As a writing exercise, I had my students get a new sparkle crash from the Unicorn Name Generator, do some Google image searches, and poem the results. By the end, I was feeling like the Unicorn Name Generator knows too much about all of us. Is it the NSA? Is it the Poetry Foundation?
Alice Notley’s Unicorn Name:
Raul Zurita’s Unicorn Name:
Neil Young’s Unicorn Name:
In case you’ve missed it, Kent Johnson’s gone after Marjorie Perloff (PDF) for her entry on “Avant-Garde Poetics” in the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics, 4th ed. Writes Johnson:
[With] exception of a passing reference to the Brazilian brothers Augusto and Haroldo de Campos and their Concretista moment, not a single poet or group outside the Anglo-American/European experience is acknowledged. The entire Iberian Peninsula, even, goes missing!
Among those missing, he argues, are Vicente Huidobro, César Vallejo, Aimé Césaire, Kitasono Katue, Alejandra Pizarnik, and Raúl Zurita—plus he takes a few swipes at Conceptual Poetry and Flarf. Well worth reading.
Dreams for Kurosawa
by Raúl Zurita / translated by Anna Deeny
arrow as aarow , 2012
$10 Buy from arrow as aarow
I would like you to see how I’ve scratched and bent and battered this beautiful book. I have been holding this bark relatively near to my person for almost every day of the past few months. (I don’t go to the wheezy bar or to the co-op or to any grass just outside without some kind of bike bag growing out of my back. It rains on the way. There was an angry spill in August.) Do you think it’s still in a magical shape this way? I do. I thought I might want to write something about Raul Zurita when I got Dreams for Kurosawa in the mail, and I kept waiting for the bones of the poetry to dry out. They still haven’t. They drip on me. “Once again I see the worlds,” says a line in poem simply called #2 that I repeat to myself like tattoo berries.
Being near poetry means clanging mis-remembering and remembering together into brackish jewels. Both make the cardboard around us shine. In the case of Zurita, we have some kind of glimpse of where the lines between a real event and the logical leaps writing causes the brain to take exist. If you are familiar at all with the shapes that pus in and out of Zurita, you know he is a Chilean poet who writes primarily about surviving Augusto Pinochet’s atrocity-ridden coup d’etat in 1973. You know that his life is a circle of hinges burning around the real sadness it was pulped into. “I was seized by the Arauco brigade and before/dying I remembered the worlds” (#2). During the coup, Zurita was detained in the hold of a ship with a thousand others deemed enemies of the new military government. (He was carrying poems at the time, which were thrown into the water by a soldier. Those poems are his book, A Song for His Disappeared Love.) Over 30,000 people are estimated to have been tortured and a little over 3,000 killed during Pinochet’s time at the helm.
November 2nd, 2012 / 12:00 pm
Daniel Borzutzky’s The Book of Interfering Bodies opens with a quote from the 9/11 commission report:
It is therefore crucial to find a way of routinizing, even bureaucratizing, the exercise of imagination.
This is how the book begins. This book: a powerful parable about the routinization and bureaucratization of the exercise of imagination. This book: so strongly influenced by Zurita’s poetic and painful experiences. This book: a grostesque fairy tale about poetry and books, where the Poet is small and lethal and Books that contain all the world’s secrets waste away in a wasteland pile of shit.
April 21st, 2011 / 12:47 pm
15. Now Zurita – he said – now that you got in here into our nightmares, through pure verse and guts: can you tell me where my son is?
14. It’s not tough not the solitude, nothing has happened and my sleep rises and falls as usual.
13. Now everyone is fallen except for us the fallen.
12. From there the wind blew across the inexistent pampas and as it settled the massacred faces became visible, Amen.
11. For his disappeared love he went form hole to hole, grave to grave, searching for the eyes that don’t find.
10. Everything dies sucking itself.
It’s hard to keep track of anything if you’re going to AWP, but here’s one I’m making sure not to miss: Raúl Zurita reading and in conversation Friday at Noon in support of his new book from Action Books, Songs for His Disappeared Love. From Johannes: “This is like getting Neruda to the fucking AWP. This guy spent 6 weeks in a shed being tortured following the Pinochet coup.” More info and locations here.
While you’re at it, come by and say hello as a bunch of us from HTMLGiant will be at a monster table chillin.
What other events are worth seeing?