Tuesday, September 23, 2008

“Where did I locate my body in this vexed apparitional zone?”

The (New) Reading Series, which used to be The New Yipes, after a sort of community vote on names, and before that, The New Brutalist Series, is doing this new thing that’s perfect for distance lurkers like me: putting its readers’ “Artists’s Statements” up online with each event. You miss the drinks afterwards, and the poems, but you catch gems like this from Dana Ward, drink & poem in one:
“The World”, is it there or not? A presence/absence hybrid sort of deal? I always thought of this as a divinely sophisticated question, & wanted to be preoccupied by it in some unnavigable way. It seemed it would be productive, expansive, and that no matter where one came down on the question (if one indeed did), there’d be an enormous amount of space created by considering it. Maybe it was some Zen sort of thing I picked up on in the foamy edges of Beat infatuation I’d floated on in high school? I’m not sure. But then I remember sort of ‘forgetting it’, or finding it complaining at the edges of my radar, only to have it go silent again while I worried over other things. Then one night I was in DC at Kaplan Harris’s house and he said something to me about my poems “bringing the world back in” in some particular way. He said some other poets around my age were doing similar things. I was confused as I’d intended no such thing. Whatever he’d keyed into, that seemed so explicit in the poems (& I trusted Kaplan immediately because he was convincingly brilliant) was not at all there for me, certainly not as some kind of program. Well this was obviously philosophical negligence on my part. I had to re-consider.…

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