Sunday, November 20, 2011
TENDER BUTTONS COMICS
Sandra Gibbons' OBJECTS from TENDER BUTTONS takes a cornerstone of experimental writing and reimagines it in full color, as a serial comic.
OBJECTS from TENDER BUTTONS is a limited-edition full-color comic in the form of 12 cards and envelopes. All 12 cards (and envelopes) come in a box hand-stamped "OBJECTS." It is available for $18 US here.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Curated by David Abel
November 4 – 26, 2011
Object Poems brings together striking and varied works by contemporary artist-poets and poet-artists: poems in three dimensions; interactive poems; found poems; sculptural and utilitarian poems; conceptual poems; poems that depart in myriad ways from the familiar form of the printed page. The exhibition features more than thirty artists from across the United States, as well as Canada, England, Scotland, and Uruguay, including seven artists from Oregon.
David Abel, the curator, says that “there have been a number of exhibitions and publications devoted to the work of authors as artists: paintings, drawings, sculptures, created independently of the writings for which they are primarily known. To assemble this exhibition, in contrast, I searched for three-dimensional works that had been created as poems, by means of a compositional and poetic practice that was not separate from the artist’s written work. The range of genres, media, and styles is remarkable and demonstrates again the interdependence of advances in all the arts.”
Saturday, October 15, 2011
3120 N. Williams Ave.
$5.00 suggested donation
Chris Ashby is a writer, musician, and poet. His work has appeared in James Yeary's newsletter, Creep of Light, and is forthcoming in Sam Lohmann's Peaches and Bats and visual artist Nate Orton's My Day series. He splits his time as a graduate student at Portland State University and a forestry technician with the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Brent Cunningham is a writer, publisher and visual artist currently living in Oakland with his wife and daughter. His first book of poetry, Bird & Forest, was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2005; his second book, Journey to the Sun, will be published next month by Atelos Press. In 2005 he and Neil Alger founded Hooke Press, a chapbook press dedicated to publishing short runs of poetry, criticism, theory, writing and ephemera. Since 1999 he has worked at Small Press Distribution in Berkeley.
from After Language
Blowing through the trumpet, he resembled a weasel in sight and sound. Would you please take out the trash and wash the dishes? If we crawled in, we would be children in the monster's mouth. She was having a permanent out of body experience. We rolled off the boat holding our noses, anticipating the splash. His background in Guatemala City had been the impetus for becoming a traveling clown, and he wouldn't have met her if anything had been different. It's good to know that sometimes we don't have to do anything but look at one another. I sang to her, not to hear myself or as an attempt to impress her, but to hear her sing for she was apprehensive to do it if one asked her without a concrete reason. To take the newspaper and treat it is as artifact in order to expand the boundaries of performance. What is the original doom track? It is the ocean both crashing on the rocks one moment and gently rolling away the next.
from Journey to the Sun
it's true you must study
it's true you must reason
coming ever nearer to THINGS
& who gets to have them
moving & burning & crying
boring & overbearing
it will never be easy
but what else were you doing
8 hours a night
dividing & symbolizing
conjugating & declining
stars & animals & literatures
famine & practice cities
& cave-men literally DEMENTED
& now look at them
out in the malls
waving their hats
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
SE 12TH AND ASH, PORTLAND, OREGON
David Abel is the author of the chapbooks Commonly (Airfoil),While You Were In and Let Us Repair (disposable books, with Leo & Anna Daedalus), and Black Valentine (Chax); a full-length collection is forthcoming in 2012 from Chax Press in Tucson. With Sam Lohmann, he publishes the Airfoil chapbook series. He has devised numerous solo and collaborative performance, film, and intermedia projects; a member of the Spare Room reading series (now in its tenth year), he teaches classes in reading and writing poetry at the Multnomah Arts Center, where he is also the coordinator of the Literary Arts program.
James Yeary is publisher of the little press c_L, and is a frequent correspondent of Nate Orton’s My Day zine series. For reading series Spare Room he has organized an afternoon of poetry for multiple voices and a marathon reading of The Maximus Poems of Charles Olson. He was born in the early afternoon, the point of the day he prefers to be done writing.
Maryrose Larkin is author of Book of Ocean, The Name of this Intersection is Frost, Darc, Inverse and Marrowing. Her next book,The Identification of Ghosts, is forthcoming from Chax Press. She is a member of the Spare Room Collective, as well as a co-editor of Flash+Card Press. Maryrose is interested in using new and old technology to move through the procedural into the unknowable.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Color and Collage is Schwitters' first single-artist retrospective held in the United States in 25 years. It features primarily collages (which he would refer to as drawings, paintings, or Merz) from the Berlin period, where he spent most of his career, moving to Norway in 1937 (read: fleeing the Nazis), and there are just a couple pieces from this period, and then leaving Norway for London, where he spent the rest of his life, dying in 1948. There are a number of London pieces, and, like Norway there are surprising differences between each period, Norway I would call the stark difference, save for that it is so underrepresented (so few works survive), it is probably a stretch to make any generalizing claims about the Norway work.
As you should now, in each locale- Berlin, Norway (Oslo? - I'll check later), London- Schwitters built into each of his living spaces an incredible architectural collage, which he called Merzbau. The first two were destroyed, the London Merzbau I believe still exists. I had thought that this exhibition was an actual reconstruction of the London Merzbau, but it in fact only includes a replica of the Norway Merzbau based on photographs. This replica of Merzbau doesn't end up being as impressive as my dreams- it's more informative than aesthetic, with scraps from the photographs that the Merzbau replica was based on included architecturally. These documentary insertions give some idea, I guess as how to compare the replica to the original (the replica is clearly more spare), and in some ways it comes off as quaint. It is, however, um, very cool. We are given a into into the end-point of Cubism.
Schwitters, just for the record, does seem to have Merzbau as integrally related to Cubism, btw.
And the dialogue between the two (thinking of the early Picasso and Braque with the single train ticket or newspaper fragment pasted into an oil painting, ending in the Merzbau's haunting subconsious of white paint, angles, and fragments- detritus from art and life) is incredible. The suggestions of the realtionship between Schwitters, or Merz (as he referred to his one-man movement) and other art movements is also telling.
In the mid-twenties, Schwitters became close, at least briefly to El Lissitzky and Theo Van Doesburg (Constructivism and DeStijl represented in these figures). There is a three-dimensional (I should say more three-dimensional, as most of the Merz pieces are more or less three-dimensional) piece called "Merz 1924,1. Relief mit Kreuz und Kugel" (Relief with Cross and Ball), where you have the cross, really a fragment of a grid coming from the wall, almost a half foot deep, in grays and black, hugging a red ball. Above all of these is pasted a fragment of an imagined surface, what appears to be an architectural sketch of solid and broken intersecting diagonal lines on a beige paper, which appears like a fragment of an imagined surface, suggestive of skin, or a surface unrefined. This is the more typical Merz in this fragment, placed above the "perfect" academic skeleton of deStijl.
Schwitters' collages of detritus refuse the vainglory or artists of excision (Pound, Broodthaers, myself) off their subjects. Was this, were these collages a long mediation on, or following, Picasso's sticking of a train ticket onto wet paint? Did Picasso grow weary of glorious art, knowing that he could "lower" his art with this gesture and still be praised for it? There may have been a formalism or structure in those first Cubist collages of Picasso and Braque, but it also may have been born there.
Schwitters' pitting of "sense against nonsense" is an analysis, or a celebration of art and its edge, the ledge where art is overlapping with happenstance. The interest seems to be something beyond chance, or beneath it. Merz is perfectly impure. It may contain some formalistic superstructure, some "design sense" but the details of the piece will resist it. One possible reading of the Merz collages are as examinations of the design principle, abstract formalism, undermined by the elements of the units of collage.
In "Iockere Vierecke" (loose rectangles) there is a horizontal crease, a the trace of a fold not quite halfway down the collage, which reminds me of Courbet's "Burial at Ornans," which I saw at the Musee d'Orsay in 2006. The Burial at Ornans was also apparently folded twice, causing the museum lighting to create a glare on the upper portion of the painting (which is one of the largest paintings I have ever seen), making it very difficult to see. This crease, in Schwitters' collage, does not so much contrast with as appear to be a nuanced evolution from the nail he would drive into a collage, in his words: "so as to produce a plastic relief apart from the pictorial quality of the paintings. I did this so as to efface the boundaries between the arts." With the crease here a step further is taken. A quality, as a nail or frame is a quality, showing itself thru light, apart from the ages, a-temporal, reflecting the clumsiness of the hand without the necessity of intentions, though also without the necessity of that intention's lacking. It runs thru the various papers, scraps, that compose Iockere Vierecke, and is reminiscent of others, of wrinkles in the individual scraps, which suddenly appear to be deltas or the confluence of rivers, running alongside the mountain range the crease appears to be in this light, before it all turns back to garbage.
remove the appearance
of human intention
and then remove the
apparition of natural
the result is not of
the world but is one,
all, a new but not
recent, built neither
on the back of man or
nature, which break
with the idiom
if possible between
play off sense
(producing a third)
no pictures allowed in here
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Last night I saw Sarah Dougher's musical rendition of Leslie Scalapino's Fin de Siècle, presented as a part of PICA's TBA festival. The composition was arranged for five voices, piano, and a small ensemble (I can't find a list of what composed that small ensemble, though I recall percussion, cello, trombone, possibly violin and trumpet). I saw an early iteration of this at the memorial for Leslie Scalapino last February, which consisted of a fragment, one or two movements, of the first of the three plays that make up Fin de Siècle, for voices and piano.
I am not very familiar with Dougher's work, that is to say I am not outside of these two performances I have seen over the last nine months. I have some knowledge that she has a background as a singer-songwriter, but she also has done arrangements of poetry by Robert Duncan and William Stafford. That information, which is to me a particularly interesting collage of a creative background, informs the different aspects that mark this production of Fin de Siècle. I was often reminded of early choral music, Arte Nova, and certainly more contemporary musics in the dissonances, but most of the dissonances in the piece were not tonal. Rather, there are flatnesses, but I'm not sure they didn't mirror Scalapino's language, which, in Fin de Siècle, truly reflected her horror at the contemporary world, in all her (Scalapino's) inability to communicate it. Lines like
the construction worker says
the person being murdered
being in that section is understandable
communicates, absolutely, a weariness on the part of both herself and the rest of us at the end of history, that flatness communicated in
we haven't changed any
from the time of Genghis Khan
we have a fin de siècle
One last element that I think is crucial: how do you carry, or choose not to carry, Scalapino's voice as it exists beneath her work. I understand to get to the meat of Scalapino's difficult syntax Dougher wrote out, re-wrote, Fin de Siècle, to get a sense of it, which I'm sure was absolutely necessary. I myself wasn't able to penetrate her written work until hearing a recording of her reading, which left me mesmerized, and also understanding something different about the work. Scalapino uses a caesura in her line that is very particular, and not easy to get the meaning or music of. It is not completely unlike Creeley, slicing open clauses, because one can and generally does not, which opens up a statement, in the way the poets called Language would open one up, to the reading of statement itself, its meaning and its musics.
Though rough around the edges, I enjoyed Dougher's Fin de Siècle. It is rare that a great, and especially as experimental a poem or poet gets treated, in a traditional but not derivative manner, and I look forward to the next.
Monday, September 5, 2011
A few years ago, I was talking with J---- about form. He was embittered towards formalist poetics, or perhaps this notion of a poem with a particular shape, toward which the poet would direct his or her language, and the poem was the result of that language taking shape in the repeatable form. Interesting enough the poets invoked in that conversation, when I really was still making my survey of "what was going on right now," that those poets have been those I now return to again and again.
At the same time, a few years ago, browsing the independents, having received the issues of SCORE magazine that introduced me to so much of this strange edge- I came across rOlling COMBers by John M. Bennett (Potes & Poets). If I was at this point looking for language acts and events at their strangest, I was piqued. Bizarre fonts, even more bizarre handwriting ("writhing"), a dramatis personae of combs, foam, and stains, a mise-en-scene too aware of the mess of ink it is the remains of.
There are a few different "forms" at work, vaguely similar shapes or tendencies to the event that groups the language together. Sometimes it's word-parts capitalized to write hidden messages within the poem. Other times it's words vertically entering and subsequently sharing other letters in the paragraph. The vague groupings blur with each other to make new forms, and yet each poem, as well as each form, remains distinct though related. More like categories than series. Similar to each other, but not to any other work by any other poet I have encountered.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
One of the first things I noticed in this new world was the disdain of the various for the choices Ron made with his spotlight. The opinion of opinion. He certainly has made interesting choices on the light itself he chooses to cast, especially with his reorganization of the hierarchies of those at work into the School of Quietude and the post-avant, with a certain appreciation for the latter, though the connotation of the name is not necessarily positive from a modernist standpoint, and then the School of Quietude, an aggrandizing name to some degree, for the apparent opposition. From this vantage, I believe him to be more diplomatic than he sometimes gets credit for. I have on at least one occasion noted his appreciation for certain Quietists, so the label (basically undefined, again) does not refer to things like 'good' or 'bad' poetry.
As a poet, and critic, I think he is a practitioner of great subtlety. I see his forebear, or a very significant forebear as a writer to Ron being the composer (and writer) John Cage. He at least within his own work seems to be invested in the indeterminacy of experience, his work a chronicle of his rotating and shifting perceptions. Not non-egoic, to be sure, the tradition appears to be in the independence of each sentence or statement as it follows the last, in his long work, The Age of Huts. He at one point thought he would contain all of his work in a single poem called the Alphabet, but it doesn't seem the alphabet was large enough a signifier, as he now places the Alphabet aside Universe, alongside Tjanting and Age of Huts, as Ketjak.
Another thing I can appreciate is one who changes their mind. Creating an arc, and ark. Look forward to seeing you, and remember.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
At the same time, I am glad there are poets like Paul G. Maziar, who use their heads to address their hearts.
I asked Paul to edit the new issue of the newsletter, ciel de lit. It will go out in the mail today, or maybe tomorrow, which is a little late by my usual standards, but I had some stuff to do.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Brad's taste in "experimental literature" (is that what he called it?) resonated with me. He had this "procedural" book of writings (did we even call it poetry?) by Jeff Noon called Cobralingus. In addition to being vaguely Oulipean (not that I knew that then) it was riddled with references to European electronic music. The Thermals slept on our couches and passed typewriters around with us. Then I met the folks on the Hobo-a-go-go to tour Patrick, Elkins, Jason Voss and Justin Shay who had a lot of "poetry" and music in them, and a whole lot more that seemed positioned in between.
A year or so later I dropped out of college for a minute, and made a trip across the country to see my family, stopping in Ann Arbor, Michigan to play music with Patrick Elkins and Dustin Krcatovich (Actual Birds). Dustin and I recorded an EP of poetry and noise called "Small Creatures of the Wood Play Well Together." I went back to Idaho. I, at least sort-of, graduated from college. I started doing the odd reading. One was at the 1912 building and Crag Hill read, with one of his kids, I guess it must have been Noemi, one his knee, reading stories they wrote together. The reading was apparently secretly intended to be a pulpit for some evngelical folks, but we did a decent job of underminding that.
I moved from Idaho to Arizona to live with Brad. It was hot and boring but occasionally I went to open mics and read poetry. The poetry "scene" was boring, too but it gave me something to do. Brad and I moved to Portland, Oregon a few months later. I started going to readings at Tony's Talkin' To, and hanging with a guy who called himself Frank Sauce. Frank told me about "Language Poetry" and also that Crag Hill was the torchbearer for concrete and visual poetry in the United States.
I started reading language poetry and the scene in Portland got to seem more and more boring. I started writing letters to Crag, and told him this. He pointed me in the direction of Spare Room. He specifically said "meet David Abel, Mark Owens, Maryrose Larkin and Joseph Bradshaw." I went to one reading, and I don't remember it, but I did chat with Mark and Joseph. Then I moved to Alaska. Or tried to. I sat in a cabin in Fairbanks for a couple weeks and made "poems" with black pens and red markers. I came back to Portland.
The second or maybe third Spare Room reading I went to was their hundredth - a marathon! One hundred poems by one hundred poets from the last hundred years. I even got to participate in it, and as such was introduced to the work of Andrew Joron, Kevin Noonan, and John Taggart.
When Joseph invited me to open for Jim McCrary at a Spare Room reading, Crag came to town. Around this time he introduced me to the work of Nico Vassilakis, and I travelled to Seattle for a Subtext reading with the intent purpose of meeting him. In August 2010 Crag, Nico and I went on a short tour of the midwest, doing readings in Chicago and Madison, and attending the Avant Writing Symposium in Columbus, Ohio, where I met, read, and performed with mIEKAL aND, Camille Bacos, John M. Bennett, MusicMaster, Maria Damon, Matthew Stolte...
I had a birthday last week and Crag was in town. I'm still wearing his performance. Happy birthday to you, Crag.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I am biased. I have a piece in the show. Which may or may not have been a trigger to Lisa Radon's decision to put the showsw together. I have dabbled in sculpture very little since I focused on it in college, though I feel that so much of my work has nonetheless (since and including then) remained on the same track.
The piece, wnefe by Jackson Mac Low a Concrete Poem set to Doom music is a recereation of Jackson Mac Low's algorithmic reading of Ezra Pound's Cantos, or an 800-page book I layered on line after line of white-out, long after I broke the spine. I do think it was an interesting gesture but it wasn't far from the flashlit gallery reading I gave of Finnegan's Wake in 2006.
There is so much interesting work in this show at galleryHOMELAND and I cannot do it justice. Being interested in visual poetry I am, of course, drawn lake a goth to a flame at Derek Beaulieu's contribution(s), which are his readings of a Calgary newspaper, allowing the suggestions of color in each block of prose to take over any other content. Then there is the case I share with Numita Gupta Wiggers, with her textile homage to John Baldessari's "I will not make any more boring art," and one of R.W's seminal inspiration's Patrick Collier, whose visual poems are conceptual excisions from newspapers and the like.
Lisa Radon's own work, who I am also proud to share space with. Is work to be reckoned with, existing at the border of print the blur. Her Paragraphs on Paragraphs on Sentences on Sentences pitch one conceptual text against the other, for a moment, in the end revealing themselves to be the hand, The Hand, perhaps something neith Gertrude Stein nor Sol Le Witt, her sources, would ever admit.
On September 1st, as a part of the exhibit, David Abel, Rodney Koeneke, Lisa Radon, and I will perform at evening o'clock. And it will be terrific.
SE 11th & SE Division
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
What is my excuse? A lot of writing on paper has been done, and a fair amount of publishing. I just got back from the IPRC where I printed most of the covers of the next c_L chapbook "Rotations" by Jesse Morse (don't tell him, please!). I've got to travel a bit, with a recent performance in Seattle alongside Garek Druss, John Teske, whilst tabling for c_L, Peaches & Bats, and Abandoned Bike. Also there have been the Spare Room and the Poetry on the Piazza series, the latter series meta-curated by David Abel, and last night's particular Piazza reading directly curated by him, which was a reading by Seattle's Robert Mittenthal, Vancouver's Donato Mancini, and Windsor, Ontario's Louis Cabri.
Robert is a friend, an influence even. Donato's work I either first encountered through Crag Hill or blown up on the wall of galleryHOMELAND for the Spare Room 100th reading (which was also the first Spare Room event I participated in by reading). I met Donato for the first time last night. Also, a poet I was unfamiliar with prior to the reading Louis Cabri, who Michael Weaver described to me as "the greatest hope for American poetry" (he's Canadian, but we Canadians are Americans to, right Vespucci?). Louis was an incredible performer of a brilliant and inventive poetry that reminded me of Jackson Mac Low but with a simple, bouncing, musical quality. I agree with Michael.
So I'm going to try and come back and write again, there is ernough going on that I should have something to say, but I would appreciate the odd comment, even if it's "stop." I'm obstinate enough to handle that. Even when it seems that comment boxes are where the mind goes to die.
And if you shoot me a line, and let me know what's going on, maybe I'll repost, process, or recant, and you'll get to give me or save me a little work.
Also, if you made it this far: thanks. I'll see you tomorrow.
Monday, May 23, 2011
Lines on Canvas or What I Know or Have Seen of His Life
by Sam Lohmann
Lohmann's Lines on Canvas are a collection of lines drawn to the end of breath. From the referential object found by Sam in his exploration of the landscape, this time from the vantage of the idea of the painter. Each line is drawn from a singularity in text to its possible extent in the world, as Sam has culled it from one biographer looking at an other. That other being the painter Cézanne, from the eye and mouth of his friend Joachim Gasquet.
From the overbearing sky
He produced atrocious studies
In the attic a canvas of holes
This chapbook is an excerpt from a full-length work that should appear later in the year. Lines on Canvas is available from the publisher for $8 domestic mail.
Send a check or well-concealed cash to
2947 E. Burnside
Portland, OR 97214
Phoebe Wayne's Lovejoy is still available.
c_L's first publication, Lovejoy's several narrative threads each take a different perspective on the construction, presence and decay of Portland's Lovvejoy columns, a series of "outsider" architecture that have been disappeared from the Portland cityscape since the WPA projects of the 1950s that helped bring them into the world.
Both chapbooks feature letterpress printed covers and hand-sewn binding.
Lovejoy is available for $6 domestic mail.
Monday, April 25, 2011
a new newsletter in the world
issue 0 featuring Cecil Touchon, Nico Vassilakis, Joe Bradshaw, Sarah Kelly & Dan Thomas-Glass
issue 1 featuring Derek Beaulieu, Norma Cole, David Abel, Maryrose Larkin, Chris Ashby, Lisa Radon, & David Drake
monthly is the plan, mail is the reason
3 issue subscription for $6
I hope to get this paypal button thing figgered, in the meantime, "well-concealed cash" is how the post-punks do their business
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Language itself is a form, as is poetry. The idea is that spectralism would enhance language, by flattening things like narrative.
The form of the word flattens the visual qualities of the letter. The form of the sentence gives to the word a particular quality -a context.
But like calligraphy returns independence to the visual qualities of the letter- the poem returns the word its objective magic
What was language again?
Monday, January 31, 2011
These pictures are out of order.
The first one is of the last day of The Maximus marathon, at YU, and was taken by Chris Ashby. As you can see, we ran out of wine.
The next two, of Alicia Cohen and Sam Lohmann, followed by Jennifer Bartlett and Jaye Harris, both taken by Paul Maziar at Gallery HOMELAND, day two.
This next-to-last one is me looking smug, day one. What can I say, it was the beginning of the great event, and somehow someone also managed to bring my favorite beer, HUB 7-Grain Stout, in a keg. The last two also taken by Paul Maziar at Switchyard Studios, he also being the host of that day's reading.
I cannot express enough what a great pleasure it was for me and I think the many poets, projectivists and olsonians involved. Thanks to eveeryone who came and to all who participated.