Critics Page

Guest Critic

Looking Into the Darkness of One’s Time

I live in poetry and this is some of my world. I’ve been repeatedly asking the question how is one contemporary with one’s time? And what does it mean to look unto the darkness of one’s time? Here are some of the results from a range of poets, artists, thinkers, as well as radical projects of innovation and archive.

Rhizome of Poets

A photo essay.

After Rilke

Bernadette Mayer is a poet based in New York. Her collections of poetry include Midwinter Day (1982, 1999), A Bernadette Mayer Reader (1992), The Desire of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (1994), Another Smashed Pinecone (1998), and Poetry State Forest (2008).

A Winsome Pinnock

Near and far the angelfish kiss in the twisted turtle-mind of Jimmy Olson with a canary for a chipmunk with a chipmunk for an amoebic vainglory’s suspicious thyroid module on a Monday canning peaches of triumphant beatnik spores in an amphetamine piranha tank ...

Notebook, 1981

Eileen Myles is the author of nineteen books including I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems, and a reissue of Chelsea Girls, both out in fall 2015, from Eco/Harper Collins.

as if your life depends on it

Evie Shockley is the author of two books of poetry--most recently, the new black, winner of the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry--and a critical study, Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry

How We Cause the Universe to Exist

I don’t feel like playing all these games any more, I say. That there is a literary world with rules, judgment, just observation. People have jobs about what I write; other poets have doubts about it, or what.

Holland Tunnel

Emily Skillings is a dancer and a poet. She is the author of two chapbooks: Backchannel (Poor Claudia) and Linnaeus: The 26 Sexual Practices of Plants (No, Dear/ Small Anchor Press). Recent poems can be found/are forthcoming in Hyperallergic, LitHub, Jubilat, Pleiades, Phantom Limb, Philadelphia Review of Books, and Stonecutter.

Corpses, Arts and Dreams Of
An Excerpt

The moon is full and out on the terrace she has spread the cushions of rosy tiny flowers all over soft white cotton cloth on the black metal chairs and a few large ones of rough nomadic textures on the white stones of the floor.

La Peira | (The Stone)

Marcela Delpastre (1925 – 1998) was an immense poet, prose writer and gatherer of tales and songs, an Occitan ethnopoetics practitioner from the Corrèze region of the Limousin—or “occupied Occitania.” Though she studied philosophy and literature in high school and then decorative arts in Limoges, she gave it all up in 1945 to return to Germont, the small village where she was born and would die, to run the family farm.

LOST AND FOUND
Excerpts from Murderers Criminals Join Sunlight

Kathy Acker (April 18, 1947 – November 30, 1997) was an American experimental novelist, punk poet, playwright, essayist, postmodernist, and sex-positive feminist writer.

LOST AND FOUND
Dharma Committee Rules

All members of the Dharma Committee are Cool. if they stop being cool, other members of the Dharma Committee shall help them get back on a cool again.

LOST AND FOUND
Barcelona, 19361

The author left London alone on July 18th. She was in the last train to enter Spain after fighting began and arrived back in London on July 27th. This was her first visit to Europe.

LOST AND FOUND
I. The Boat is Tethered to the Floor

Helene Johnson (1906 - 1995) was an American poet.

Song for the Deadbeat

Laura Hinton is a scholar, editor, literary critic, and multi-media poet living in New York City. Her scholarly books include The Perverse Gaze of Sympathy: Sadomasochistic Sentiments from Clarissa to Rescue 911 (SUNY Press), the collection We Who Love to Be Astonished: Experimental Women’s Writing and Performance Poetics (co-editor, University of Alabama Press); and also the edited collection Jayne Cortez, Adrienne Rich, and the Feminist Superhero: Voice, Vision, Politics and Performance in U.S. Contemporary Women’s Poetics (Lexington Books 2016).

Land Art

Jennifer Foerster received her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts (2007) and her BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico (2003). From 2008 – 2010, Foerster was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. She has received a Lannan Foundation Writing Residency Fellowship, along with fellowships to attend Soul Mountain Retreat, Caldera Arts, the Naropa Summer Writing Program, Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center.

Excerpt from “Contes d’une tête tranchée” in Blessures au vent

Rachida Madani was born in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1951, and still lives there, now retired from a career teaching French. A careful writer—who says “I love to savor my words, especially when I find the one I need in the place it needs to be”—she has published three collections of poetry since 1981 when her first book, called Femme je suis (Woman I am), came out.

Ugly Duckling Presse

In the early 1990s, a zine called The Ugly Duckling lived its Xerox-humble life under the guidance of Matvei Yankelevich and Tristra Newyear in a Connecticut college town.

UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE
Stop

Jennifer Nelson’s first book of poems, Aim at the Centaur Stealing Your Wife, came out with Ugly Duckling Presse in December 2015. She is a fellow of the Michigan Society of Fellows and teaches in the art history department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE
i. Preface, Part I of Love, Delight, and Alarm

Karen Weiser is the author of To Light Out (UDP), Dear Pierre (Well Greased Press), Placefullness (UDP), and Pitching Woo (Cy Press).

In Conversation

UGLY DUCKLING PRESSE with Anne Waldman

Our mission is fairly specific: to publish translations, performance texts, “forgotten” literature, investigative writing, books by artists, and contemporary poetry that would have a hard time being placed at another publishing house.

DAVID HINTON

David Hinton is an American poet and renowned translator of Chinese poetry.

Premonition of Barrel Bombs (Syria)

Sterrett Smith is an artist who lives and works in the Hudson Valley with her husband David Levi Strauss.

Good Stock

Having been always (before and after everything), without limits of time, as if in existence without attachment, untethered from happenings rooted to temporality.

In Conversation

DAWN LUNDY MARTIN with Anne Waldman

I dig Agamben and his theories of lawlessness. I want more than lawlessness; I want recklessness, fury, spatial and dimensional disregard, and linguistic spatter. Disorder for the sake of good.

Excerpt from A Year from Today

Stacy Szymaszekis an American poet. She is the author of the chapbooks Orizaba: A Voyage with Hart Crane (2008), Stacy S.: Autoportraits(2008), from Hart Island(2009), and others. She also authored the book-length collections Emptied of All Ships (2005) and Hyperglossia(2009).

Oracle, or, Utopia

Eleni Sikelianos is the author, most recently, of You Animal Machine (The Golden Creek), a hybrid memoir, and The Loving Detail of the Living and Dead, poetry, both published by Coffee House Press. She has taught poetry in public schools, homeless shelters, and prisons, and currently teaches at the University of Denver.

In Conversation

Infrastructure Poetics
STACY SZYMASZEK with Anne Waldman

It seems like you were mightily prepared and inspired to this task of directorship at The Poetry Project, in addition to being a very dedicated and prodigious poet.

Friday March 25 at 4 pm

The following is one in a series of four texts written by Etel Adnan, initially upon receiving a postcard from Tunisia, from her friend Khaled Najar, who then translated them into Arabic, and published them with his press, TAWBAD. The short poems are direct, darting with politics, with distance, pain, insomnia, the love of detail.

Dixie Don’t Shoot

Kristin Prevallet is an American poet currently living and working in New York City. In recent years, she has appeared regularly at the Bowery Poetry Club. She has taught at Bard College, The New School for Social Research, and St. John’s University in Queens. She is also a literary translator of French, and was awarded a PEN Translation Fund Grant from PEN American Center in 2004.

NEW YORK STREETS: 2013 - 2015
Cement Resistance, Fume through a Vacuum

No Land is an artist, poet, & photographer living in NYC. More of her work can be found at Maepoe.com.

Drawings from Markets in (New) Delhi

Mimi Gross is a painter, set and costume designer and teacher. She lives and works in New York City. Currently, her work A Large Wooden Beach Scene is a part of “Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland” at the Broolklyn Museum.

To Err on the Side of Peace

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s books include Streaming, Blood Run, Off-Season City Pipe, Dog Road Woman, Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, Effigies II, and Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer. Awards include an American Book Award, Native Writers Circle of the Americas, a 2015 Pen Southwest Book Award, and a 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship.

Dead Horse Watch

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s books include Streaming, Blood Run, Off-Season City Pipe, Dog Road Woman, Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, Effigies II, and Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer. Awards include an American Book Award, Native Writers Circle of the Americas, a 2015 Pen Southwest Book Award, and a 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship. She teaches for VCFA MFA in Writing & Publishing, Red Earth MFA, and as Visiting Writer for SWP Naropa.

In Conversation

ALLISON ADELLE HEDGE COKE with Anne Waldman

As a poet, how are you contemporary with your time?

Shall We Cut The Cake

Anne Carson is a poet, essayist, translator, and professor of Classics.

In Conversation

VIVIEN BITTENCOURT with Vincent Katz

Vivien Bittencourt grew up in São Paulo, Brazil, receiving a degree in history from the University of São Paulo. She moved to New York City in 1986, where she decided to pursue her interest in filmmaking.

ALEXIS MYRE Power of Limits

“Looking at it just makes my fingers feel fat” said Billy, a man from Denver who has average sized hands. I knew exactly how he felt.

In Conversation

ALEXIS MYRE with Anne Waldman

On the occasion of Alexis Myre’s first solo show in New York (The Power of Limits, La MaMa Galleria, February 4 – 21, 2016), the artist spoke with Anne Waldman about her about the structure—and potential—of working with limits.

Use Alternate Route

If James Joyce returned from the dead to write about a working-class African American woman who drives an eighteen-wheeler along the South Texas border, he might have written a novel that resembles Gayl Jones’s Mosquito.

HOMAGES TO LEROI JONES
Excerpt from Diary

love T BT 44 haven’t been able to write for the past many weeks because I’ve been going crazy gradual and insidious loss of memory this was trying and stopped unsuccessfully to restore last night though before knowing I’d do anything to maintain at least one source of love

HOMAGE TO LEROI JONES
Dream

big buddha, really huge, at least 100 feet high. People come up and pay homage. An earthy lady of the land offers that part of herself.

HOMAGE TO LEROI JONES
[John Wieners to Joanne Kyger]

How busy you must be not to write your old friend, John. And how successful. How is bolinas? i have Phil Whalen’s new book,

HOMAGE TO LEROI JONES
Poem from John W. [to Joanne Kyger]
September, 1972

A blinding rain storm behind The beacon Chambers / and out in front denizens scatter under / inclement thunder. Joanne Kyger

HOMAGE TO LEROI JONES
For O.B.

And when you said I pleased you, I looked aside / at the hot town and the fearful grove on its orange plain

Rachida Madani

Rachida Madani was born in Tangiers, Morocco, in 1951, and still lives there, now retired from a career teaching French.

In Conversation

THOMAS SAYERS ELLIS with Anne Waldman
(January 2016)

It’s weird how lineage works, all forms of it. As you know I am a person who worries and bothers and has been worried and bothered by poetry, teaching, photography and––in my own way––performance.

Diaries of an Artist
The Art and Writing of Rosemary Mayer

In 1981, the artist Rosemary Mayer (1943 – 2014) began documenting the dinner parties she held in her Tribeca loft in a large sketchbook. Known as Dinner Book, it was a record of who came to dinner and what they ate. It was adorned with drawings by Mayer and her guests, wine labels, and photographs, and was annotated with commentary on each meal and occasion.

Champion Flowers

I hope this note finds you feeling very comfortable. / I’m in the fourth antechamber on the right, / just trying something new on the picture.

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