Thursday, October 02, 2008

I feel guilty for all the recent books that I have gotten--living authors, poetry espesh--that I have not writ about. blogs are just that tool for quick reports, if not more in depth, and my blog, completely free of trans fats, is simply waiting for more and ever more content. I hope to rectify this lack of public noticing, and at the least present more assiduously some thoughts on what I have read/am reading, etc. so one more chapbook from Faux Press:

Subsistence Equipment by Brenda Iijima.

as I mentioned with Orizaba by Stacy Szymaszek, design of these chaps is similar. Faux Press delivers a consistent concept, let us say, which connects the writers by way of editorial choice. it works, and as I have said previously, the design makes these chaps inform and connect to each other, tho they were not written with that in mind.

Iijima's work is an unnumbered chunk of text with no titles or headings. such blocks of text are forbidding to some extent, at least for those of us who get nervous without footholds. I write that while having writ my share of forbidding blocks of text. reader must find a way in. in is in the words here, simply enough, perhaps rhythm and sound.

first line:

Struggling city skeletal intermingle serial order existence

little punctuation in this work. I am disconcerted by occasional punctuation but this is not worth being anal about. but it does make me think why this lone comma.

each line is capitalized. authors make choices.

mostly regular spacing but with some extensions, exalted breaths.

the sense of verbal monolith breaks down as one reads/speaks and respects the words. as I read, the felicities unveil. it is a text. I take it as an exercise, as, say, Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer. where the press of text forward, over the 'long haul', instigates the poem. the poem converses. I could imagine that Iijima, like Mayer, wrote the text in one day, with that as the stated goal when beginning. if not, there natheless remains a sense of process. I also think of Coolidge as I read, in the sense of translating sensory experience into word alignments, which is not the same as description. you could say that what Iijima writes is her state of mind, but it is the idea of stating that does not seem accurate, I guess because of the musicality that I hear. 'what felt through the cracks is want' is punny but it rattles interest by sounding a familiar note that is not exactly what we hear. this sort of partial transmogrification happens thru out the poem, part of Iijima's hearing, and more like a penitent pun than straightforward exercise. 'ratcheted up to strangest denominator'. the title seems pretty canny.

lines come from anywhere, it seems:

'American career girl cleavage'

'Tally ho leeward below the kneeling'

'At the real place 96 degrees hot day to do this'

'Separate events from time'

I am fishing these lines out randomly. I should be clear that this is not the reading. Iijima's metric is almost entirely three-lined stanzas, tho lines of varying length. one steps first at the level of line, the syntactical oddity and picture conveyed. how these lines combine is the reader's larger work, which I can only suggest at this time that one should do. the grand involvement of lines into stanzas and stanzas into poem are the work of work, and time. to which I recommend thee. and me.