Sunday, August 20, 2006

* a dusi/e-chap kollektiv

* a dusi/e-chap kollektiv

* a dusi/e-chap kollektiv is a congregation of poets all of whom have printed a limited edition of 50 chaps of their own design and production under the auspices of Dusie and its first annual collective chap press. The project aims to satisfy two aspects of publishing, the creative small chap which one can easily distribute among peers and have for readings as well as the fabulously viable and easily distributable to a wider readership as an e-chap which will be soon available online at Dusie for Issue Four. So far I have received 20 chaps, all varying sizes, poetries and design, all of which are very beautiful, honest and interesting pieces. The level of poetry created in such a short time (most of this poetry was created over the last month) has been quite astounding for me. Being a writer can be a very lonely vocation, but with the rest of the group of 43 poets at hand/or at list-serve as it were for various discussions about poetics, publishing and personal projects, an obvious and great collective effort took place, and many if not all of us became quite enthralled or obsessed with this project. Some went out on a limb using various new editor programs or variants of word files to create the right paginations, one poet bought a chap side-stapler and is now considering publishing chaps through her press, others hand or machine sewed their bindings and we also have many brilliantly put together little chaps that are variants of the ancient Japanese book-binding tradition. I am also pleased to report as well that we have a number of collaborative works as well.

Here is a list/explicative of the chaps I have received so far:

Interpretations of text, chap form, and binding: I want to begin with Cheryl Quimba’s tiny tiny chap, A POEM, which is most certainly proof that size does not always matter. So small and precious with its plaid checked cover and hand-stitched seam, it puts me in way of the tiny epics of Angria. This keeper will most certainly grace one of my numerous shadow boxes. Jon Leon’s TRACT chap provides us with another very interesting interpretation of binding, most excellent in light of the subject matter as well, safety pins. While kari edwards is hiding out in the Tamil part of India she has produced a broadside type of chap for us all, BHARAT JIVA, perhaps inspired by the reality of postage and environmental impact of paper usage in her quest to have less of a paper-trail. Jonathan Skinner and Jane Sprague have utilized a page from an environmental or business dossier of sorts (it’s in French otherwise I’d be more specific) for their cover stock for the collaborative chap ENTROPIC LIBERTIES. Having just received, DISBATCH: by Marci Nelligan and Nicole Mauro, my favorite thing so far is the binding (held in place by a screw and bit). This collaborative chap illustrates that one can produce a beautiful chap creatively with materials close at hand, as the pages are ordinary colored construction paper and roughly 2‘4 inches in diameter. Betsy Fagin utilized the said Japanese influence when binding and creating ROSEMARY STRETCH, while the original of Jill Magi’s, FROM COMPASS AND HEM appears to be typed on small patches of linen. I also have two beautifully hand sewn chaps in way of Mark Lamoureaux’s, NIGHT SEASON and David Goldstein’s cleverly titled BEEN RAW DICTION which has a spiral cut-out on the cover, which my 2-year old instantly pointed at and said schnecke (snail). Jared Hayes’ RECOLLECTED is a another hand sewn ambitious and noteworthy chap which is a performative and dialogic homage collaborative reading/writing of Ted Berrigan, the inside pages of which creatively cut in threes as to provide the reader with hundreds if not thousands of variations.

Several poets have used the artistic assistance of visual artists. Jules Boykoff has produced a beautiful little chap, THE METAL SUNSET OF TOMORROW’S ASCENDING DISSENSION with cover art by Trygve Faste. In some ways Boykoff’s chap is also collaborative as he employs a poetic form of his own design, where he writes poems which begin and end with a line from various poets. John Sakkis’ COAST has cover art by Lauren Kohne, which compliments his ‘alien-green’ card-stock well. Jen Hofer’s beautiful chap, *LAWS* which utilizes envelopes for the covers and are machine-sewed by her friend from the local eco-village, Federico Tob√≥. I also really enjoy how she’s employed the title line: of deaths. dailies, speculations, nascense (shares) for every page of poetry of the typed, of which every cover was typed individually! Philip Jenks worked with Tanja Miljevic for his cover design as well as featured his own photographic montage throughout, HOW MANY OF YOU ARE YOU?

The remaining chaps are what I would classify as more traditional in way layout and size, but again they’re all quite unique in way of poetic innards: Ellen Baxt’s ANALFABETO/ AN ALPHABET just arrived today and really ends in what surely must be one of the best last-liners I’ve read in a long while, “Sit next to me. Blacklist flatterer. Slow my lion”. Logan Ryan Smith’s, 2 POEMS FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE BARREL, was printed on letter sized paper and a triple side-stabled binding, yet the slender form of which inside made for quite a flowing, mellifluous read as well as a voice clearly US American. ISHMAEL AMONG THE BUSHES by William Allegrezza is a meditative little chap which gives one the feeling of ‘walking’ with the poet, or peering over his shoulder among the other dead. FULL-FIGURED RHAPSODY by Sheila Murphy, bordering lyrical metaphysical, this dense little chap is a keeper I have already read several times. Sarah Mangold sends us PICTURE OF THE BASKET , while Harmut Abendschein, TALSCHL√úSSE, a poetic series in Deutsch from Bern, Switzerland. IDENTITY CRISIS has got to be the first chap-book/poem which utilizes Ron Silliman’s blog as source text, namely in Silliman’s ever- prodigious poet-roll. This is by Anonymous, I’m curious to see how long it will be before this anonymous author is uncovered and what the take will be on the anonymous aspect, which still bears a copyright symbol in the inside pages of this surely flarf inspired composition.

Susana Gardner, ed.
Schaffhausen, Switzerland
June 2006 (written during the project so all chapbooks are not included)

(This was written for and originally published in BOOG CITY, issue#35, for BOOG a free poetry zine/paper produced and distributed in NYC)

Friday, August 18, 2006

Amy King, The Good Campaign, *a dusi/e-chap, 2006

Review by Chris Rizzo

Possibly the most interesting place to begin reading The Good Campaign is its final couplet: “You’ll have more than this passing ever after / where skin after sin swallows into us now.” One long poem comprised of eleven lyric sections, King’s text is an exploration of the couplet, the simplest principle that organizes the work throughout, and the simplest principle that organizes human relationships. What can we make of this final couplet, the point at which the couplings of The Good Campaign officially end?

Such a question leads me back to “where skin after sin swallows into us now.” King’s penchant for quicksilvering syntax is one of her greatest strengths as a poet. Here, “skin” becomes the “sin” that unexpectedly “swallows into us now,” i.e., pores not only sweat (expel) but also take in the “now,” an urgent yet organic process of feeling through a moment that somehow goes morally awry. And the text offers no conclusions about this “sin,” but rather a maelstrom of clues that keep us rapt:

“Friend, your corpus harp reminds me / of existence gone missing”

“I’m not invested in mulching truths at all, / I’m merely a fan of the fur that’s touched”

“Which came first, a graffiti of injury / or the limned outline across the floor?”

“Did you lasso up my voice? Lying by your hips? / A car appears the safest place in a storm.”

Or, this entire section:

In celluloid fashion, waitresses play
musical chairs, never the same face reflected

In a glass of wine, between sips the napkin
flies, gently off, onto your arm, able all along.

What would life be like around you?
I want a stomach for a pillow,

A film that renders a film sufficient,
crises carried in care. One of us reminds the other

Of a hostage who falls for her babysitter,
anchored sharp on gluegunned I love yous,

This incomplete answer escapes its yes,
a museum-shelved painting as evidence—

Who will seek your footnoted solos
for the gender that sidesteps its name?

Campaigns are about ends, and King’s campaign is no exception. The question of “sin” (and all the language that the question suggests, e.g., error, shame, etc.) is “incomplete,” yet must suffice in being its own individual and particular system of meaning. The Good Campaign is indeed good because it is made “of mathematical matchsticks / for the romance of gluing together,” the form(ula) of the couplet leaving us with more than one answer, one end, one art. A lack of both definitive closure and closed definitions leave the text hauntingly ambiguous, i.e., ambiguous in the sense of textual space, into which the reader can enter. King’s phrase “gluing together” could either mean two individuals romantically stuck to one another, or two individuals who share the process of putting together their singular, yet broken lives. Perhaps the phrase points to both these interpretations at once, but not even “gluegunned I love yous” are enough to hold a coupling together—or one’s life, for that matter—and this human problematic seems a sin, a shame, a lack out of which poems are made. Glittering, enigmatic, beautiful and of consequence, King’s lyricism makes “legs unfurl, brainstems burn, and trumpets / bone the room.” In a good way, The Good Campaignwill leave you wanting.