Sunday, March 11, 2007


This is in the category of 'I thought you would never ask and you didn't' or 'I can't resist ducking even if I'm not punched'. It is a backchannel gone bad about the recent discourse. But so what.

I am grateful for everything, most of which was soulful rage at police criticism but some of which was support for my being.

Rules of the River is an object made partially of translations. The first poem in it is a mature poem which is ferocious about the limitations of depicting a complex horror and way that horror works on the person's vision. The rules of it. It is a stitching of fragments showing external editing. It is literally done outside of me. It is about an actual incident dealt with by poetry. Translated to poetry. It maps the eye and mind moving to 'take in' that horror.

The second poem, the series, is a game the reader is invited to play about poetry. It starts with a very 'young' poem (the basic thing was written when I was nineteen, I translated it a little later to be the work of a quite dark, fragmented woman in a book I wrote called "Borderline: Casebook Translations", then I contained it in a chapbook called "Poems From the Beak" which was to have been written byher. But forget that. It's over. Get on with it.)

That poem was chosen for the game ruthlessly. Not because it was goodor bad but because it was a fit subject, authentically happened, and had a kind of feeling good to throw to mutilation and fragmentation and then try to bring it back, to see what it was. Like me. The fragmentation comes from the 'others' like the other languages, images, words, ideas, realities.

The first poem is not mature but has a voice of apparent weary and wary experience, like it actually is.

That first poem then deals with the frustrating limitations of vision as an exploration of both language and how the eye works with images, and the pain of that. It is too a fragmented poem but this time one that isn't resolved except by the pieces of the image it is moving over, or that are is going through it, like a Prism. It just can say what it ends up with as the input shifts.

It is trying to get at a woman and a river.

Then come the translations. Not completely Babblefish, not much, but however limited and ruled by the way in which the poem tries, with eye and mind to do absolutes by moving through changes, hurt but helped by that as well. It had a personal background in looking at some of the translated poetry in each language and knowing some people. It has references and associations. But each part is on its own, outside of me, from the integrity of choosing the original, to giving it up, so that each one continues the game and reveals things also on its own.

The overall object ends up being, I think, like heraclitan waves (how rivers work in physics and philosophy), if you read it out loud, and consists of some poetic curiosities of how the meanings were found. It does invite the reader to make poems outside of themselves in language. And some do.

It is also furious in voice, pained, as it keeps going on, the rules keep changing, the absolutes contend. Sometimes redemption. Sometimes not. Sometimes alive grasping, sometimes not. That is a fair play depiction. With optics. At cost.

The eye context provided for this game by the artist's work is that in part the artist's work requires the eye to move around too, with the mind and make a narrative, which it can't do. It has to leave the art stand. The artist's pieces reflect on one another in a way like the poems do, and vice versa. My contention is that by doing that, observer is invited, in images and limitations, and works of fragments integrated somehow by the art itself, to try to get at something, perhaps beautiful in a new way outside themselves. Visual art is a translation of the real in optics. And interaction (dare I say dialectic!)

Even if it is only the beautiful horror of the rules just about a river and a woman, and a poem, and trying to get it.

The book is an object. It is a made object by many hands and adiscourse of them in selection and execution which is interesting as an event. As an object like its makers it has biography.

Well put together and edited. Bless them all. And it should be dealt with as a thing in itself. You don't need explaination of course, unless you want someone to participate in another way.

But what do I know.

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