OOF Books hosts the launch of Tyler Matthew Oyer's CALLING ALL DIVAS print edition. An installation in the bookstore was accompanied by a reading and screening event on Friday, August 10. The poems are reflections on / conversations with queer, femme, HIV+ radical inspiring individuals. This edition is made up of poems for Kembra Pfahler, Ron Athey, James Baldwin, Paul Thek, Grace Jones + Keith Haring, Jack Smith, Charles Ludlam, and David Wojnarowicz. These works dance with themes of legacy, inheritance, fandom, idol worship, archiving and tenderness. photographs by Lani Trock
He gives his heart, Like he gives out bills. Throws his dollars, When they look twice. In the long, dark corridor He sees a light, And he burns, He yearns, For her life. For body sweat, Blood, Pubic hair. She’s unshaven, She is beautiful, So he is beautiful. In the darkness He twists, he screams, He loses control Of his thoughts, his words. Endless, endless, His money’s spent and His feelings are senseless.
At break of dawn, The snow falls in that corridor And extinguishes her. 500 years too young, He has a dream to live that long. He seeks the answer of immortality, So he follows her and finds her In a snow-covered field, In flames. A wild fire, Yellow, Red, Black. Screaming, howling, calling his name As she burns, She burns, Burns to a crisp, Burns to nothing In that fire in the snow.
And the wind carries the flame Ignites her hair her feathers.
The flames reflect in his eyes as He watches her scatter. Sinking to the ground, Becoming nothing. Ashes, The color of the cloudy sea, Her eyes, disappear Into Earth. She is nothing. Nothing is everything. He closes his eyes. Harry cries, and cries. What a beautiful sight, What a heavenly light! What a dream, To be nothing. “I want to be nothing.” His hands clasp his face, His bony knees dig the dirt. Harry looks up: He looks for God. But he is gone. Long gone.
Harry chases the dying flames of the phoenix, And cries, “Ignite me! Ignite me!” But they only burn for the bird. He eats her ashes for strength. He’s hysterical. Endless, endless, His mind is gone, His feelings are senseless.
The grey snow falls around him, A call for new lovers to come to him. And there is silence. Let there be no light. Harry rises. He brushes the dirt off his knees, Eats the snow for clarity, Joins the others in the safety Of the illusion of reality. Harry forgets.
Ashes, by Nina Ljeti
Eras end, Begin again. Money, lovers, Promises are pretend. 30 is old age -- You plan to kill yourself, Or be far away by then. Try so hard To make a name, But they forget Again and again. Change your mind, Change your style, Your politics, philosophy. A punk, a hippie, A model on the cover of a magazine. Alone or lonely, '91 or '65 A better story. Your Gods are dead, And Jesus ain’t your friend. No one calls. Connection's gone. Looking for the other, Floating past each other, Duck and cover. Empty-headed, absent-minded Lost forever, we are blinded. What it means to hold a hand, What it means to be free,
What it is to see beyond The illusion of reality.
These Days, by Nina Ljeti
You say, Babe, Don’t ever leave me. Never. I mapped our lives. Rocking chairs, Metronomes, Silver lake, Wrinkled kisses. A cottage, A jungle Overthrown with vines. Or perhaps, We’ll die. Ride our motorcycles Off a cliff In Utah. Arms trapped, Our stars Side by side On the sidewalk Till the world explodes.
Till the World Explodes, by Nina Ljeti
Collage by Matt Wisniewski,Untitled from "Wreckage," 2011
1300by Nina Ljeti
6 months and 13 days, Threw my heart out the window Cause the truth is scary, The future even more, so I Pick up a bottle- Hello old friend- Let’s take off to the moon. It’s a place inhabited by Beautiful men, music, Cigarettes, French films, Laughter, moaning, mumbling Giggles of the idiots, Insomniacs, and finite dimensions Of conversation- your name, your age, Your day, your sign- how are you? I’m fine. Baby, come with me, To my crater on the north side of the moon. I’ve got a rotating bed and a hot tub. It feels good to be loved, no, Desired- to have complete control. I listen instead of speak, and no one asks me questions. I find myself in front of mirrors, talking, philosophizing, kissing, Making love With imaginary man/men. I see their faces, but I won’t say for Fear I’ll jinx the possibility Of true love. Boy, What a cliché. A 20 year old mystery woman, she Dances alone (if you see her call Craig) at 1-3-OOOOO Oh my god, The Earth looks so beautiful from here, So empty, so peaceful. I could live there, when I retire. I could live there when the party’s over. I could live there with--I won’t jinx it, For fear I’ll die alone. I could live there when I remember Where the hell I dropped my heart. From a city window somewhere, long ago. Don’t remember what city. If you see it, call me. It’s red, and small, and I hope it’s still beating.
Stay tuned to Pas Un Autre every Sunday for a new poem Nina Ljeti.
Jules Supervielle (1884-1960) was born to French parents in Montevideo, orphaned within a year of his birth, and grew up in Uruguay and France. He spent the Second World War exiled in Uruguay, afflicted by ill health and financial ruin. His poems are dreamlike, often gently fantastical, imbued with an appealing surface clarity. His work stands apart from much 20th-century French poetry, and he has been characterized as a writer of Basque descent who wrote in French but in the Spanish tradition, with a strong affinity for the open spaces of his South American childhood and nostalgia for a cosmic brotherhood of men. In many respects he seems our contemporary, a writer of highly personal poems as well as poems concerned with war and the environment. A new collection of Supervielle's poems have been collected in a new book published by Bloodaxe Books entitled Homesick for the Earth. Purchase here.
Eugenio Montale is universally recognized as having brought the great Italian lyric tradition that began with Dante into the twentieth century with unrivaled power and brilliance. Montale is a love poet whose deeply beautiful, individual work confronts the dilemmas of modern history, philosophy, and faith with courage and subtlety; he has been widely translated into English and his work has influenced two generations of American and British poets. Jonathan Galassi's versions of Montale's major works—Ossi di seppia, Le occasioni, and La bufera e altro—are the clearest and most convincing yet, and his extensive notes discuss in depth the sources and difficulties of this dense, allusive poetry. A new collection of poems by Montale, compiled for a new book, offers English-language readers uniquely informed and readable access to the work of one of the greatest of all modern poets. [purchase]
Guillaume Apollinaire – whose writings ranged from plays to experimental poetry, from art criticism to erotica – was at the heart of literary and artistic life in early 20th-century Paris. Both his work and his flamboyant personality had a defining influence on the development of Surrealism, Dadaism and other artistic movements. In late 1914 Apollinaire swapped the high life of avant-garde Paris for the mud and desolation of war in the trenches. But his poems of this period are wholly different from those that for English readers have come to define the genre of war poetry: exploding shells are compared to champagne bottles, and juxtaposed with the orgy of destruction are nostalgia for antiquity, impatience for the future, melancholy and exuberance. Apollinaire died in 1918. The new translations in this bilingual edition, entitled The Little Auto comprise mostly poems written after 1914, but include ‘Zone’ (in the first English version since Samuel Beckett’s to match the original’s use of rhyme) and some other pre-war poems. A century later, they remain as daring and alive as when they were written. [purchase]
Tomas Tranströmer's new collection of poetry, entitled The Deleted World, is a short selection of haunting, meditative poems from the winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature. Tomas Tranströmer can be clearly recognized not just as Sweden’s most important poet, but as a writer of international stature whose work speaks to us now with undiminished clarity and resonance. Long celebrated as a master of the arresting, suggestive image, Tranströmer is a poet of the liminal: drawn again and again to thresholds of light and of water, the boundaries between man and nature, wakefulness and dream. A deeply spiritual but secular writer, his skepticism about humanity is continually challenged by the implacable renewing power of the natural world. His poems are epiphanies rooted in experience: spare, luminous meditations that his extraordinary images split open—exposing something sudden, mysterious, and unforgettable. [purchase]
Nineteenth-century French poete maudits (accursed poets — poets who lived outside or rebelled against society), such as Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, Arthur Rimbaud and Comte de Lautreamont, have inspired numerous artists of various eras. An exhibition in Japan showcases etchings and prints of 20th-century artists, including Maurice Denis, Salvador Dali and Roberto Matta, who celebrated such French poetry. On view are around 180 works, including Matta's interpretation of Rimbaud's "Une Saison en Enfer" and a copy of de Lautreamont's "Les Chants de Maldoror," which inspired print works by Bernard Buffet as well as illustrations by Dali. On view until August 7 at the Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, (042) 726-2771, 4-28-1 Haramachida, Machida-shi.
If you happen to be in New Delhi on Wednesday, the Russian Cultural Center of Science and Culture jointly with the Literary Club “Parichay Sahitya Parishad” is holding a literary evening dedicated to the birth anniversary of the 20th century Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. "She wrote with apparent simplicity and naturalness and her rhyming was classical compared to such radical contemporary writers as Marina Tsvetaeva and Vladimir Mayakovsky." June 23, 2011, 5:30 p.m RCSC, 24, Ferozeshah Road, New Delhi, India
Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata were stealing back Mexico for the people. Freedom was being won with blood. Mexico was in the throes of a revolution. The great first quarter of the twentieth century Mexico was fertile ground for not only revolutionaries, but also artists. Mexico was indeed succeeding to a modern world. Mexico, always the symbol and champion of the underdog, the poor, the hungry has always held on strong to its icons. They were roughhewn in their prismatic, threadbare ponchos, sombreros, and dark mestizo skin that glowed amber under a romantic, warm desert sun in a landscape of infinite flowers, cobble stone, and chirping monkeys. And like inventing memories from photographs, our images of Mexico have been always invented by this imagery. It's the murals of Diego Rivera, the gardens and portraits of Frida Kahlo and the poems of Octavio Paz that paint of landscape of a bygone Mexico - poorly preserved by kitsch, refrigerator magnates, and theme restaurants. We always wonder what happened to the good old days when they're seemingly gone forever. Certainly one of the most influential icons of Mexico's good old days is the photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo.
Manuel Álvarez Bravo, whose work is being exhibited alongside the poetry of another symbol of Mexico's heritage Octavio Paz, at the Mexican Embassy in India, captured the spirit of a Mexico experiencing the pangs of a revolution and the dialectic of an artistic movement mirroring back its angst. Screaming in a fulmination of dust, Bravo's photographs are as journalistic as they are erotic. Bravo was born in 1902 to a family of artists and writers, and met several other prominent artists who encouraged his work when he was young, including Diego Rivera. Bravo, who was inspired by the burgeoning surrealist movement in France, starting taking pictures at 18 whilst working a government job. Bravo would become a profoundly influential figure in contemporary Mexican and Latin American photography, but he would not become largely known in the rest of the world. Bravo died in 2002 at the age of 100, but his photographs are a significant part of Mexico’s history.
An exhibition, entitled In the Light of Mexico, curated by Conrado Tostado Gutierrez, the cultural attaché of the Embassy of Mexico in Delhi, comprises a substantial body of images that evokes the era of the Mexican Revolution of early 1907 to 1911, the newly independent Mexico and its people. Bravo’s daughter Aurelia Alvarez Bravo and his widow Collette Urbajtel have painstakingly developed the original negatives from the photographer’s work to make this exhibition possible. Bravo's photographs are coupled with the poems of poet and former Mexican Ambassador to India, Octavio Paz.
On view until June 30th in New Delhi, India. More info.
Text by Oliver Maxwell Kupper for Pas Un Autre
"they say nothing is wasted: either that or it all is." Dark Night Poem, Charles Bukowski
"The paths are rough. The knolls are covered with broom. The air is motionless. How far away are the birds and the springs! It can only be the end of the world, ahead."
It is true that Arthur Rimbaud was a rabble-rouser and a libertine with louse infested hair, but he was a genius, on par with Mozart, whose provocative, symbolic lyricism was seemingly divined. At only the tender age of 17 and 18 Rimbaud composed some of the most transcendent poetry the world had ever seen - Victor Hugo described him as "an infant Shakespeare." A bright star indeed - whose comburent creativity seemed to burn out like a magnesium flash: at 21 the fire was out completely and Rimbaud quit poetry for good - at 37 he was dead. Rimbaud, who was raised on a farm in Charleville-Mézières, believed in some way that poetry was mysticism - that the poet was a "seer" by the practice of a "systematic derangement of all the senses." This derangement meant total abandonment of morality, judgement, and all things that make a modern man refined, and refined Rimbaud was not. In the early 1870s he developed a relationship, that some debate was homosexual in nature, with the much older poet Paul Verlaine. The two poets would visit London in 1873 where Verlaine would attempt to assassinate his young lover, but it was by Verlaine's side that Rimbaud would write his masterpiece Illuminations, an "intense and rapid dream." A long awaited new translation of Rimbaud's Illuminations, translated by John Ashbery, considered a "major literary event," is due out this May by W.W. Norton and Company. books.wwnorton.com
The atom, a tuna, laziness, love—the everyday elements and essences of human experience glow in the translucent language of Neruda's odes. Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) wrote three books of odes during his lifetime.Odas elementales was published in 1954, followed in subsequent years by Nuevas odas elementales and Tercer libro de las odas. Margaret Sayers Peden's selection of odes from all three volumes, printed with the Spanish originals on facing pages, is by far the most extensive yet to appear in English. She vividly conveys the poet's vision of the realities of day-to-day life in her translations, while her brief introduction describes the genesis of the poems. To write simply of simple things was a task the poet undertook consciously, following his experiences in the Spanish Civil War, the "social conversion" that resulted from a visit to Macchu Picchu, and the writing of his epic Canto general(California, forthcoming). The odes are arranged in brief, sinuous lines that flow down the page and connect the poet to the animal, mineral, and vegetable world, to people and objects, and to the landscape of history. "Chile," Neruda once said in reference to the work of sixteenth-century poet Alonso de Ercilla, "was invented by a poet." In accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, he declared that "We [writers from the vast expanse of America] are called upon to fill with words the confines of a mute continent, and we become drunk with the task of telling and naming." The odes reflect what Neruda saw as both an obligation and a privilege—the naming and defining of his world. Selected Odes of Pablo Neruda of Pablo Neruda will be released in May on University of California Press.
I’ve dreamed of you so much you’re losing your reality. Is there still time to reach that living body and kiss on that mouth the birth of the voice that’s dear to me? I’ve dreamed of you so much that my arms, used to crossing on my chest as I hug your shadow, couldn’t fold themselves around the shape of your body, maybe. And faced with the actual appearance of what’s haunted me and ruled me for days and years, I would probably turn into a shadow. O what a sentimental pair of scales. I’ve dreamed of you so much there’s probably no more time for me to wake up. I sleep standing up, my body exposed to all the appearances of life and love and you, the only thing that counts for me today. I’d probably reach for the first lips and face that came along, than your face and your lips. I’ve dreamed of you so much, walked so much, talked, slept with your phantom that maybe there’s nothing left for me to do but be a phantom among the phantoms and a hundred times more shadow than the shadow that strolls and will go on strolling cheerfully over the sundial of your life.
~ Robert Desnos
Dylan Thomas, outside the Ashmolean, Oxford c.1946 © Francis Reiss
'Wake up,' she said into his ear; the iron characters were broken in her smile, and Eden sank into the seventh shade. She told him to look into her eyes. He had thought that her eyes were brown or green, but they were sea-blue with black lashes, and her thick hair was black. She rumpled his hair, and put his hand deep in her breast so that he knew the nipple of heart was red. He looked in her eyes, but they made a round glass of the sun, and as he moved sharply away he saw through the transparent trees; she could make a long crystal of each tree, and turn the house wood into gauze. She told him her age, and it was a new number. 'Look in my eyes,' she said. It was only an hour to the proper night, the stars were coming out and the moon was ready. She took his hand and led him racing between trees over the ridge of the dewy hill, over the flowering nettles and the shut grass-flowers, over the silence into sunlight and the noise of a sea breaking on sand and stone." (Dylan Thomas, from "A Prospect of the Sea.")