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Jesse Seldess’s third full length collection of poetry, SEVERAL ROTATIONS plots an experience through a constellation of questions: How do we locate and orient ourselves amidst a continuous present of inconspicuously networked devices and “services”? With tracked interests reinforced to impulses through millisecond auctions for ad impressions and “sponsored” content, what are our desires and dreams? With products valued as a function of the strength of the habits they create, where are our values and actions? Written over several years but at the scale of minutes, SEVERAL ROTATIONS is “full of the missing words” for the affects of intersecting and overloading dimensions in a technology-paced, data-saturated context. These poems attempt to slow down, interrupt, reweave, and transform that density into an open and livable “interface.”

Donna Stonecipher calls Several Rotations a “majestically sad techno-pastoral, a penetrating inquisition into how selfhood is being transformed by all the modes perpetrated by personal technology. Face falling off the edge of the face is so poignant, why?”

Click through for details and ordering. And consider subscribing to Kenning Editions for a steeply discounted batch of books, including SEVERAL ROTATIONS.

Devin King will launch his new book The Grand Complication with readings at Wolfman Books in Oakland, CA on Friday, October 25th and The Poetic Research Bureau in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, October 26th. Devin King is the poetry editor of the Green Lantern Press and the author of CLOPSThe Resonant Space, and These Necrotic Ethos Come the Plains. Reading alongside him will be Patrick Durgin, author of PQRS: A Poets Theater Script. Carrie Hunter reads also, at Wolfman. Her third full length book, Vibratory Milieu, is forthcoming from Nightboat books in 2020. She lives in San Francisco and teaches ESL. Evan Kleekamp lives in Los Angeles. They are a 2019 Andy Warhol Arts Writers Grant finalist. Click thru the respective locations for details about these free events.

Says John Tipton, “Devin King’s Grand Complication is a dizzy fugue of forms–regular stanzas in radical variety. And the sources of its argument are just as varied–The Thebaid of Statius, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, or Melrose Place. It’s reminiscent of Zukofky’s omnivorous, inventive formalism. King orchestrates actors and narratives into a weltering long poem: William leads stoners to his apartment, thinking Julia will follow, but instead, she leads Abbie into Luke’s room and Mike follows, though Mike had flirted with Julia before she jumped in the pool while Amphiaraus was swallowed by the earth. I know. It’s complicated.”

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And stay tuned for a one-off rendition of the Festival of Poets Theater this coming February at LAXART in Hollywood, CA. The Festival of Poets Theater ran four years in Chicago and featured works by Alain Jugnon, Kathy Acker, Kevin Killian, Quraysh Ali Lansana, Michael Pisaro, Suzanne Stein and Steve Benson, Douglas Kearney, and many others. Lineups for this coming weekend in February will follow shortly.

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Subscribe to Kenning Editions and receive all books in our 2019-2020 season: including Grenade in Mouth: Some Poems of Miyó Vestrini, Kevin Killian’s Stage Fright: Selected Plays from San Francisco Poets Theater, The Grand Complication by Devin King, Several Rotations by Jesse Seldess, and The Chilean Flag by Elvira Hernández, translated by Alec Schumacher, and with an introduction by Cecilia Vicuña. In April 2020, Kenning Editions will publish a collection of Audre Lorde’s lectures, readings, and interviews given in Germany during the 1980s. Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe is edited by Mayra Rodríguez Castro and offers a certain, sometimes surprising curriculum for engaged poetics based on readings of American counter-culture. You’ll receive it even before it lands in your local bookstore. Later, look for new books by Devin King, Legna Rodriguez and Holly Melgard.

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Recent books in translation from Kenning Editions include The Chilean Flag, by Elvira Hernández; Juana I, by Ana Arzoumanian; The Dirty Text, by Soleida Rios; and Grenade in Mouth: Some Poems of Miyó Vestrini. Anna Vitale’s excellent, thoughtful review of Grenade in Mouth is up at Full-Stop now.

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Kenning Editions is teaming up with Action Books, Green Lantern Press, and Small Press Distribution to present an off-site reading at the 2020 AWP conference in San Antonio, where we will launch the forthcoming Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe—Selected Seminars and Interviews 1984-1992 edited by Mayra A. Rodríguez Castro. We will launch this and Jesse Seldess’ glorious new collection, due in December, Several Rotations, this May in New York City. Full details will follow shortly. Let’s get through the rest of 2019 first, though…

Translated into English by Alec Schumacher and with an introduction by Cecilia VicuñaThe Chilean Flag is, at long last, available in a fully bilingual edition.

La bandera de Chile narrates the vicissitudes of the Chilean flag during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) evoking the fate of victims of political violence. The Chilean flag is a protagonist divested of agency, a national emblem subjected to the whims of political exigency, a body tortured by those who profess their allegiance to her. She is at the same time a flag, the nation, and woman, especially the mother-spouse figure who the military regime believed should be seen, but not heard. In the end the flag is used as a gag; her only act of resistance is to declare her silence.

Written in 1981, the book became a potent symbol in opposition to the dictatorship and was passed around in mimeographed copies until it was formally published in 1991. Poets at the time had to read and write in secret, self-publishing works in order to avoid the censors and secret police. María Teresa Adriasola wrote under the pen name Elvira Hernández upon the insistence of a friend to avoid being detained for the nature of her poetry. Her work has recently received renewed attention, being awarded the Pablo Neruda Ibero-American Poetry Prize and the Jorge Tellier National Poetry Prize both in 2018.

Despite the uniquely Chilean context of the work, this poem contains an urgent message for readers today as rising nationalist movements mobilize patriotic discourse in order to silence dissenting voices. The Chilean Flag continues to speak of silence, and through silence, speaks.

A 501c3 non-profit, Kenning Editions relies on the input of many, and now also your tax-deductible monetary contributions to continue. Subscriptions and other goodies are for the taking.

In December 2019 comes Jesse Seldess’ third full length collection, Several Rotations. In April 2020, Kenning Editions will publish a collection of Audre Lorde’s lectures, readings, and interviews given in Germany during the 1980s. Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe is edited by Mayra Rodríguez Castro and offers a certain, sometimes surprising curriculum for engaged poetics based on readings of American counter-culture. Later, look for new books by Devin King, Legna Rodriguez and Holly Melgard. Care of editor Daniel Borzutzky, Juan Luis Martinez’s The New Novel will appear before too long, also, the first translation into English of this influential and strange rupture in the generic edifice of poetry.

The previous season saw much lauded releases, including: Kevin Killian’s selected plays, Stage Fright; Grenade in Mouth: Some Poems of Miyó Vestrini, edited by Faride Mereb, and translated by Anne Boyer and Cassandra Gillig; and Craig Dworkin’s The Pine-Woods Notebook. September 2019 brings The Chilean Flag by Elvira Hernández, translated by Alec Schumacher, and with an introduction by Cecilia Vicuña. The Dirty Text by Afro-Cuban poet Soleida Rios (translated by Barbara Jamison and Olivia Lott) was named by Entropy one of the best works of fiction published in 2018. Juana I by Ana Arzoumanian (translated by Gabriel Amor) was released and we were able to bring Ana to the United States for her first ever readings in New York and Chicago.

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Kenning Editions presents a book launch with Olivia Lott and Daniel Borzutzky reading from Soleida Ríos’s The Dirty Text and Devin King reading from his The Grand Complication, Saturday, September 7th, 5:00 PM at The Dial Bookshop, 410 S Michigan Ave #210, Chicago, IL 60605. Free and ADA accessible. Details can be found here.



Join us for a reading to launch two books from Kenning Editions, Devin King’s The Grand Complication and The Dirty Text by Soleida Ríos, translated by Barbara Jamison and Olivia Lott. 
Soleida Ríos is an acclaimed Cuban poet whose work draws from Afro-Cuban traditions as well as writers as diverse as Juan Rulfo and Aimé Cesaire. She has published fourteen books from 1977 to the present, and The Dirty Text (El Texto Sucio) is her first book to appear in English. Written in the 1990s in Cuba, it is a book of poems, a book of stories and, most vividly, a book of dreams. The Dirty Text received a major literary award from the Alejo Carpentier Foundation, and her 2013 collection Estrías won the Nicolás Guillén award. Ríos was also recognized with the National Literary Critics Award in 2014.

Olivia Lott’s translations of Spanish American poetry have most recently appeared in Brooklyn Rail in TranslationThe Kenyon ReviewMAKE Magazine, Spoon River Poetry ReviewWaxwing, and World Literature Today. She is the co-translator (with Barbara Jamison) of Cuban poet Soleida Ríos’s The Dirty Text (Kenning Editions, 2018). She is a Ph.D. Student and Olin Fellow in Hispanic Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where she is writing a dissertation on translation, revolution, and Latin American neo-avant-garde poetry.

Daniel Borzutzky’s latest poetry collection is Lake Michigan (Pitt Poetry Series, 2018).  He is the author of The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press), recipient of the 2016 National Book Award for Poetry. His other books include Memories of my Overdevelopment (Kenning Editions, 2015); In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (Nightboat, 2015), and The Book of Interfering Bodies (Nightboat, 2011). His translation of Galo Ghigliotto’s Valdivia  (Co-im-press) won the American Literary Translator’s Association 2017 National Translation Award. He has translated poetry collections by Chilean poets Raúl Zurita and Jaime Luis Huenún. He teaches in the English Department and Latin American and Latino Studies Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Devin King is the poetry editor for The Green Lantern Press. A narrative poem, The Grand Complication, is out from Kenning Editions. Previous books and chaps: CLOPS, These Necrotic Ethos Come the Plains, and The Resonant Space. Criticism on poetry and sound studies can be found at The Chicago Review, Make Magazine, Plume Poetry, Dusted, and Critical Inquiry.

SPD’s “staff picks” section features this recommendation of Kevin Killian’s Stage Fright, by the inimitable Trisha Low:

I think that people tend to have a lot of preconceived notions when it comes to Poet’s Theater – poets themselves especially because poets are Judgmental and there’s something about the sense of amateurism that people balk at. I always find this funny because there’s literally no other genre in which someone is allowed to make a mistake and then smooth it over by being like ‘well that’s what i meant to do, I mean I found the mistake interesting…’ – only in Poetry, I guess.

But Poetry aside, when all is said and done, STAGE FRIGHT demonstrates, at its core, that Poet’s Theater is far from a theater of miscommuniques, mistakes, or infelicitous acts of speech. Rather, it demonstrates the limitations of genre itself, which is also to say, that in its expansive acts of unreality, its practice of exceeding its form, Poet’s Theater is about inhabiting new worlds, new situations – as a different act of being. Not simply for the purposes of political gain, or bettering the world, but simply for the pure enjoyment of it.

Joy is something that is especially difficult to figure in moments like ours, but how can you not feel it when you put those persons most prone to absurdity and imagination in the same physical space just simply to have fun? How can you not feel it when you find some version of Isabella Rossellini rubbing up against Tippi Hedrun and Melanie Griffith? How can you not feel it when we, as Kevin writes, “act too, inhabit other realities than [our] own… as if the magical hills of San Francisco didn’t already give us all the permission we needed, to become someone else, even just for one night.’

Kevin himself, with the sparkle in his eye and his Chloe Sevigny photo face was the master of this – a ringleader of mischief, and radical instigator of the joy we most need in order to find the strength to do the real work, the important political work – the joy itself, of being. This collection is a beautiful testament to the radical possibilities of this joy. So drink a beer, put on a record, and go crazy. Sometimes, it feels as though there’s little we can do, but this, we can do together, on the collapsing stage of our degenerate world. Let’s do it.

…a work of fiction allows you to capture reality and at the same time what it conceals.

—Marcel Broodthaers

It’s a dire summer. There is no escape, but there is an answer. Read fiction that reveals. All Kenning Editions titles that have been rumored or marketed as fiction are on sale through Sunday, $7.00 lowly a piece!

Juana I, by Ana Arzoumanian, translated by Gabriel Amor

The Dirty Text, by Soleida Rios, translated by Barbara Jamison and Olivia Lott

Insomnia and the Aunt, by Tan Lin

The Compleat Purge, by Trisha Low

and

Ambient Parking Lot, by Pamela Lu

Over at Tarpaulin Sky:

Oh holy hell, this is good. These are texts (mostly poems) written by the Venezuelan poet, journalist, and screenwriter Miyó Vestrini between 1960 and 1990. I’ve slowed down my reading of Grenade in Mouth to maybe a line or two at a time as I want it to last as long as possible. I’m also skipping around a bit so that there will be poems I missed to discover later. I’m laying the ground for my next pass. Vestrini is amazing. How can she be so breezy and so intense? How can she sound like someone you know and nobody you’ve ever read? How can this be so much about her world and ours? Translators Anne Boyer and Cassandra Gillig, in their super sharp Introduction, say, “To translate Miyó Vestrini is like letting a deadly current pass through one’s body and hoping not to get hurt. To read Miyó Vestrini is much the same, and any introduction to her work must end with a warning: of course this is dangerous territory.” The work is, of course, as vital and energizing as it is deadly. It is wild and brilliant. Nobody should ask me to write another “What I’m Reading Now” column for a while because I will still be reading this.

Reporting with deep sadness today: Kevin Killian has passed away. His selected plays, Stage Fright, was launched just under a month ago at The Stud in San Francisco. I flew out flew out from Chicago to see Kevin and the performance of “Box of Rain” he (and the great Maxe Crandall) put on there. Kevin was respected, admired, and even beloved by so many that there is just a little to add to the various tributes already coursing through social media. My report on the book launch forms the last section of an essay that will close out my next book, so wait for it. Meanwhile, look around to all of these tributes and count the many profoundly talented and compassionate people who loved him, and that will tell you how extraordinary this man was. His influence will resonate for a very, very long time.

On his poetry:

[Jack Spicer’s] theories of dictation have also been important to me and, even though they have been under question, I still imagine that that is exactly the way I write poetry myself. I just tune down all the other noises until the voice of the “other” can be heard—the voice of what Spicer calls the “invisible world.” Spicer compared the poet to a radio through which transmissions find an audience, but the origin of these messages remains unknown. Or sometimes he said that one’s own experiences and memories and talents and education might well be thought of as “furniture” in the attic of one’s mind and yet the ghosts seek to write poetry by using that furniture, shoving it about till it means something, or are any rate conveys something. Yes, I do happen to know heaps about Kylie Minogue, but will that see me in good stead? Will the Martians be able to mash up what I know to get any poetry out of me? You be the judge. [read the entire interview here]

On his poets theater:

It’s all about the people who aren’t actors, who played in our plays. Just regular artists and writers and poets. We can’t memorize the plays, so we have to get up there with the script in our hands. And somehow that allows us all to act, act, act in a much better way than if we had been in the actor’s studio. [read the entire interview here]

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Kevin Killian, Box of Rain, still from performance, Second Annual Festival of Poets Theater, Links Hall, Chicago 2016.

See also, The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater: 1945-1985, co-edited by Kevin Killian and David Brazil.

We are pleased to announce the publication of Devin King’s fourth book of poetry, The Grand Complication.

Life on earth was a hot mess for Oedipus’s sons and daughters. Could there be a more fitting time to revisit the Theban cycles? In Devin King’s surprising, lively recasting, the ground is constantly grounded and slipping out from under your feet at once, a way to understand what it’s like to be alive. As a bonus (the bonus that is poetry), King works some of the most astoundingly beautiful thought-images through the text: “Children outside my window given / meaning by me are given meaning where they come / from, where they go. It never ends. So this poem.”

—Eleni Sikelianos

Read an excerpt here, via Aurochs. The Grand Complication can be had via subscription to Kenning Editions. Distributed by Small Press Distribution, most assuredly. Direct orders here. And in September, King will read from the book at The Dial Bookshop in downtown Chicago; details here.

 

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