned to syllabics and tried to incorporate other musically devices into it, like assonance, alliteration, and consonance. Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Campion, Wallace Stevens, and Linda Bierds were vital in this musical development to “delight the expert.” Having figured out how to make those sounds, I then tried laying those sounds on top of iambs, and then atop other meters, and then into forms. This process restarted again with syllabics and then trying to incorporate etymologies into syllabic poems. I learned how to do this from Hopkins and Wallace Stevens. For instance, in one of Hopkins sonnets (I think it is the one that begins “Thou are indeed just, Lord, if I contend”), most of the words in the poem have etymological roots in feudal law, especially concerning lord and vassals, which I learned after half an afternoon with a dictionary in the Paddy Hill Library in Greece, NY. The poem was rooted by way of etymologies. Stevens did something similar, at times, especially with “Crispin” and “clipped” in “The Comedian as the Letter C.” I would even invent a school of poetry called “Skeatsism,” based on Rev. Walter W. Skeat’s An Etymological Dictionary of the English Language and my findings with Hopkins and Stevens. My writing/discovery process continued with the iambs, other meters, forms, and harmonies, etc. Swinburne was then also a motivator to go learn more. While Swinburne can teach a lot, he can’t teach everything, like long and short syllables, the emotions of vowels, and etymological rotisserie. Still there is one last lesson he had for me.

Besides not being able to write successful poems in meter and form, I also couldn’t master what call the ghost syllable. A ghost syllable is a syllable that has no representation in words or sounds. It is a syllable that is felt. It is a syllable that lingers like a ghost lingers after someone passes away. For example, I will return to the Swinburne chorus I’ve been writing about. Here are the opening four lines again, with scansion:

First Four Lines - Simple Scan

You can see and hear how Swinburne varies the rising rhythms in lines 3 and 4. If you listen even closer, you will hear two extra beats at the end of each those four lines. So it can be represented like this:

First Four Lines - Ghost Syllables

Those two extra stresses (“/   /”) at the end of each line are what I refer to as ghost syllables, and they move the poem forward. They create an extra tension between what is heard and unheard. They extend the line. I thought perhaps I might be hearing things. However, once in 2002 or 2003, I gave a poetry reading to a very receptive audience. Not too far into my reading of this chorus by Swinburne, the audience started supplying those ghosts beats at the ends of the lines by stomping their feet and slapping their tables. They picked up on the ghost syllable, and validated my reading. This effect is magical. Later on, I purchased The Fugs: The Fugs First Album. (The Fugs were an avant-garde rock band, and poets Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg are the most known members.) They did a musical rendition of the same chorus and called it the “Swinburne Stomp.” They heard and included the ghost beat, too. (Their rendition of the song has also influenced my reading of the poem, which is now more dramatic, especially at the end.) To this day, I still do not know how the ghost syllables work or how to do it. I wish I did, but I don’t. This among many things is what makes Swinburne a metrical genius from whom I learned so much about the music of poetry. Those two ghost syllables, the “Be” in “Before,” and “years” were the four syllables that affected me the most.

As a result, Swinburne prepared me for listening and listening with intent. He taught me prosody and how to talk about it. He prepared me for Gerard Manley Hopkins, especially “The Windhover,” which was another influential poem to my ears, as well as Edmund Spenser’s “One Day I Wrote Her Name Upon the Stand” (which maybe a perfect sonnet), and it prepared me John Donne’s Holy Sonnet #10, “Death, be not proud, though some have callèd thee.” It prepared me in such a way that I preferred to write musical poems over poems that made sense. That is, I became so obsessed in writing music to “delight the expert” that I forgot about everyone else, which means I forgot about clarity. The reader needs clarity. Writing poems with clarity would take me a whole other decade with W. S. Merwin to accomplish.

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Works Cited

Bly, Robert. “Educating the Rider and the Horse.” American Poetry: Wildness and Domesticity. New York: Harper & Row Publishers: 1990. 289-96. Print.

Donne, John. “Holy Sonnet 10.” The Norton Anthology of English Language: Volume 1. 5th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1986. 1099. Print.

Hopkins, Gerard Manley. “Thou are indeed just, Lord, if I contend.” Gerard Manley Hopkins: Poems and Prose. New York: Penguin Books, 1988. 67. Print.

Pound, Ezra. “A Retrospect.” Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. Ed. T. S. Eliot. New York: New Directions: 1968. 3-14. Print.

—. “Swinburne and His Biographers.” Literary Essays of Ezra Pound. Ed. T. S. Eliot. New York: New Directions: 1968. 290-294. Print.

Spenser, Edmund. “Sonnet 75.” The Norton Anthology of English Language: Volume 1. 5th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1986. 770. Print.

Swinburne, Algernon Charles. Atalanta in Calydon. Major Poems and Selected Prose. Eds. Jerome McCann and Charles L. Sligh. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. 3-67. Print.

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Sapphics

– u  – u  – u u  – u  – u

– u  – u  – u u  – u  – u

– u  – u  – u u  – u  – u

– u u  – u

 

u = short syllable. – =long syllable.

The first three lines are the hendecasyllabic lines, or “lesser Sapphics.” The fourth and eleventh syllables are open syllables. Originally they were long, but now are variable.

The adonic is the fourth line.

A Sapphic poem usually consists of a number of these formally structured stanzas.

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To download a PDF of this essay, click Four Syllables.

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22
Jul
14

Happy 25th Anniversary to RomComs

thelinebreak:

If you didn’t know, my friend (Susan Elliott Brown) and I are the founding editors of the recently founded RomComPom: A Journal of Romantic Comedy Poetry. Coincidentally, the modern RomCom was born 25 years ago. That’s good accidental timing on our part.

Originally posted on romcompom:

Over at Grantland, they are holding a Rom-Com Week, including this second article “The Rom-Com Hall of Fame: Champions and Challengers: Weighing the candidacies of the all-timers, the almost-weres, and the Heigls of the genre.” We hope that you are like us and will be following Grantland all week long.

The second article in the series begins:

It’s been 25 years since the birth of the modern romantic comedy. Beginning with When Harry Met Sally . . .  in 1989, the genre has become a launching pad for some actors and a refuge for others. In these movies we find predictable moments, heightened notions of love, and a lot of questionable outfits. And while the genre has morphed over the years, we’re still in love with rom-coms — so we’re celebrating them all week. Welcome to Rom-Com Week. Today, we look at the titanic figures of the modern rom-com and…

View original 44 more words

08
Jul
14

RomComPom

What is RomComPom? It is a new journal for romantic comedy poetry that will be edited by Susan Elliott Brown and me.

RomComPom header screen cap

Here’s a definition from the journal’s website:

RomComPom – poetry that inhabits the same emotional space as romantic comedy. Its symptoms include, but are not limited to, laughter, delight, crying (or at the minimum, a lump in the throat), self-doubt replaced by selfless confidence, the realization of love in an unexpected person, and the overwhelming urge to want to fall in love or eat chocolate.

It may also be a poem about, inspired by, or that references a romantic comedy. However, it doesn’t need to be about or reference any romantic comedy, but it should aim to generate the same feelings as a romantic comedy. Snarky poems are also encouraged.

Be sure to check it out: romcompom.wordpress.com/

The first issue will appear in early 2015 sometime.//

 

22
Jun
14

On Stuart Kestenbaum’s Only Now

A version of this review (and a better edited version) may appear in a future issue of Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose. //

Stuart Kestenbaum – Only Now Many of the poems in Stuart Kestenbaum’s Only Now (Deerbrook Editions, 2014) feel like poems Gregory Orr would write if he wrote narrative poems (some of the meditative and lyrical poems also feel like Gregory Orr poems), a number of the poems have the mythical feel of a Merwin myth-like poem, and some have the intimacy of a Jack Gilbert poem. These styles, among others, are what one would need to successfully write a carpe diem book of poems, and neo-romantic book of poems, at that.

I don’t normally like drawing comparisons to other writers when a reviewing a book of poems, but this time it seems like a good idea to present a feel for the book. In addition, while the opening poem, “Prayer While Downshifting,” is a fine poem, it is acting more as a deliberate lense for the book. By placing this poem at the opening, Kestenbaum is attempting to focus the reader’s mood or reading in a deliberate direction. However, this poem would be better off if it appeared further on in the book, as it needs to built in to or up to. As an opening poem, it’s too heavy handed in its allegory and symbol building, and I want everyone who gets to this book to know that what follows the opening poem is very moving – emotionally and intellectually. In addition, I think (and wonder) if it is better for an author to let the reader discover meanings on their own instead of directing them down a certain path. Or better still, for the author and reader to discover together. More inclusiveness. More of a we-book, where meanings have “to happen because we’ve / made a framework for it. It’s the framework that gives the meaning” (“Big World”). Further, “because meaning is a wild animal that surprises you” (“Prayer for Real”), the reader will want to experience the surprise of discovering meaning, which is what this book does. It surprises. It’s inclusive. It’s a book for author and reader, for you and me, for we.

Maybe it would be better if the book opened with the second poem, “Rocky Coast,” which begins 350 million years in the past, and then in two words, flashes forward 350 million years to today. (Has there ever been a lengthier flash forward?) And this flash forward takes us into an everyday we are familiar with – it takes us into Dunkin’ Donuts. It delivers us into fantasies of hope, revenge, and escape while the “fallen world” is everywhere outside the Dunkin’ Donuts. The next poem, “Getting There,” turns inward even more. It balances the safety of Dunkin’ Donuts with the neo-romantic notion that “deep inside us” are the answers to:

     Where is the place we are always asking about.
     It’s the country we remember in our dreams.
     Where is where we’ll find what we need to know

     whatever that is, whatever we thought it was
     going to be.

Notice how these are shared questions (we all have them), but it’s the turning inward where we find our own answers and meanings. The slow accumulation of poems in Only Now is like a manual of examples and experiences we are all aware of, and the poems about them are in Only Now for us to meditate on, to turn inward on, to equip us with living in the only now we have, and to help us prepare for our eventual demise.

For instance, the conclusion of “Crows”:

         before we began to speak we could feel the world
     inside our bodies and it moved us as we moved with it.
     Perhaps this is our mother tongue, the language of our cells,
     the diction of our hearts and lungs. There, don’t say
     anything for a while, don’t even think in words,
     think in whatever is beyond the thought of words,
     the nameless world that you try so hard to forget
     by naming everything. Take away the caws from the sky,
     take away the rumble from the ice and while you’re at it
     take away the hiss of today’s headlines, like air leaking
     out of the world. See what’s left after that and listen to it.

Again, there is the turning inward for answers, meanings, and, perhaps more importantly, the turning to pure experience – the experience of events before the interference of language. In this wordless realm, we might even get closer to how a god lives and experiences time and the world, as we eventually will. In “Wild God,” we experience god in the Garden of Eden “when the earth was new and animals hadn’t been named yet.” We see god creating and rearranging the earth and then relaxing and admiring his work. Similar to “Rocky Coast,” there is a lengthy flash forward, but this time the experience is not imagistic – like being in a Dunkin’ Donuts – it’s in the experience of time as a god experiences time. When I read this poem the first time, I felt a shift in time, but I wasn’t sure how it happened. It was seamless and flowed naturally. After I paid closer attention to the tenses in the poem, I saw how in half a line the tense shifted from past to present, and the poem moved from millions of years ago to today almost instantaneously, in the blink of a god’s eye. Kestenbaum used syntax and not words to approximate the experience of time for a god. He didn’t explain or even show. He made an experience and made it feel real. In addition, this instantaneous passage of time also seems to suggest that the past resides in the present, or that the distance between past and present is not so far apart, such as for the 93-year old Dora on her deathbed in “The Passage,” who is dying in the present but living in the memories of her past.

Overall, Only Now creates the feeling that living and dying is a juggling act:

     Whether we spend our time
     fearing death or not, listening
     for its footsteps or plugging

     our ears, we all end up
     where we began, just dust
     combined with the weight
 
     of what we carried in the world. (“Scattered”)

It’s a juggling act of living in the now and with the past that made us into who we are now, while at the same time preparing for death, or even avoiding thinking about death like “young minds [who] can’t imagine not existing anymore” (“Back Then”). Stuart Kestenbaum through tight, interlocking poems gives experiences for how to live “As if the Tree of Life / is inside us” (“Breath”) within the precious time we have in our Only Now that is our only life. This is a book of poems I can’t recommend enough for the collective that is we.//

//

//

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Kestenbaum, Stuart. Only Now. Cumberland: Deerbrook Editions, 2014.//

14
Jun
14

Word Clouds and Sestina Writing Prompt

I am working on a full-length manuscript of poems currently titled Accumulation on the Door Hinge. In this collection, I use “orange,” the fruit or the color, as an accumulative objective correlative for my emotional and psychic state. You can read more about it here in Michael Meyerhofer’s interview with me (http://atticusreview.org/flinty-lyricism-an-interview-with-tom-holmes/) at Atticus Review.

I decided to make a word cloud out of the words in the manuscript, so far, just to see what’s going on. I had to make three of them at Wordle because I needed some form of accuracy since “orange” is in most of the poems and there is an eight-page poem that repeats “even now” every fifth line. So I needed versions without those words.

In the process of doing this, I thought up a writing exercise or writing prompt. The six most frequently occurring words in the manuscript can be used as the end words in a sestina. (Or maybe you can use the six least frequently occurring words.) Anyway, this is an easy and meaningful way to pick the end words. I might not use the six most frequent words, but I’m sure I’ll use six from the top ten. Also, the bigger the word in the cloud, the more often it appears in the text, and the smallest words occur the least. For whatever reason, the cloud considers contractions, such as “ll” or “ve” as in “I’ll” or “we’ve,” as words, but those can be dismissed.

So here’s a word cloud with all of the words in my manuscript. Note: there is “Orange” with a capital “O” and “orange” with a lower case “o.” “Orange” occurs 80 times in the 54-page manuscript.

The Door Hinge Word Cloud (all words)Here’s a word cloud that keeps all the occurrences of “orange” but removes the “even now” occurrences from the text.

The Door Hinge Word Cloud (no Even Now)

And here’s a word cloud of the manuscript with no occurrences of “orange” or “even now” in the text.

The Door Hinge Word Cloud (no orange or even now)Apparently, I have a lot of similes in manuscript :)

Anyway, you should give this a try with your manuscript. There are plenty of word cloud generators out there. I chose Wordle because it has multiple cloud shapes.//

 

 

07
Jun
14

Modernist Style, Contemporary Play, and Ecological Lament: On Betsy Andrews’ The Bottom

A version of this review (and a better edited version) may appear in a future issue of Redactions: Poetry, Poetics, & Prose. //

Betsy Andrews – The BottomBetsy AndrewsThe Bottom (42 Miles Press, forthcoming 2014), winner of the 2013 42 Miles Press Poetry Award, opens with the 48-page long poem “The Bottom,” which consists of 48 juxtaposed smaller poems varying in length from poems of 12 short lines to poems of 21 long lines. The poems feel like they arrive from a life experienced, or should I say, these ecological poems don’t seem a step removed from experience, as if written from only studying, or appropriating information from, texts about pollution, ecology, marine biology, etc. At the same time, this long opening poem, which is rooted in the Modernist tradition of long poems of disillusionment, exposes what lies behind the illusions from the denial of ecological harm or future ecological harm. And like a Modernism poem, the language is of the language spoken by everyday people (especially people from the United States), but unlike some Modernism poems, Andrews’ allusions are shared allusions of the American populace. Along the way, we encounter mermaids, Martians, and even Mr. Limpet (the Don Knotts character from Disney’s The Incredible Mr. Limpet.) With that in mind, this long poem is also very playful, which is a difficult endeavor to do in political poems without being didactic or heavy handed, but she succeeds by way of her playful allusions, irony (another Modernism device), and music – rhymes, internal rhymes, assonance, consonance, word repetition, etc. In addition, this music, unlike music in Modernism poems, feels like it is discovered or is spontaneously composed rather than imposed or purposely created to frame the mood of the poem. As a result, Andrews is able to entice the reader with the sugar of music and play and then deliver the ecological medicine. Fortunately, the medicine doesn’t arrive in one dose. Rather, it’s an accumulation of 48 little doses. And even though there are 48 different doses of poems, there is cohesiveness about them. Unlike some  long Modernism poems that often hope for a cohesiveness to be discovered, the cohesiveness is 48 different ways of looking at the harm to marine biology and ecology in ways in which a reader can experience – whether the experience comes from the real, the imagined, or the intersection of both.

If the poems are enough or aren’t enough to move the reader to an ecological empathy, The Bottom has, like The Waste Land, a notes section (which might also be a poem depending on how it is viewed) at the end titled “Tributaries.” The “Tributaries” lists the sources I assume Andrews read in composing this long poem or that were influential to her and fed into the making of this ocean of a book. “Tributaries” starts with The Oxford English Dictionary and then moves into newspapers, National Public Radio, national parks, books of myth and symbolism, books and articles about seashells, books and articles on marine biology, books about the aftermath of unrecoverable ecological harm, and then concludes with books, stories, songs, and writers that I assume are inspirational to her, such as Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Saxie Dowell’s “Three Little Fishies,” Anne Sexton, W. B. Yeats, and T. S. Eliot.

Betsy Andrews’ The Bottom is a short book that playfully moves in the imagined and heroically moves in the unimagined, and by the latter I mean that it moves heroically within the unimagined that is real and the “dry page of fact” and within the unimagined (or suppressed imagination) that exists because of the denials of ecological harm “when we go still and are quiet.”//

//

//

//

Andrews, Betsy. The Bottom. South Bend: 42 Miles Press, 2014.

23
May
14

Ecomedia: Songs of Healing and Texts of Iatrogenic Harm in Linda Hogan’s The Book of Medicines

Ecomedia: Songs of Healing and Texts of Iatrogenic Harm in Linda Hogan’s The Book of Medicines 

Linda Hogan – The Book of MedicinesLinda Hogan’s A Book of Medicine is concerned with a number of issues, such as the genocide of the Native Americans (as Emily Hegarty points out), the destructive results of men’s actions, women’s ability to create and maintain relationships, the environment, etc. It is also about the media of communication and the healing abilities or harm that can come from these media. In this collection of poems, there are essentially two modes of communication that are explored: song and text. Songs arise from within an entity, while words are spoken from a human-made language and often from a textual source.

Prior to the invention of the printing press or even before the creation of writing, song and voice had a monopoly on the media of communication. Noises arose from the speaker and communication was created. Meanings and ideas floated into the air and dissipated into the environment. Meanings and ideas were shared even if they couldn’t be recovered after spoken for closer scrutiny or revision. Song and voice came from within the speaker and went out into the world to be shared. With the rise of writing and printing, language started to evolve rules of syntax, grammar, and words that had more specific definitions. In addition, information could be stored, and it didn’t dissipate outwards. Once written, it stayed on the page. In addition, this new language started to assert itself into the environment. It imposed its meanings and rules on living and non-living entities. It encouraged an us-them relationship. According to David Gilcrest, “We have tended to view the European [language] tradition as hopelessly logocentric, in love with the Word (not the World), hostile to unmediated experience, in short, antithetical to the ecopoetic aesthetic” (22). Linda Hogan’s book, on one level, wants to address this European language tradition that is in love with the word and imposes itself onto nature and creates division and harm between humans and non-humans, whereas the ecopoetic aesthetic, or song in The Book of Medicines, creates a relationship between speaker and the speaker’s surrounding environment of living and non-living entities. Linda Hogan’s The Book of Medicines is a book about how to heal wounds by creating ecomedia relations through song and not by the use of logocentric division.

This paper will slowly evolve towards a definition of what is meant by ecomedia, but first, I would like to ground this paper by defining ecopoetry and ecopoetic aesthetic, as they will be used here. Even though, “[a] precise definition of ecopoetry has not yet been established” (Bryson, “Introduction” 3), a definition can be hinted at. According to Leonard M. Scigaj, ecopoetry is “poetry that persistently stresses human cooperation with nature conceived as dynamic” (5). In order to accomplish this human cooperation, Ecopoets “seem to know that the loss of relationship with the natural world is irrevocable, yet they continue to call for some sort of healing of that breach [. . .] and they certainly yearn for the relationship” (Bryson, “Preface” 3), and this loss of the natural world happened a long time ago. As a result, Ecopoetry, on one level, asserts our current relation with nature, ecology, and environment. In the ancient past, humans had relationships with nature and non-human entities (plants, animals, minerals, etc.), and their art reflected that relationship, as Hogan says:

                us
   who remember caves with red bison
   painted in their own blood,
   after their kind
                                                      (“The History of Red” 11-14). 

Today, modern humans have a relation where nature serves humans, and humans use it for their own ends. Ecopoetry, then, asserts the current divide’s harmful effects while trying to revive ancient-like relationships with nature in order to heal.

Ecopoets can do this in a number of ways. For instance, according to Scigaj, “‘human language is much more limited than the ecological process of nature.’ Ecopoets ‘recognize the limits of language while referring us in epiphanic moment to our interdependency and relatedness to the richer planet whose operations created and sustained us” (Gilcrest 19). In addition:

Scigaj explains, ecopoets “want the poem to challenge and reconfigure the reader’s perceptions so to put the book down and live life more fully in all possible dimensions of the moment of firsthand experience within nature’s supportive second skin and to become more responsible about that necessary second skin.” (Bryson, “Preface” 3).

The ecopoet then writes to create experience and to encourage the reader to live more closely with their environment instead of through the dividing media of a book or textual source. The ecopoet also “looks to discover the means to ‘go back’ to a time and place of nonduality and relational significance” (4). This nonduality and relational significance exists most naturally in a pre-linguistic environment or time, especially before Descartes, which I’ll get to later. It is in “the work of these contemporary [eco]poets, we get a perspective on the human-nonhuman relationship” (Bryson, “Introduction” 5), and for Linda Hogan, the medicine of healing and relational significance, in part, comes from song, and the harm – the divisive force – comes from language, especially written language.

To begin examining the difference between song and language in The Book of Medicines, a good place to start is with “The Alchemists,” which is the poem that opens “The Book of Medicines” section. In this poem, there is a high-level evolution of the divisiveness that language creates. The poem opens:

   By day
   they bent over lead’s
   heavy spirit of illness,
   asking it to be gold
                                (1-4)
 

Putre FactioThe alchemists, traditionally, see lead as gold that is ill or gold that is not arising to its potential. There is also the myth of the alchemists who are trying to convert lead into gold using various incantations and ingredients, like sulphur and cinnabar. In this stanza, however, we seem to be at an early stage of alchemy. Here the alchemists are “asking” the lead to be gold. They are not trying to change its state through magical spells or concoctions, but they are asking it to become its full potential – gold. In the poem’s penultimate stanza, however, we encounter the actions of an evolved, or more modern, alchemist:

   But he was only a man
   talking to iron,
   willing it to be gold.
                                   (38-40)
 

In this stanza, the alchemist moves from “asking” with reverence and respect to “talking to” the metal. The important preposition here is “to.” The alchemist is not talking “with” the metal as if in an equal relationship. He is talking to the iron. This relationship has turned from sympathy to subservience, or at least there is more distancing between the two and less empathy. There is the subtle shift in dominance of man over matter. This shift becomes more pronounced in the next line with “willing,” which suggests that by the alchemist’s powers alone he can deliberately force the iron to become or transform into a new object. He can will it to be something it is not, which is not dissimilar to the naming of the animals in “Naming the Animals.”

“Naming the Animals” begins:

   After the words that called legs, hands,
   the body
   of man out of clay and sleep
                                                            (1-3)
 

Here, words evoke man or conjure him up from earth and dreams. What is interesting here, however, is that these words are unmediated. That is, there are just words with no speaker or delivery system of the words. These words also name or make categories, such as “legs, hands,” and “body.” This is the beginning of language, and the man risen from the clay, or Adam as we learn by the end of the poem, usurps this language for his own ends and he imposes it on other non-Adamic entities. He names:

             
                wolf, bear, other
   as if they had not been there
   before his words [. . .]
   or sung themselves into life
   before him.
                                              (7-9, 11-12)


Adam Naming Animals Theophanes at MeteoraHe (Adam) imposes names onto other animals against their will and makes them an “other.” He took the unmediated words, appropriated them, and then used the medium of his body to name or categorize the non-Adamic creatures. He did not respect that they already had their own identities. These original identities did not come from words, but they came from song. Each animal sung itself into existence with its own song. So not only does Adam re-identify the creatures he also banishes them and “sent [them] crawling into the wilderness.” He created a me-them or me-other relationships with these animals.

The poem and time continue, and Adam’s children name a group of creatures “pigs.” We can’t be sure what group of creatures they actually are because Adam’s children have named them, but there is a voice that speaks for these creatures – the first person subject “I.” The I, or speaker of the poem, lives in the “wilderness” away from the “law and order” of Adam’s language, and she is old enough to remember a time, a pre-linguistic time (“before the speaking”), where there were “no edges to the names.” These names are the songs the animals sing to create themselves. In addition, these songs have “no edges,” unlike Adam’s words which categorize with defining edges. If there are no edges, then things flow into one another. There is no clear demarcation between living entities or non-living entities. There is a relationship, and this relationship is in a timeless space with “no beginning, no end.” However, after Adam stole language and started naming entities against their will, he also stole their powers to sing, which is a not only a source of creation but a form of connection, as suggested by the closing lines: “my stolen powers / hold out their hands / and sing through me.”

What can be noticed about the songs in this poem, and the songs throughout the book, is the songs have no words. Songs are like “breath in a flute” (“Nothing” 76). They are a breath mediated by the mouth to make meaningful noise. As a meaningful breath-noise, it instantly interacts and unifies with the air and environment. Despite the lack of words, the songs communicate, create, and form relationships, such as in “The Grandmother Songs.” This poem directly follows “The Alchemists” in order to juxtapose the divisive non-healing language of the alchemists with the embracing and healing abilities of song.

In “The Grandmother Songs,” songs “rose of out of wet labor.” They were part of the birthing process. The baby and their songs were as one and one creation. These songs also “made a shape around me [the speaker], / a grandmother’s embrace” (7-8). In addition, “Song was the pathway where people met / and animals crossed” (25-6). These songs, then, created life and made relationships. Songs also have the powers of “finding the lost” (12), to create rain (13), and to enable a woman to “fly” (18). Perhaps this is also the stolen power referred to in “Naming the Animals.” Nonetheless, song creates and unifies.

Most important, perhaps, is that song is also a medicine that can heal when the body is recognized “as agent of experience” (Wegenstein 21). According the Wegenstein, there is a “tension between the body as object and as agent of experience” (21) and examples of this can be seen in “the art of healing across culture” (22). Wegenstein continues:

Western culture since the sixteenth century has developed methods for opening the body and examining it for symptoms of disease or other conditions to be eradicated.  [. . .] More recently, the ongoing development of medical imaging technologies has improved our access to the body’s insides, put the body on display in deeper and even more inclusive ways, and thus facilitated the exposition of factors contributing to disease. (22-3)

Looking back at “The Alchemists,” we see two types of healing. One is healing the lead by respectfully asking it to change its form, as we see, in stanza one (treating the body as “agent of experience”), and the other is a doctor trying to heal patient (body “as object”) in stanza four. Stanza four opens with the speaker’s “father behind a curtain. He has been separated from others within the “sick ward” environment. This father also “heard a doctor / tell a man where the knife / would cut flesh,” or separate skin. He also hears a man “reading from a magical book.” This recalls stanzas five and six of “The History of Red,” where we encounter the origins of Western medicine:

   The doctors wanted to know
   what invented disease
   how wounds healed
   from inside themselves
   [. . .]
   They divined the red shadows of leeches
                                                           (40-44, 47)
 

In “The History of Red,” the reader also encounters cutting “the wall of skin” and the doctors “reading the story of fire,” which I take to be the “magical book,” which is a book of words, and perhaps incantations. This brings us back to the closing of “The Alchemists.” The words this doctor speaks are akin to those more modern alchemists with their incantations of trying to turn or force lead into gold. According to Hegarty, “[f]or Hogan the doctor is just another alchemist” (165), and “if the surgeon’s diagnostic [or even the alchemist’s] speech ‘had worked / we would kneel down before it / and live forever’” (165). Of course his speech and words do not work because the written language, even when spoken, does not recognize that the body harmonizes within itself and outside of itself. The doctor’s “focus on the body as a visible object tends to obscure the bodily agency that is at work, for example, in fighting disease” (Wegenstein 23). Not only that, the doctor’s language sets up a Cartesian tension between body and mind, where the passive body is “manipulated by the mind” (Wegenstein 23) of the doctor and the doctor’s language and tools. As a result, there is a

phenomenological differentiation between “being a body” and “having a body”: the former, insofar as it designates the process of living the body, the first-person perspective, coincides with dynamic embodiment; the latter, referencing the body from an external, third-person perspective, can be aligned with the static body. (21)

The doctor provides that “third-person perspective” and Cartesian duality not only between body and mind but between patient’s body and doctor’s body, whereas the healing song comes from within the body and yokes together the mind, body, and environmental dynamic.

The healing song recognizes that body “is an expression of its environment on all scales, from the microscopic to the cosmic” (23). Further, in some non-Western medicines, “[r]ather than inspect the individual body piecemeal for specific causes” (23), as the doctors in “The Alchemist” and in “The History of Red” do, a non-Western medicine “looks at the balance or harmony within and without the body, and seeks to intervene in order to alter this relation in beneficial ways” (23). So, when the grandmother is under “the false death of surgery” (26) in “The Grandmother Songs,” she is forced to sing “for help” (27), which is similar to the out reached hands singing at the end of “Naming the Animals.” The song reaches out for help and not only physical help but temporal help, as well. It reaches out to an “older history” (37), a time “before the time of science / before we fell from history” (“Flood: The Sheltering Tree” 26-7). In “Flood: The Sheltering Tree,” “Land takes back the forgotten name of rain” and enables people to hear rain’s “wet song” (29) and smell its “smell of healing” (30). This ancient song-healing medicine, which can come from the song of a wolf as well, as it does in “The Fallen,” is a song the modern alchemists and doctors “did not learn healing / from” (25-6).

The doctors and alchemists in The Book of Medicines, in a sense, are like Ferdinand de Saussure who points out that language or signs do not have a direct link or causal link to the actual, physical thing it represents or express. Claude Lévi-Strauss would add that words, or written language, are a “secondary system of representation, figures deferment, absence, difference, and inauthenticity” (Liu 319) as opposed to speech which suggests “immediacy, presence, identity, and authenticity” (319). Stated differently, words label and distance, and as a result the language of modern western medicine cannot heal effectively, as Hegarty pointed out. The language creates an iatrogenic relationship, and according to Hegarty, wounds or diseases are “iatrogenic caused by the diagnosis, manner, or treatment of physical diseases” (165). “It is a language,” according to Hogan, “that is limited emotionally and spiritually, as if it can’t accommodate such magical power and strength” (Dwellings 45-6). Song, however, does have a direct link with the thing it represents. It comes from the voice of the object singing itself into existence, causing relationships, and the medicine of healing. This is the ecomedia that was mentioned before.

Ecomedia is not objective or textual. It is sound with meaning that connects with others and bonds with the environment. It does not harm or divide. It is available to all humans and non-humans or any entity that can sing for itself.

As a result of ecomedia, especially song, Linda Hogan can endure and heal from the sickness that is presented in “Sickness”:

   If we are all one,
   then in my hand
   is the mortal enemy,
   the one that felled the forest,
   struck the fire,
   the doctors of torture
   living at the edge of sanity
   that, like broken glass,
   does not call itself sharp.
                                             (1-9)
 

This destruction even enters “inside” (16) herself, and “It went to work. / It tried to take my tongue” (25-6), which recalls the end of “Naming the Animals”: “my stolen powers / hold out their hands / and sing through me” (36-8). Her stolen powers are an ecomedium. And it’s from the reaching-out power of the ecomedium song, the reaching out for help and embrace, the “singing for help” (“The Grandmother Songs” 27) during the “false death of surgery” (26) that Hogan is able to survive and write poetry and write The Book of Medicines and make the claim at the end of “Sickness” that her poetry “words / these words are proof / there is healing” (27-8), and healing that comes from song. Note, however, she uses a word from the world that is not part of the ecomedia world, a word that belongs to science and Western medicine, a word Descrates would use, as well, and that word is “proof.” Not only does her song heal the divide that Western medicine creates with its textual language, but it’s a word that can communicate to the logocentric world, and if the logocentric world can accept this word and this “proof” of an ecomedium or ecomedia, then perhaps it too can learn to sing the unmediated healing song that is medicine.

 

//

Works Cited

Bryson, J. Scott. “Introduction.” Ecopoetry: A Critical Introduction. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2002. 1-16. Print.

—. “Preface.” The West Side of Any Mountain: Place, Space, and Ecopoetry. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2005. 1-6. Print.

Gilcrest, David. “Regarding Silence: Cross-Cultural Roots of Ecopoetic Meditation.” Ecopoetry:  A Critical Introduction. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2002. 17-28. Print.

Hegarty, Emily. “Genocide and Extinction in Linda Hogan’s Ecopoetry.” Ecopoetry: A Critical Introduction. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2002. 162-75. Print.

Hogan, Linda. Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World. New York: Norton, 1995.

—. The Book of Medicines. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1993. Print.

Liu, Lydia H. “Writing.” Critical Terms for Media Studies. Eds. W. J. T. Mitchell and Mark B. N. Hansen. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010. 310-26. Print.

Wegenstein, Bernadette. “Body.” Critical Terms for Media Studies. Eds. W. J. T. Mitchell and Mark B. N. Hansen. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010. 19-34. Print.

//

 




The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013. Forthcoming in late Autumn of 2014.)

The Cave

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

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