Hannah Weiner’s Open House, by Hannah Weiner.
Edited and with an introduction by Patrick F. Durgin.
ISBN 0-9767364-1-1 $14.95
Hannah Weiner’s influence extends from the sixties New York avant-garde, where she was part of an unprecedented confluence of poets, performance and visual artists including Phillip Glass, Andy Warhol, Carolee Schneeman, John Perrault, David Antin, and Bernadette Mayer. Like fellow-traveler Jackson Mac Low, she became an important part of the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E movement of the 70s and 80s, and her influence can be seen today in the so-called “New Narrative” work stemming from the San Francisco Bay Area. With other posthumous publications of late, her work is being discussed by scholars in feminist studies, poetics, and disability studies. But there does not yet exist a representative selection spanning her decades of poetic output. Hannah
Weiner’s Open House aims to remedy this with previously uncollected (and mostly never-published) work, including performance texts, early New York School influenced lyric poems, odes and remembrances to / of Mac Low and Ted Berrigan, and later “clair-style” works.
Hannah Weiner’s Open House beckons us into a realm
of poetry that bends consciousness in order to open
the doors of perception. Weiner is one of the great
American linguistic inventors of the last thirty years
of the 20th century. She created an alchemical poetry
that transforms the materials of everyday life into
a dimension beyond sensory perception. The pieces collected
here are as much conceptual art as sprung prose, experimental
mysticism as social realism, autobiography as egoless
alyric. Patrick Durgin has brought together touchstone
works, some familiar and some never before published.
Hannah Weiner’s Open House provides the only single volume introduction to the full range of Weiner’s
vibrant, enthralling, and unique contribution to the
poetry of the Americas.
Hannah Weiner’s syncopated patterning uncovers a conversation so thrilling that I never want it to end. As Frank O’Hara had earlier shifted the stable lyric self into a multiplicity of positions (“I don’t know what blood’s in me”), Weiner began in overdrive and rocketed outward, inhabiting texts and communities with the same skill with which she herself was inhabited. “I was also a pillow/ case,” she wrote, in Spoke (1984). “ I was in the closet I was an iron [ . . .] I was also sentence.” Weiner
makes haunting both spooky and hilarious. Messages
billboard across the page, words bleed, leap and wilt.
Superscription and subscription join forces to destroy
the hegemony of the poetic line, opening it up to pure
Hannah Weiner’s work, so lovingly presented here, brought her into the exploration of new ways & means for making poetry – a process by which she would have left her mark under any circumstances on avant-garde poetics & practice. The still more remarkable change in her later work came, spontaneously, with the onset of an experience, an ongoing alteration of perception in which visible words entered her field of vision – as cause of wonder & as “messages” to be included in the poems that followed. If her art both early & late insures her standing within the twentieth-century avant-garde, it connects her as well to the experience & writings of many traditional poet-mystics (clairvoyants in her word for them & for
herself). It is, when taken as a whole, an achievement
without precedent or comparison among her sometimes
Poet and visionary, Hannah Weiner knit together the
worlds of post New York School poetry, performance
and art. In the early 70s, she went on a three-week
fast and let go of everything, resurfacing with a newly
visceral, and visual, relation to letters and words.
Exploring the joins between art and life, language
and politics, she sought to "work in poetic forms that themselves alter consciousness." For Weiner, poetry became a way to intertwine her own experience with that of others, to let more of the world into her art: "I continue writing as a collaboration with WORDS I SEE." Rich with previously unpublished works and samples of key works, Hannah
Open House restores a crucial figure to the present.
Who Opens, by Jesse Seldess.
ISBN 0-9767364-0-3 $12.95
Jesse Seldess is a Chicago-based poet and literary activist currently residing in Berlin. His work has been published in numerous journals, including Chicago
Review and Kenning. He was a founding curator of the acclaimed Chicago reading and performance series Discrete Series and has read his own work from New York to Paris. Antennae, the small press journal of which he is editor and publisher, is internationally recognized for publishing cutting edge music, poetry, and performance texts. Who
Opens is his first full-length collection.
In Jesse Seldess’ poetry, words require a certain elasticity to perform an attentive music of formation. The manner in which phrasal units arrive, depart and recombine creates a movement like a flock of birds making a wide turn—there is a harmony of ever-shifting participants. The “who” of Who
Opens is a similarly mobile designation—it is “who you have continually overheard” and
what is itself being overheard. With great compassion
and precision, this book returns language to the habitat
of sound from which poetry has been away far too long.
These seven poems fit together with a perfect weave,
three sets of twins (in each set, you might read the
first as the sounding of themes, the second as a rhetorical
raga exploring them) followed by a coda, as sweet as
it is final. It is impossible not to read these poems
aloud &, sounded, they are magnificent. Jesse Seldess
has written a wonderful book.
Country Girl, by Hannah Weiner. OUT OF PRINT
Time Step, by Lorenzo Thomas. OUT OF PRINT
Syrup Hits, by David Larsen. Poetry. Intended as the "remix" of David Larsen's poetry collection THE THORN, the chapbook SYRUP HITS offers a meditative funhouse ride through phantom landscapes of the modern Middle East and southern United States. Its collaged pages are loosely gathered around the misadventures of a codeine abuser named Puzz, who is stationed at Abu Ghrayb during the first months of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Endpapers are individually block-printed and hand-tinted by the artist; contents are a bracing throwback to the days before Photoshop, and a reminder of the still-dramatic possibilities offered by scissors, glue and Papermate Flair pens. "Amazing. Some of the best use of collage I've ever seen, and my favorite handwriting since Whalen"--Gary Sullivan.
Often: A Play, by Barbara Guest and Kevin Killian. (Kenning # 11) OUT OF PRINT
Hovercraft, by K. Silem Mohammad. (Kenning # 8) Poetry. HOVERCRAFT, by K. Silem Mohammad. Poetry. A challenging, post-everything serial poem, HOVERCRAFT is a chapbook by emerging poet K.Silem Mohammad, now in its fourth edition. It is a long serial poem in reply to a signal epigraph to the book from a poem by Carl Rakosi. Mohammad picks "up the signet of these hanging contras / and bale[s] into words." The result is a book which resists safe nomenclature such as 'post-language' or 'nth generation New York'. Nor does it perform an exercise of reconciliation of whatever these schools sponsor by way of influence, be it a re-politicized Objectivism or an American sublime in the quotidian. Writing in Cross-Cultural Poetics #8, Maria Damon calls HOVERCRAFT "a beautiful and lyrical politicization of the contemporary act of writing."
Kenning / Way, ed. Patrick F. Durgin. Poetry. African American. Asian American. Latino/Latina. KENNING's 12th issue is a double-CD with sound works by three generations of innovative poets and musicians. Disc one is a "newsletter" disc with contributions from Allen Ginsberg, Eileen Miles, Andrew Levy & Gerry Hemingway, Anne-Marie Albiach, Bruce Andrews, Edwin Torres, Sawako Nakayasu, Amiri Baraka, and many others. Disc two is the first audio edition of renowned poet Leslie Scalapino's book-length poem WAY. This issue of KENNING also features a rare archival recording of Hannah Weiner et al reading from the Clarvoyant
Journal (at St. Mark's Poetry Project) as well as new music from underground musicians Akemi, Seacreature, and Colossus & Guardian.
Kenning: A Newsletter of Contemporary
Poetry, Poetics, and Non-Fiction Writing numbers 1-13. SELECT ISSUES AVAILABLE FROM SMALL PRESS DISTRIBUTION
Ambient Parking Lot, by Pamela Lu. PROSE. Part fiction, part earnest mockumentary, Ambient
Parking Lot follows a band of musicians as they wander the parking structures of urban downtown and greater suburbia in quest of the ultimate ambient noise -one that promises to embody their historical moment and deliver them up to the heights of their self-important artistry. Along the way, they make sporadic forays into lyric while contending with doubts, delusions, miscalculations, mutinies, and minor triumphs. This saga peers into the wreckage of a post-9/11 landscape and embraces the comedy and poignancy of failed utopia. Pamela Lu is the author of Pamela:
A Novel. Her recent work appears in Biting
the Error, 1913, and Fascicle, and is forthcoming in Chicago
Review and call: a review.
PUREsexSWIFTsex/sexoPUROsexoVELOZ, by Dolores Dorantes; trans. Jen Hofer. POETRY (BILINGUAL). Dolores Dorantes was born in Veracruz and has lived most of her life in Ciudad Juárez, where socioeconomic violence and politically-charged daily brutalities have informed her radically humane and beautifully incisive work as a poet and journalist. Dorantes is a rare phenomenon among Mexican literary communities, in that she engages a wide-ranging international stance toward poetry and poetics while refusing to accept state support from a government she cannot respect. She has published four book-length works of poetry, and is founding editor of one of the only truly independent small press projects in Mexico, Editorial Frugal (Frugal Press) which, among other activities, publishes Hoja
Frugal (The Frugal Page), a monthly poetry broadside printed in editions of 4000 and distributed free throughout Mexico. sexoPUROsexoVELOZ, simultaneously a breath of respite and a galvanizing wind, is a fragmented, interlocking sequence of poems that explore the divided yet overlapping territories of self and other, memory and loss, past and possibility. Jen Hofer’s translations of Dorantes’ work have appeared in Sin
puertas visibles: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry
by Mexican Women (ed. Jen Hofer, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003), War
and Peace 2 (ed. Judith Goldman and Leslie Scalapino, O Books, 2005), Aufgabe (ed. Tracy Grinnell, issue #3), Kenning (ed. Patrick Durgin, issue 13, 2002) and as a Seeing Eye chapbook (ed. Guy Bennett, 2004).