Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Annie Grizzle, Co-d

Transmogrify, image by Sandra Boskamp  


Machine bug. Only datas fly. Computer hit face and face hit
window. I sit in the window. My cat is sick. I put the nectarines
in a paper bag three days ago. The nectarines aren’t two days
ago. I put the nectarines in a bag ripe. The cat is free lime. There
is no because I haven’t this summer. From Milwaukee or
Baltimore. I forgot to electrodes or dead lava. I am pail mad. I
started being sober three months ago. I put vodka in my drink a
week ago.

I’ve decided not to count that I put vodka in my drink a week
ago. I don’t ponder death. I made talk for grapefruit aid if only
but cry yet. I won’t and I don’t want to. The figures found asleep
 are my grandmother. I dreamt I made trinity. I dreamt the test is
what ended it. I like my new roommates. My job is fine to go to.
I am forgiven. Gave name tag as acceptable cash planet.

The IRS is after me. They won’t buy my poems. My cat is sick. I
can’t eat electric bike more. Too much color. Fish kill why is
dark out. I hate you. You hurt me. Two more eggs than. It wasn’t
worth it. Head split sideway farm. Fuck you I should quit face
cloth. I am two helmets. Front door stomach war but for
yesterday. Plastic tone. No cuts. Deep bruising. Nectarines.

Meat ate. For sweat from bush teal compost. It wasn’t worth it.
Shingle belly. There are bigger wastings they said once, why I
am thought on you. I think I have too much free time. I’m circle
for it. Deep gut burn for false start. Looser for addiction I find it.

Staggering. I hate you. I want you expose. You think I low bow.
You think I’m foot mush. Maybe I do want. I’ve never been
here. Bus for six hours. I miss hard. I still have your skateboard.
It was always platonic. Two snout trough magnet. I am co-d. Sift
pressure and for lip cup if for or else. You didn’t ask me to wild
bark, sweet tongue.

To make tender, to see the ocean of it? Dry purpose across a
landscape. How sound names it, my fascinating slu,p. It crawls
down your throat. My very own mucus.

All dead. The IRS is after me. Oxygen luxury now. Chest bank.
What happy crowd. So may many find comfort in blue throat. I
want you expose. You think I low bow. You think I’m foot
mush. My cat is sick.

It’s been four days and I’ve softened
But I cannot soften to you

I attempt control by being the nice one
Everything is calculated

I forgot I was an animal.

—Annie Grizzle

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Clay Thistleton, excerpts from Never Mind the Saucers

Monday, November 19, 2018

Heller Levinson, excerpts from UN--

little riverrun, Linda Lynch, Pastel on paper, 2018

excerpts from UN--


surrey-ing the road to lost
road, bounding perplexity potholes, in the
rush of vexative disarray on the heels of a prosperous meander,
the pause to ponder:  to roam the electrical currency of epoxy garlic, to calculate the unravellings necessary to build an effective passing lane, the burden of proof lies with the definition, roasting through the perils of combinatorial seepage a pledge is born, -- to spend
a lifetime rummaging foam

be-Wilder (take 2)

trespass reckless                      care-less
            forlorn leeches morbidity
ogive collapse ……………..
………….. counting creates
measure, you can
count on it, censorial

the animal grasps
none of this




is the


be-Wilder (take 3)

sludge come duly
scrawl calamities bituminize
penning animals as penmanship
lamentations lap the labyrinth
loll lacerate

where in the

upon reflection it’s pointless to consider alternatives in the wake of administrative fallacies the derelict the disbeliever the denuded the disgraced the downtrodden it’s moments like this when opportunities abound boundless bosom broth bramble bumble don’t ya know yet perimeter science has arrived at a subversion of terms based upon scrupulously unfolding nightgowns & other diverse theories a complexion of parts bearing granular perplexities if only you stayed for the finale the uproar was uproarious it was the driest of seasons the dreariest poultry if tutorials could account for Sunday football the kinetics of beer slippery when wet watch where you step the game wardens came up empty the game never came the art of trespass is experiencing a revival in inner circles otherwise why waste the paint it’s a species of discontent to pray for salt after hours a dark space between the evidence looms large rehearsals are fumbling the influence of outsiders cannot be overstated still the morning hours delicious for fornication

—Heller Levinson

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Nathan Spoon’s: It Doesn’t Break, A Review of Heller Levinson’s LinguaQuake

LinguaQuake, Heller Levinson
Book Cover Image, “Quarry, VIII” (Detail)
Pastel pigment on cotton paper
60 x 44 inches, 2015

It Doesn’t Break
A Review of Heller Levinson’s LinguaQuake
by Nathan Spoon

LinguaQuake is the latest volume resulting from Heller Levinson’s ongoing engagement with Hinge Theory. Reading through it, the poet Geoffrey Hill repeatedly came to mind. This is an odd correlation for many reasons. Hill is a poet of dense history, willing to experiment within modernist parameters, which reluctantly reached into postmodernism. He sees language as “fallen” from its prelapsarian glory and admires poetry that creates “strongholds of the imagination.” Levinson, by contrast, dispenses with history as a by-product of dispensing with narrative, and he approaches language in a manner that embraces its continuously bifurcating display of movements.

These are substantial differences, but what links both poets is a commitment to the examination of words. Hill, as a deeply English writer, moves in harmony with the OED, while Levinson’s approach to words is far more experimental. Still, for all his effort to have “Hinge depart from all other poetic fashionings in declaring itself an ongoing ever-fulfilling linguistic enterprise,” Levinson is surely a participant in what John Ashbery calls an “American poetry whose fructifying mainstream seems at times to be populated mostly by cranks (Emerson, Whitman, Pound, Stevens).”


While other aspects of Hinge Theory are demonstrated in previous collections and outlined in writings referenced in the notes of this collection, LinguaQuake explores the two areas of Modular Collapse and Chaotic Symmetry. About Modular Collapse Levinson writes,

we will see modules morph, liquidate, & interosculate in multiple capacities. They will self-destruct. They will convulse. They will mangle & entangle.

and about Chaotic Symmetry he writes,

the apparently slop-shod and disorderly is integral to the Entirety of the Organism’s Lively Burgeoning.

Modular Collapse

A module may be understood as an amorphous clustering of language around a word or words providing the occasion of a starting point. As the language of modules “quakes”, one encounters “breaks, highs & lows, pauses, gaps, elisions, lacunae” transpiring in a manner “more resembling Breath than catalogue.” This last phrase favors “Breath” (an amorphous sweeping that vitalizes, and which can be understood as “life”) over the “catalogue” (a list of things or “a collection of detailed comments and explanations,” OED).

Levinson’s descriptions of Modular Collapse are relevant to what is enacted in this book as it unfolds. And sometimes there is more. For example, and going back to the above description, “interosculate” is a biology term meaning “to have some common characteristics: said of separate species or groups.” It also means to interpenetrate. While modules in this text do interoscuate, they sometimes also interosculate with poems by other poets. Here is a passage that is resonant with Whitman’s “Song of Myself”:

relying heavily on graph analysis I plot my mate. I am exalted. fluttering with anticipation. possibility. I am on my way to becoming someone. soon to emerge. into. person-hood. I cannot stress this too strongly. how thrilling it is. to be about to. on the cusp. of. hatching. pages pages pages. I am visualizing pages filled with my Self. who wouldn’t be giddy. after years of deprivation. submerged. an obliterate in a sea of commotion. (p. 49)

Another similarly Whitmanesque passage (although the optimism is inverted) reads:

flutteration pins me. I am comatose. broke. a slag upon the floor. low down. my delusions my dreams smattered. to be. to be all you can be. haunts me. I crave to measure up. to amount to something. to become. to to to   yes, to formulate. to emerge. hell, if not to be ― to resemble? (p. 35)

Importantly, Modular Collapse implies that the text is not an arrangement of separate modules (poems). It is a singular mass, a conglomeration:

at what point in the gathering does the collection become assemblage. how does criteria assemble. how does judgement discharge. (p. 109)

Chaotic Symmetry

In Levinson’s brief description of Chaotic Symmetry, the operative word may be “apparently”. The text itself speaks of what it intends to enact, and this enactment grounds its language in the realm of intentionality:

the wobble    the displaced the

misplaced the wayward the

awkward the maligned the…

malignant the belligerent (p. 21)

And elsewhere:

gruntled slop-
…swerves of preservative in the dark undulate of dank demeanor (p. 60)

This last is a poem in miniature. “Gruntled” is a humorous adjective meaning “pleased, satisfied and contented.” “Slop-sustain” recalls “slop-shod” in the above description. “Slop-shod” is a play on “slipshod” (“lack of care, thought or organization”) and, because “slop” means “spill or flow over the edges of a container,” usually due to carelessness, is similar in meaning to “slipshod.” To be “gruntled” with “slop-/ sustain/ …swerves of preservative in the dark undulate of dank demeanor” implies that these things, which are frequently excised from poetry, have their place. Presumably there has always been a countermovement within poetry that extends active sympathy towards things that may seem antithetical and contrary to its own spirit.

Hinge Theory Quaking

Even as Levinson’s aim is to do something different from what previous poets have done, his poetry has, until now, represented a mostly insular contribution to the American tradition to which he belongs.

A renowned Hindu teacher once said that a person’s spirituality is like a fledgling plant growing in a pasture. If a small fence is built around it temporarily, so that cows and goats cannot eat it, it will one day grow into a large tree, providing shade for many. Similarly, a poetic approach may at first need to be surrounded by a small fence and carefully protected. But, once this has been accomplished and once it is growing, a key aspect of nurturing the poetic approach is knowing when to lose control of the very things one has worked at so diligently.

This is a significant moment for Hinge since the two areas explored in this book are allowing Hinge Theory poetry to move forward in larger ways.

LinguaQuake is Heller Levinson’s most substantial collection to date.


Visionary Philology: Geoffrey Hill and the Study of Words, by Matthew Sperling, Oxford University Press, 2014

“Strongholds of the Imagination,” Geoffrey Hill interviewed by Alexandra Bell, Rebecca Rosen and Edmund White, The Oxonian Review, Issue 9.4, May 18, 2009

Selected Prose of John Ashbery, edited by Eugene Richie, University of Michigan Press, 2004

Leaves of Grass, First and “Death-Bed” Editions, by Walt Whitman, edited with an Introduction and Notes by Karen Karbiener, Barnes & Noble Books, 2004