14 June 2011

Glossematics, Thus

Brenda Iijima's writing is remarkable in its ability to incorporate so many different registers of attention and response while somehow maintaining the integrity of a discrete instantiation of thought. I often turn to her work when I'm feeling stuck or frustrated or like the air in my poems has grown stale because she has this amazing ability to incorporate (and balance) these sometimes disparate (though never in the writing) always surprising elements that consistently feel like the perfect gesture (or addition or swerve or continuation). I'm generally super sensitive to transitions, and Brenda's writing constantly reminds me of the value of laying off over-rigid, over-mechanical moves; in other words, her work gives all kinds of permission in the way Leslie Scalapino or Kathy Acker or Dodie Bellamy or CA Conrad give permission...Her writing reminds me that my writing can only ever be my own, and that it tends to find its necessary form when embracing its own idiosyncratic impulses...

This new chapbook, Glossematics, Thus, on new-to-me Little Weasel Chapbooks (really beautifully printed by Karen Randall (I admit to being kind of jealous of the design work, actually! Sort of brilliant...)) moves in all kinds of directions at once, making super fluid leaps from past to present to future anterior in a near seamless flow that perfectly captures how Brenda interfaces with her encircling ring (which is to say bravely and with no hesitation!). This poem will require many careful readings to digest what's going on here, but the following immediately caught my attention:

"The historical process maximizes a hide of consensus, like these tanneries—
odiferous, outskirts—to live nearby the skinning factories
chiffon of the living, working, mouth, tongue
scudding—wet blue, blue blue sky, cascade pools, drenched splashing child
biocide: pentachlorophenol— resource demure, tissue of cells begin to hear
chromium—lungs to breathe out objects
leftover leather turned into glue—feeding on silt, feeding on bones—barbed
when diamond found, eye put out, hard bark, evidence bare foot, climb cliff
difficulty of stepping back from atmosphere—elicit
osmosis through skin, woven hair, veins
components of the engine: cylinder head, valve train,
transformers to regulate light, incandescent, starlight, sun at noon
treaties remains etcetera—compression where there were terms—of
agreement where there were—the corn needs the be harvested
largest collection of Impressionists
now we make mounds of paper
laminate causation"

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