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‘Daughter-Seed’ by Arielle Tipa – reviewed by Miggy Angel

i am full of children i do not want

If every girl/daughter is a seed, what will that seed become? What plume, bloom, or vegetation?

muck-in-my-gut // ghost-white and beloved // give me a disregard for neighbors and sirens

Maybe it’s true, that “the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree.” That the seed of her being is a blue-bell blueprint, genesis of genes, traumatic histories and memories mapping destinies predestined, societal soldering of gender-norms, which she inherits. Continue reading “‘Daughter-Seed’ by Arielle Tipa – reviewed by Miggy Angel”

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Liber Exuvia – Elytron Frass – gnOme books

elytron frass liber exuvia1.jpg

Reading Liber Exuvia by Elytron Frass is to enter the murmuring memoirs of an astral traveller. Is to encounter the self as it is – not as fixed point or outpost in temporal time but self as vaporous, porous and atemporal – self as ghost haunting the flesh, spectre sojourning the house of mist. Self as fracture, fact amassed and massacred, exploding and imploding in all directions, past present future for infinity. Everywhere and everyone and everywhen. Continue reading “Liber Exuvia – Elytron Frass – gnOme books”

The New Atomist: A Selection from the Catalogue Raisonné of Anton Aubinov by Joshua Rothes

 

“In the end, I would like it to be said that I have been a silent conversationalist with the world, a patient interlocutor devoid of names and arguments, seeking and at odds with, always, the atomic.” — Anton Aubinov, 1998

For a while, he graced a footnote in a biography of Clyfford Still1, removed in subsequent editions, purged as too obscure, adding no value to the lay reader. He is heavily rumored to have been the young artist called a “pissant” by Barnett Newman in a story attached to but never actually recounted by Betty Parsons. He may or may not have been able to do hands.

The late painter Anton Aubinov remained near-hidden throughout his career, subsumed into the greater wave of late American abstraction. His lone New York exhibition, at a here-today-gone-tomorrow space in Chelsea in 1952, was thrown together to capitalize on the recent fame of Mark Rothko, who had displayed, for the first time, his multiforms the year before. As the story of Aubinov’s opening goes, the drywall on which his works were mounted had been improperly adhered to the concrete casing, and the collapse of one wall was the subject of much of the subsequent press. So it went, so frequently. Continue reading “The New Atomist: A Selection from the Catalogue Raisonné of Anton Aubinov by Joshua Rothes”

Nothing Dries Sooner Than A Tear* by Joanna Pickering

Marrakesh, Old Town

Everyone seemed to have rotten, black, and missing front teeth. They were friendly and kept smiling and that’s how I saw they mostly had rotten, black and missing front teeth.

I couldn’t see a lot of the women’s teeth, only their eyes, and often not even. There were many women dressed from head to ankle, in long black fabrics, with layer upon layer covering skin, hands, hair, and some that covered the eyes, and with only a marginally thinner veil, so that everything was hidden, nothing to determine soul, being, nor Continue reading “Nothing Dries Sooner Than A Tear* by Joanna Pickering”

Reading and Grieving: Review of The High Priestess Never Marries by Sharanya Manivannan

“We can forecast nothing. It arrives when it arrives. It disappears when it disappears.” (from ‘Take the Weather With You’)

The stories in this collection by Sharanya Manivannan (Harper Collins India, 2016) undulate – this book is a sea of women, each voice honoring the collective memories, hearts, and bodies of women. Earthbound, the voice of each character rises up from the pages like wind – arriving and departing, breath-giving, season-changing. We see them facing their deepest selves. We see them give space to their rawness and their desires. Fierce and utterly unforgettable.

“It’s like someone aimed a rubber band at my heart and didn’t miss. I have waited my whole fucking life for someone to call me kannamma.” (from ‘The High Priestess Never Marries’)

Continue reading “Reading and Grieving: Review of The High Priestess Never Marries by Sharanya Manivannan”

Shrinking Ultraviolet by Rebecca Bird – reviewed by Adam Steiner

Shrinking Ultraviolet

by Rebecca Bird

(Eyewear, 2017)

 

Rebecca Bird’s first poetry collection is a fierce, accomplished and empowering call to find your own identity.

 

What makes one writer different from another? As much as any poet is unique and their writing is particular to them, they still work within (and out of) forms and conventions.  

For me, all writing bears the fingerprint of its author’s character, even though we are often using the same building blocks of language – and this is what I find most inciting and insightful in Shrinking Ultraviolet. Continue reading “Shrinking Ultraviolet by Rebecca Bird – reviewed by Adam Steiner”

The Best Of A Bad Situation – Jamie Thrasivoulou

The Best Of A Bad Situation – by Jamie Thrasivoulou

– poetry collection published by Silhouette Press

Jamie Thrasivoulou has seen the zeitgeist and, to be honest, he’s disgusted. These poems are translators of tarmac, asphalt whisperers, mediators of a sonic correspondence between broken hearts and broken promises, busted causeways and lost causes, high hopes fallen down and low-roads taken up. One of the greatest sights in contemporary poetry is to witness Jamie Thrasivoulou explode these poems on an unsuspecting audience. Let’s call it the truth, let’s call it word and testimony, let’s call it the salvo and the salve, let’s call it what it is. ‘The Best Of A Bad Situation’ is the most urgent, vital collection of poetry you will read all year. This is gonna hurt you much more than it will Jamie, but it’s a word-surgery that the body and mind require. Don’t thank the man, he doesn’t want nor need it. Just buy this book, read it, imbibe it’s blood-spirit and turn your life over to the justice and insistences of its restorative frequencies.

– Miggy Angel, author of ‘Grime Kerbstone Psalms’

Continue reading “The Best Of A Bad Situation – Jamie Thrasivoulou”

Place Waste Dissent – Paul Hawkins

Between the years 1990 – ’93, the poet Paul Hawkins was squatter/occupier/protestor in one of the most contested of spaces in the U.K.’s recent and past history of place-and-occupancy wars. Claremont Road, in London’s East End, was an occupied site and scene for the protests of the ‘No M11 Link Road Campaign’. Paul Hawkins was there, and has documented what took place in his book, Place Waste Dissent, published by Influx Press.

In the foreword to the book, Alice Nutter refers to Claremont Road as ‘the symbol of resistance to the road-building programme of the early ’90s’ – Place Waste Dissent operates not only as flame held close as intimate torchlight illuminating that symbol, but as intravenous entry point into the sign itself. An immersive invocation of the sign and the times it symbolises, a border-shamanic reanimation act that brings Claremont Road back breathing bleeding spitting and bounding into the now. Into the Now that requires reckoning with what was and is still its Then.

 

pwdpagecover

 

Continue reading “Place Waste Dissent – Paul Hawkins”

On Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Yearning

I started reading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale after the 2016 election. The book felt timely as we, as a people, confronted an uncertain political future. To be honest,  I was gutted by what happened. I was troubled and grief-stricken that a man who boasted about sexually assaulting women, a man who dehumanized every group of people except straight white men, a man who lied every time he opened his mouth, was elected President of the United States. I know many of us are still reeling, maybe we’re even numb.

I decided that I would turn to literature as a way to cope with what happened. Writers give me hope. Writers are always dangerous because they ask us to empathize with The Other and they engage in complex, critical thinking. At least the best writers do. They challenge the status quo. They force us to rethink our assumptions, prejudices, and traditions.

Continue reading “On Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Yearning”

On Nathalie Léger’s Suite for Barbara Loden

Barbara Loden is Wanda, as they say in the movies. Her inspiration for the screenplay was a newspaper story she had read about a woman convicted of robbing a bank; her accomplice was dead and she appeared in court alone. Sentenced to twenty years in prison, she thanked the judge. Interviewed when the film came out, after it had been awarded the International Critics Award at the 1970 Venice Film Festival, Barbara would say how deeply affected she had been by the story of this woman—what pain, what hopelessness could make a person desire to be put away? How could imprisonment be relief?

–Nathalie Léger, Suite for Barbara Loden

 

From an early age, I knew I wouldn’t make it in this world. So I connected with women who, in my mind, shared that feeling. Plath and Woolf with their suicides speaking of a deep pain. Barbara Loden and her film Wanda in which the title character wanders alone and unloved.

 

Wanda is poor and she is voiceless and she is invisible. I understand the not-thereness of her.

 

Nathalie Léger felt a connection to Wanda as well. Tasked with writing an encyclopedia entry about actress Barbara Loden, she quickly became obsessed and expanded her inquiry, writing Suite For Barbara Loden, a gorgeous and dizzying investigation and excavation. Léger delves into Loden’s life, at times embellishing and inventing, and analyzes every layer of Loden’s only film, Wanda.  The book is fact and fiction and memoir and film criticism; it is a love letter to Loden and the singular film she created.

 

Continue reading “On Nathalie Léger’s Suite for Barbara Loden

In By Fire, Tahar Ben Jelloun Tells The Story of the Man Who Sparked the Arab Spring

 

Every fire begins with a spark, a small flame that ignites a conflagration. Where does that spark originate? No one could have known that when Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to his body on December 17, 2010 his act of self-immolation would trigger protests in Tunisia and throughout the Arab region. He was the spark that lit up the world.

In By Fire: Writings on the Arab Spring, Tahar Ben Jelloun writes about Bouazizi in two distinct ways. In the first part of the book are selections from Ben Jelloun’s nonfiction writings about the Arab Spring. In the second part of the book is Ben Jelloun’s short story “By Fire,” which enters the mind of Bouazizi and attempts to capture the nuances of his life. Both parts are necessary and complement each other. Translator Rita S. Nezami’s notes and introductions do an excellent job of contextualizing Bouazizi’s act of protest and providing much-needed information for Western readers to understand the political climate in Tunisia before the Arab Spring.

Continue reading “In By Fire, Tahar Ben Jelloun Tells The Story of the Man Who Sparked the Arab Spring”

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