Erica Zhang reviews Niedecker monograph pamphlets by Jenny Penberthy, Paul G. Hayes & Martha Bergland

Lorine Niedecker’s Century 1903 – 2003 by Jenny Penberthy
Increase Lapham & Lorine Niedecker by Paul G. Hayes and Martha Bergland

Romantic transcendence held no appeal for Niedecker. Her exploratory gaze is more typically turned towards the ground.

                               A student
                              my head always down
                              of the grass as I mow
                              I missed the cranes.


(Penberthy 3)


It’s perhaps fitting for a first read-through of the monograph pamphlets published by the Friends of Lorine Niedecker and Woodland Pattern to have taken place some-thirty-thousand feet up in the air, on a flight out from Wisconsin. The question of scale that emerges from both volumes—scales of influence, scales of embodiment, mobility, scales of attention—was itself magnified in-flight, as if the stakes of Niedecker’s poetic project came into sharper focus with elevation and distance. Head in the clouds rather attuned to head down to the ground. Continue reading

Interpellation for the Monstrosity in Identity: Melissa R. Sipin reviews NESTS AND STRANGERS

“The monster is that being who refused to adapt to her circumstances.”
— Bhanu Kapil, Incubation (86)

Nests and Strangers (ed. Timothy Yu)

Nests and Strangers:
On Asian American Women Poets

Edited with an intro by Timothy Yu
Afterward by Mg Roberts.
(Kelsey Street Press, 2015)

America, the monstrous. America, in its quest for identity, nationalism and imperialism, is at a loss when it comes to identity. It is always erupting, has been erupting, confused, combusting. It is difficult to maneuver through the combustion, especially as subjects denied of personhood, as subjects who carry invisibility, as subjects who were colonized, massacred, erased.

It is rare for Americans to mention the Philippine-American War. And as a Filipina American writer, my familia’s trauma of immigration is rooted in this erasure, in this (anti-) narrative. We are not taught our genocide. We are not taught why we escaped, left, were called dogeaters, were called feral, primitive, animals. Race, sometimes, becomes a topic of silence among Asian Americans. It could be perpetuated by hiya (shame). Or the Model Minority Myth. The will to assimilate, to forget the violent appropriation and erasure of black / brown bodies, is apparent and devouring, you can see it, hear it, watch it on the news, read it in art, see it performed like a mistral show (Goldsmith’s and Place’s racist spectacles come to mind). Continue reading

fire sound and the prologue to the inevitable | by Soham Patel

A reading with Stephanie Barber and Xav Leplae at Woodland Pattern, September 21, 2014

Franklin and I started volunteering at Woodland Pattern today. And this is Ngoho’s fourth day here. Mike showed us the ropes, as they say. We got a tour of the layout of the store, learned how to sell books, how to find them in the stock and we talked: about our projects, about performance, about football and babies. Then everyone started to enter for the event: A reading sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Film Department. I remember being impressed by everyone’s dress, hair, and shoes. This was a fashionable bunch. Well groomed and ready to hear Stephanie Barber and Xav Leplae who both, too, I thought had great shoes. Continue reading