ASH-Double Check, 2007
Archival inkjet print
from “Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene,” University at Albany Art Museum, on view through 12/10/16
The University at Albany, SUNY will be hosting poets Evelyn Reilly and James Sherry tomorrow evening in conjunction with the University Art Museum’s exhibition “Future Perfect: Picturing the Anthropocene,” curated by Danny Goodwin, Janet Riker, and Corinna Ripps Schaming.
If you’re in the area, I hope you can make it.
Ecopoetics Today: A Reading and Discussion with Evelyn Reilly and James Sherry
Moderator, Michael Leong, Assistant Professor, Department of English
Tuesday, November 29, 7:00pm
University Art Museum
Evelyn Reilly has written three books that attempt to manifest a poetics of the Anthropocene: Styrofoam (2009) and Apocalypso (2012), both published by Roof Books, and Self, portions of which have appeared in Pallaksch and are soon to appear in Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene, edited by Heidi Lynn Staples and Amy King. Her poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies, including The Arcadia Project: Postmodernism and the Pastoral; The & NOW Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing; In|Filtration: A Hudson Valley Salt Line; and will be included in the forthcoming Earth Bound: Compass Points for an Ecopoetics, edited by Jonathan Skinner.
James Sherry is the author of 12 books of poetry and prose. He has been writing about language and environment since the late 1980s, publishing Our Nuclear Heritage (1991) and Oops! Environmental Poetics (2014) in an effort to link humanity and nature as a single complex entity. His latest book, Entangled Bank (2016), is a series of poems emerging from Darwinian language and structures. Sherry is the publisher of Roof Books and started the Segue Foundation in 1977 in New York City.
Below is a short excerpt from Reilly’s deliciously dystopian Apocalypso:
from “Dreamquest Malware”
Time stamp: ZMT 80002
Report from build site: 3 (one of the originals)
The signal is so sticky with procedure dreck
we grow desperate
for dislocation lubricant
Yet today we completed
2 fulfillment interstices
and 6 perfusion upsinks
after which it took hours to adjust
the nose cone of rampant grief
We have now pried countless tender chordate features
from the slab encasement
105 translation blockages
79 embedded snares
And here is a poem from Sherry’s Entangled Bank (2016), just out from Chax:
Mote Removal: Clean Speak
Tidy the noise.
Unclog the glottis.
She speaks louder
Than an extra blanket.
What are we writing for
If not gelato?
It’s over there
With the broom she used
To sweep the jelly up.
I cannot believe I’ve been engaged
In such extraordinary logic.
What then is the ensuing tragedy
When evidence for naturalism sustains
But a bust of Progress on Pegasus
Or sad boys hanging out in redwoods?
Silence passes between us.
I cannot; will not; no no no!
Resistance is futile, fungible
And trains us to consume.
You make me feel like a natural
Appendix at the back of the memorandum
To museum employees
Against levity in the office,
Inspiring aphorism and animated hadiths,
Lived and livid examples of hominid creativity.
There are people willing to speak out for those Americans
Who suffer from the effects of Good Riddance Day
And the Civic Health Index.
It’s a perfect standard,
But what are the facts?
They don’t stop the reflux of sorrow.
And my signature, trenchant with suppose,
Conveys millions of Turks to clean their buckets
Into the cannibalistic debacle of Syria.
Where must we collapse to change?
Can we think of ourselves differently?
Intensely special in the singular,
Drama creeps into his whimper
Of compliance. How far,
She asked, can I get from myself
Before I am we.
I think of the endless
Survivor luncheons fondly.
To support the interests of those who cannot speak
For themselves, the future is now.
Organ vendor families like Laden and Emaar
Start as discreet poseur neophytes.
Speaking in intelligible words
Instead of tongues builds a following.
How Baba suffered for a devotee’s sake.
“Neither could she speak or call,”
While daring to ululate for her rights,
Li’l ole’ me showing proper gratitude on the home front,
A human rights competency.
Singing and joking abruptly all stopped
The air in both directions.
I believe these extreme and gruesome crimes
Against the self, however much they abuse my interest,
Although I cannot utter it in polite company,
Their testament hits me on the head.
They clean up entire streets
With great white tunes for little revolts of the spirit,
Whether you’re dealing with
(how you deal with (dealing with (dealt with))) inclusion
Or scouring the litterbox for phrases.
It’s our duty to remember and commemorate these events.
She extracted a clean, white, cambric handkerchief
And began to weep. “The gravel
On my driveway is always choked with grass.”