I've been reading this cumin colored chapbook called "There Are Language in My Sleep Again, Filling Up My Body" by Mark Stricker. Published by Auxilium Press. I have been reading & enjoying it:
The title is the longest line in the collection, as the chapbook is composed of six poems, all thin as a giraffe's neck. With lines that are 1-3 words long, Stricker capitalizes on how enjambment allows for multiple readings of each line. The series begins:
to come to
how can we
Without punctuation, I read the first two stanzas like:
To come to
to come to
You can read it with many variations and all seem to work, which is important, because they eventually hone in on the tension between remembered experience, the current physicality of the world, and how language is both a means to substantiate our lives through articulation of memory (and thus, self) and a method to collapse/fold the history of self into the present. Phrases like "remembered / spaces // opened to decision" imply a retroactive decision on how one can let a memory or interpretation of memory play out in current events. Like throwing a fishing line into the memory pond. The act of reeling in/recalling becomes more heady than just thinking about old stories: it creates "a book / among // old feelings," which is still trapped within us, the "wall // inside / the wall." Translating memory becomes a heightened activity and what we do not take with us gets "built up / around us," and has a visually mountainous effect.
Stricker's poems deal with the accumulation of observed and personal indifference: "the feeling // of no feeling," the apathetic "yes, let's say we lived here." But the seeming passivity is far, far from hebetudinous, and by starkly noting these concerns the pattern is disrupted. In fact, the keen observations like
we have had
we understand that we are
from one another
of death, or eyes."
create a sense of deep compassion and anxiety for the future of human interaction. To question is not to retreat. While he might see the same "mistake / over and over," he also understands that "the mess / of our wounds" is "a beautiful lust." This lust and language is what we want our bodies to be filled with.
You can order copies of "There Are Language in My Sleep Again, Filling Up My Body" by emailing Stricker at email@example.com until Auxilium get's their website up and running.
Mark Stricker is co-editor of the online journal nanomajority. His poems have appeared in Word/For Word, Sidereality, Muse Apprentice Guild, Tin Lustre Mobile, Fell Swoop, Royal Vagrant Review, and Perihelion. He lives in Hamden, Connecticut.
Auxilium Press transmits from a bunker deep below the streets of New Haven, surfacing occasionally to publish worthwhile and otherwise fugitive projects.
I'll let you know when the press has a blog or website up for you to order from and submit work to.
I've been investigating some print journals I might want to submit to. I don't have that many poems so maybe I will submit to one or two places and see what happens.
Journals that have open readings right now are:
Bat City Review (also a green publication)
Black Warrior Review
Wildlife Poetry Magazine
Print journals not reading right now (to save you time):
Tarpaulin Sky (open again in the fall some time for the journal, but accepting book reviews now so check out their list of books they need reviewed)
New England Review
Cream City Review (is reading August 1st-Nov 1st)
Agni (starts in September)
Virginia Quarterly Review (starts in Sept)
I was watching the Bob Dylan documentary earlier this week and he mentions Odetta as an influence. I remembered this:
Odetta came to my high school. She doesn't sign autographs. Our music teacher told us not to ask for autographs and some students still did, which made Odetta angry and my music teacher sad.
Anyways, her voice, I think, is like the sound of a frozen lake cracking as air moans and billows out. The wind from inside the lake is telling you something terrifying but true.
This song, "Water Boy," might make you cry:
[from Wicki: Odetta (born December 31, 1930) is an African-American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement." Her musical repertoire consists largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals. An important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and '60s, she was a formative influence on dozens of artists, inlcuding Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Janis Joplin.]