Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mark Cunningham and Cyrus Console

I heard them read last night - great reading. Good crowd, too.

Anyway, I don't agree with Kenny Goldsmith that the fragment is dead, but there sure is a lot of hypotactic poetry going on. Mark Cunningham's prose pieces are really built around the sound and ideational patterns of the sentence. And the sentences are grammatically correct sentences:

Metallic Wood-boring Beetle
Leaf eaten into lace: lingerie calls forth the death drive. Not only could philosophy not prevent any of the 20th century holocausts, it couldn't stop the Archies' "Sugar, Sugar" from running through my head all last Tuesday. It must really be Spring: the cherry tree is blooming for the third time.

The abrupt veering from high to low subjects and registers, and the (short) "new sentence" feel of a piece like this really came forth as Mark read them with his (Alfred E.) Newmanesque insouciance. And the comedy; and the social commentary. Always a red-headed ash borer in the ointment. I guess this is pretty paratactic after all.

The pieces in Body Language started from the body part/function or letter/number of the title. However, it turns out the beetles and the leaves were titled after the pieces were written. You make the connection.

Cyrus Console read bits of his w.i.p. "The Odyssey," which makes some superficial structural nods towards the Odyssey, but pitches away from it quickly. It sounds a little like a hash-smoking Old Testament prophet trying to chant the story of the hero while reading Noam Chomsky (or Al Krebs). Or something like that. Lots of incantatory dependent clauses - you just gotta go with it. But still: hypotaxis + complete sentences (long ones).

However, last Friday's "Actual Kansas" reading by Stacy Szymaszek made the case for the fragment. Her long poem "Heart Island" sounded like a white-out poem - glimpses and overheard bits, rather than fragments in the Sappho sense. And an affecting picture of the destitute of NYC - and their final resting place on the eponymous isle - came through distinctly - the emotional geography of it. I've been teaching Mina Loy lately. "Heart Island" was kind of like "Hot Cross Bum" with the abstract nouns (and a lot of the other words) erased.