This past year my disinhibitions were, for the most part, not embedded in books. But there were some books …
The three conferences, in London and Oakland, on, well, I’ll let the Poetry and/or Revolution website talk: “First “Poetry and Revolution” was convened at Birkbeck College. It provoked. Then last May, “Militant Poetics” was convened again at Birkbeck College. It also provoked. “Poetry and/or Revolution” is a response.” For many years, I have straddled the US and UK poetry worlds. At last. Many of my favorite writers were talking to each other. I didn’t get to attend any of these conferences, but I paid close attention to all the talks that appeared on the websites, and all the conversations.
The tornado. I only know CJ Martin thru his works, but still … Well, actually not just the tornado itself, but the response. The kinds of community the conferences were discussing in action! This all manifested (for me at least) in the chapbook Ash Smith put together, Z”L: For The Family Of Cj Martin And Julia Drescher. In what went into making that chapbook. I reviewed it at Galatea Resurrects 21. I won’t quote myself here.
The killing of Ethan Saylor, a man with Down syndrome, by the police, for his failure to understand that he had to leave a movie theater, and couldn’t watch the film again. And the killing of a number of other disabled people. Couple this with the birth of a friend’s baby who has Down syndrome … and combine this with a new friendship, with Jennifer Bartlett. And a whole new world, which I have to take on board, opened up. Making me even more sure that those who argue against intersectionality per se and who reduce everything to class are wrong.
The failure of Theresa May to deport Trenton Oldfield, and her continued appeals and attempts. The acquittal of the cops who killed Mark Duggan. This reminds me what were up against.
A lengthy collaboration with Anne Gorrick, a sporadic collaboration with Richard Lopez, and an years-long editing project with Jerome Rothenberg. I didn’t know poets could have so much fun. Collaborating over time is also about community building … and all that goes into it.
And learning to play viola. I’m one year in.
Oh, and textual stuff. In order of recall:
Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Wind Up Girl.
Christa Wolf’s City of Angels, or The Overcoat of Dr Freud.
Yayoi Kusama’s edition of Alice in Wonderland.
Clarice Lispector’s Near to the Wild Heart.
Bill Griffiths’ Collected Earlier Poems.
Dodie Bellamy’s Cunt Norton.
Sean Bonney’s Happiness.
Cornelius Castoriadis’ The Imaginary Institution of Society.
Both Tim Atkins’ and Peter Hughes’ Petrarch projects.
Anne Boyer’s blog or tumblr or whatever it is.
The Association of Musical Marxists’ blog.
Other blogs and tumblrs (too many to name; I have about 400 in my RSS feed).
The brouhaha re: Kate Zambreno at HTMLGIANT.
The brouhaha re: Josef Kaplan’s Kill List at, well, everywhere (I even wrote about it).
Everything by Nina Power I could get my hands on (I even interviewed her …).
That’s in order of recall. But I’m old and I don’t recall much. At least, I don’t recall what happened when …
John Bloomberg-Rissman has about a year and a half to go on In the House of the Hangman, the third section of his maybe life project called Zeitgeist Spam. The first two volumes have been published: No Sounds of My Own Making (Leafe Press, 2007), and Flux, Clot & Froth (Meritage Press 2010). In addition to his Zeitgeist Spam project, the main other thing on his plate right now is an anthology which he is editing with Jerome Rothenberg, titled Barbaric Vast & Wild: An Anthology of Outside & Subterranean Poetry, due out from Black Widow Press autumn 014. He's also learning to play the viola and he blogs at www.johnbr.com (Zeitgeist Spam).