boneless skinless (volume 2)

•December 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment


The new volume of boneless skinless is now out and can be found in various venues across Philadelphia (or ordered online).

featuring work by

Emily Abendroth
Maryan Nagy Captan
Kate Colby
Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela
Davy Knittle
Michael Leong
Emma Brown Sanders
Chris Schaeffer
Mai Schwartz

Andrew Joron’s The Absolute Letter (Flood Editions, 2017)

•November 12, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Hyperallergic Weekend has published my review of Andrew Joron’s new book of poems. Here are the first three paragraphs:

The fact that much of contemporary American poetic practice is derived from British Romanticism should come as no surprise. We might think of, for example, William Wordsworth’s elevation of plainspoken diction — the “language really spoken by men,” as he put it in the preface to the Lyrical Ballads — or Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s dictum of “the best words in their best order.” We might also think of the longevity of what the Romanticist M.H. Abrams famously called the “greater Romantic lyric,” whose “determinate speaker in a particularized […] setting […] achieves an insight, faces up to a tragic loss, comes to a moral decision, or resolves an emotional problem.” Sound familiar?

But what would American poetry look like if it had followed not the better-known poetics of British Romanticism but the theoretical foundations of early German Romanticism? Any answer to this question would have to reckon with Andrew Joron’s dazzling new collection The Absolute Letter (Flood Editions, 2017), which integrates the polymathic thinking of Novalis into a sophisticated poetic praxis. Joron’s book opens with a preface entitled “The Argument; Or, My Novalis,” which boldly propounds that “the world itself is composed of the letters of the Absolute: anything, real or ideal, that undergoes a self-complicating — ultimately musical — form of motion becomes a sign of the processual emergence of the Infinite within the finite.”

Joron’s poetry is fundamentally “Romantic” in that it exponentializes. It is marked by, as Novalis says, “a qualitative raising to a higher power.” In his 2015 essay “Accident over N: Lines of Flight in the Philosophical Notebooks of Novalis,” which can serve as an illuminating theoretical framework for The Absolute Letter, Joron says, “To romanticize — that is, to magic or to mimic the insurgencies of the Absolute — start anywhere. Then, to realize the necessity of this freedom, exponentialize that arbitrary thought or thing toward its opposite, its other. Romantic logic is a pandemonium of paradoxical symmetries.” If this sounds like a Romantic philosophy enriched by the irreverent energies of surrealism — think of the paradoxical symmetry of René Magritte’s La Reproduction interdite — it’s because, according to Joron, “Novalis’s work in fiction and poetry never achieved the radicality of his own poetics […] It would require the poetic innovations of symbolism and surrealism to come close to fulfilling the promise of — the prevision of — the poetics of Novalis.” We might say that surrealism is Romanticism raised to a higher power, and it is this “exponentialized Romanticism” that informs Joron’s pursuit of a critical poetry, “critical” here meaning “constituting or relating to a point at which some action, property or condition passes over into another” — as reality passing over into the surreal.

Find the full review here.

The Oulipo Festschrift (Verbivoracious Press, 2017)

•October 30, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I’ve got a new essay “Oulipo, Foulipo, Noulipo: The Gendered Politics of Literary Constraints” in Verbivoracious Press’s new volume on The Oulipo. See below for details:

The sixth Verbivoracious Festschrift is a brobdingnagian spectacular fêting the famous workshop of potential literature, The Oulipo, now entering its 57th year. Our contributors were invited to write a piece of fiction, an essay, a poem, or any other hybrid, and choose their own constraints. The results have yielded a marvellous sprawl of oulipian homage, from petite poetic tributes to Queneau, to long lipogrammatic bows to Perec. In this issue: Philip Terry’s take on Perec’s I Remember, Warren Motte’s literary abecedaries, David Bellos’s iconoclastic essay on Hugo and Perec, two chapters from Jeff Bursey’s lipogrammic novel Ennead, Louis Bury’s anticipatory blurbs, Michael Leong’s take on the Oulipo’s ever-expanding influence, Tom Jenks and Jeanelle D’Alessandro’s satirical N+7s, Andriana Minou’s typographically playful novella Hypnotic Labyrinth, John Peck’s murder mystery in 100 sentences, poetry from Doug Nufer and Stephen Frug, Marc Lapprand’s view on evolution and The Oulipo, a slew of palindromes, lists, papers, and fancies from Pablo Ruiz, and many other pieces. The issue concludes with a wholly original work of sustained constraint: Christine Brooke-Rose’s first novel rewritten with her grammatical constraints and polylingual puns reinstated. The sixth issue is our fattest feast yet, and a must for Oulipo enthusiasts.

Release Date: October 24th, 2017.  ISBN: 9789811138669. 507pp. Available from all booksellers and usual online retailers.

Pricing Information:

Paperback: GBP13.99 + postage GBP2.00 within UK, US, AU, CAN, EU, ZA, NZ, IN and SG.

Who Unfolded My Origami Brain? (Fence Digital, 2017)

•July 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Who Unfolded My Origami Brain? is available for download from the Fence Digital website and through iBooks/iTunes.

Many thanks to James Belflower for his brilliant design.

Fence Digital Launch: Sunday, July 16, 2017, 8:00pm – 10:00pm / Ör, 35 South 3rd Street, Hudson, NY

•July 16, 2017 • Leave a Comment

This Sunday at 8 p.m. at Ör Gallery and Tavern in Hudson, NY: a Fence Digital Poetry Live Reading, featuring Matthew Klane, Michael Leong, and a reading of writing by the late Brian Young.

The reading celebrates the launch of Fence Digital, a new electronic imprint of Fence Books, publishing multimedia electronic poetry, fiction, and hybrid texts that reinvest digitization with materiality, treating the screen as a skin. This continues Fence’s mission to redefine the terms of accessibility by the sharing of material texts across a variety of electronic formats.

On Suspicion That Windmills Are Books

•July 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

In March I was invited–along with seven other writers and artists–by Container to transform a Rolodex Open Rotary Card File into a book-object. That book-object, On Suspicion That Windmills Are Books, is now on sale. Other participants in the Multitudes #1 series include Barbara Balfour, Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Evan Kleekamp, james w. moore, Collier Nogues, M. NourbeSe Philip and Ryo Yamaguchi.

Inspired by Matías Celedón’s La filial (Alquimia Ediciones, 2012), I decided to use a Trodat Professional 5253 Heavy Duty Self-Inking Do-It-Yourself Custom Stamp to make unique impressions on the Rolodex cards. It was a terribly painstaking process (setting the three and four millimeter rubber type with plastic tweezers into a 2″ x 1 1/4″ text plate) but I liked the results.An e-book based on digitally enhanced versions of these master prints is forthcoming from Fence Digital. Stay tuned–

READ & FEED (Sunday, July 23 | 12 – 5PM), Hudson, NY

•July 1, 2017 • Leave a Comment

On the 23rd I’ll be attending Read & Feed, the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses’s festival of literature and food, at Basilica Hudson. The event will be commemorating John Ashbery’s 90th birthday, and I will be participating in a 20-person marathon reading of Girls on the Run. There will also be a panel How to Love Reading Ashbery including Ann Lauterbach, Robert Polito, Joan Retallack, and Dara Wier.