At Montevidayo, Joyelle McSweeney holds forth “On Loaded Guns 1: Emily Dickinson, Bomb of Amherst”
In the past year I’ve found my thoughts returning & returning to Dickinson’s Loaded Gun (Poem 754). How is the body (and the body of the poem) a vessel of violence, but not of agency, a site from which violence returns and goes, is doubled up, masked, wears the mask of another, shines its face everywhere? The loaded gun is an amplifier, a medium. It sounds the landscape through its roar and glare. It replaces the sun and, part camera flash and part nuclear bomb, develops the landscape like the bomb at Hiroshima which burnt shadows permanently into sidewalk.
Then, since you’re at Montevidayo, it’s probably best just to read everything else as well.
At Big Other, J/J Hastain provides us with a “Creative Engagement with Kate Durbin’s The Ravenous Audience.”
Durbin engages our ravening desire by way of many movements within [The Ravenous Audience — hereafter “TRA“]. One particularly stunning movement nourishes us by way of her turning the words female body and woman body into the words: “femalebody,” “womanbody.” This gesture feels to me like an inverse-aphasia: the enabling of language from its pre (where it might not have indicated the exact thing trying to be told) to a declarative power (“femaleflesh consists of fat, mostly” / “the nude femalebody is a strip of paper at the bottom of a serving dish” / “the culinary nature of the taking off of clothes from the womanbody”).
Of femalebodies (in TRA) there are three dominants: Amelia Earhart, Marilyn Monroe, and the central female figure (also the new-to-menstruation daughter?) that spends much of the pages of the book in gory forms of confessional telling. These three are Durbin’s monsters (“these, my monsters. Makeshift. One-eyed. Three-limbed.”) and the monsters include herself.
At The Collagist, Lisa A. Flowers reviews Kim Hyesoon’s All the Garbage of the World, Unite! (translated by Don Mee Choi, published by Action Books in 2011).
Kim Hyesoon’s All the Garbage of the World, Unite! comes on like a menstrual-blood filled water balloon exploding in Roy Lichstenstein’s face. Combining the reproductive and bodily horrors of “Eraserhead” with a birds & bees educational filmstrip directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis, the second collection by the noted South Korean poet is a pop art nursery, a feminist Kindergarten avant-garde warzone where a shrapnel sheared-off leg with painted toenails is as apt to land beside you as an angry pink Fisher Price toy box spouting womanly fluids….
A blood-jetting glee, an abstract, exuberant verbiage—messy with finger and splatter paints —churns out remarkable images like a prodigious child rotating on a sprinkler system. Hyesoon is particularly adept in evoking the incomprehensible processes of the body through the lens of childhood, as in “A Christmas Morning’s Trumpet”:
The naked angels took a foam bath inside the clouds
God lay down next to them wearing a feminine napkin
The eagles that fed on human flesh dripped down like a dirty tattoo
Sticking onto the backs of men
They wanted to become angels, but they were so strong
That they became scary animals instead
So she comes after Mina Loy, before Harryette Mullen, and is of the same generation as Sylvia Plath sans the early exit. She anticipates and perhaps influences (haven’t asked) some of the grotesquer corners of the Gurlesque as in work by Ariana Reines, Danielle Pafunda, Lara Glenum, and others; the Necropastoral as explored by Joyelle McSweeney, Johannes Göransson, and others; and the flamboyantly femme Flarf of Nada Gordon and Sharon Mesmer. I see her in Sandra Simonds’ work too. I see her, accidentally and by way of these others, in some of mine [see the humble, non-self-linking author’s website at shannacompton.com –TSky Eds.]. It’d be interesting to read Kim Hyesoon’s Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers alongside Mansour’s Phallus & Mommies. I’m planning to spend a lot more time with her work, figuring out what she’s done (to me, to us, to poetry).
Read the rest here–and discover that because we came late to Compton’s post, you come late to the poetry reading that she hosted in honor of Mansour. (Sorry!)
Here’s seven lines of what we didn’t get to hear read aloud:
Sickness with its floating moustache
Hovers over me
Each time my eyes meet under the table
Its long musical hand
Stuffs itself between my breasts
And strangles my abscess
In an egg
–from Joyce Mansour’s “Handsome Monster”
in Essential Poems & Writings of Joyce Mansour,translated by Serge Gavronsky (Black Widow Press)
Also, we’d just like to like to note that the cover of Compton’s new book of poetry, Brink, due out any moment from Bloof Books, should probably win a design award: