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1.06.2004

Related note: Find Duplessis' unnumbered "Draft," "Precis" on Nomados, PO BOX 4031, 349 West Georgia Street, Vancouver BC V6B 3Z4. Nice looking chapbook, and sonnet-summary of every draft written to date!
Just finished Baus' The To Sound   while at the gym, and I must reiterate that one ought to own this volume. Here is the title poem:

The To Sound

To look out a window is to want to be on the side of the birds.

You arrange your arms so the distance is clear.

If the entire was wound. Breathed glass. A tooth embedded so far it burst.

A cut of your cloth to negate every saw.

You are the one after zero. The sister of a. Bird tuned to ash.

To pronounce your medicine in my mouth.

I know I can never understand the. Even if the was powder on my lips.

Unacknowledged and disguised as O Zero, et tu ?

If my eye could stay glass. Breathe. And stem.

Can a wound enter the was? Can one entire turn?

Stay I know the tired sound.

To look out a window is to be embedded inside birds.

If I could amplify your glass. Atone for the sound of my incessant lips.

You are a. Too. Tuned to has. Ash.

You are the you and. The to sound. The utter the.

If I have to spit out all my teeth to stay in the.

The. Is it all to say the weight of the?

If I could stay lost to sound. If a single eye could say two.

To breathe glass. To unwind a wing.

To say the entire wound as window. Stone turned to sound.

If the sting unwound itself as sleet. As rain in the cut stem.

If the window to pronounce magnifies.

You are the one after end. The burned bird I woke up in.

------

While I was working out, people kept walking by, staring at the cover. See a picture of it at Noah's "Human Verb": www.humanverb.blogspot.com. I must say, I feel pumped...An aside of which I am proud: I once read the entirety of Rachel Duplessis' "Drafts" while on a stairmaster (on consecutive days of course!). In fact, I'm not sure I ever touched solid ground while reading that book!
Have I mentioned Jane Sprague and her newly established Palm Press?? Jane came through BFLO to read with Kyle Schlesinger, Thom Donovan, and Terrence Churiso (I have no idea how to spell his last name!), and while passing through dropped off Juliana Spahr's new chapbook "things of each possible relation hashing against one another." The book is great (though much too short) and beautifully produced. It's a great example of what Jane is capable of as a publisher. The best thing about Palm Press is that Jane is interested in publishing cross-genre work by women.
She is also busy with her reading series in Ithica, NY, and in February, will be hosting a small press book forum. Hurrah for Jane!

Buy Spahr's book before it disapears and you have to cry: Palm Press, 9 Puhalka Road, Newfield, NY 14867.

Here is a poem from "things of each possible relation," though it is difficult to get a sense of the work as context is very important:

so it was and so it is
endless screw of the feeding
it was so and so it is
it was thus and thus it is
screw without aim of the feeding
it was therefore and therefore is it
so we will be
it was consequently and consequently is it
we will be so
we will be thus
it was consequently and consequently it is
therefore we are
we are consequently
we are consequently
so we are
alaaiha, 'e'ea, alawi, crow, apapane, mudhen
we are so
bird, egg, fly, pinworm, grasshopper, grub
we are thus
fly-cather, turnstone, a'u, a'o, plover snipe
therefore we are
dragonfly, ant, moth, caterpillar, woodborer
we are consequently
we are consequently

1.04.2004

Had the pleasure of receiving The To Sound   in the mail last week, Eric Baus' new book on Verse Press. Baus is real, real good, and I've been a little less than calm about this volume for awhile. I commend Forest Gander for his impeccable taste in selecting Baus for the 2002 Verse Prize, and as it is now 2004, I commend verse for finally printing this thing! The To Sound   compiles two of Baus' early chapbooks (both absolutely stunning), the space between magnets   (Diaeresis Press) and a swarm in the aperture   (Margin to Margin), along with some equally compelling newer stuff. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Baus' work some time ago as syllogism   co-editor Trevor Calvert went to school with him in Chico while they were both undergraduates. While many younger poets are writing prose blocks that make similar moves, I see Baus' lines cohering in a way that seems both necessary and absolutely fluid. For instance,

DEAR BIRDS, NOTHING WORKS THE SAME WAY TWICE.

If is say my eyes are quotation marks pulled across the sky, I mean the way a beaten wing is parralel to treading water. I'm sorry for transcribing the incendiary tenor you never wanted read into your movements. I've exposed all my film. This morning I found bits of your letters in the newspaper, clustered around the four-color pictures. It was funny how you made magenta bleed from the image of the eclipse. To prove a point I circled all the letters in CASSIOPEIA in the metro section. I'm tired of breathing through my sleeve in a rented room.

What I like so much about Baus' poems, and those of Tanya Brolaski and Cynthia Sailers, is that the lines seem to spin out in various directions, but somehow hold on long enough to create an important sense of cohesion. A lot of younger poets are writing sentences that ought to be placed gently in a glass case, totally boxed off from the rest of the poem. I like that the sentences here have utility, and that they function in multiple ways that don't simply rely on a few brilliant (and quick) fireworks.

Another from Baus,

DEAR BIRDS, THANKS FOR YOUR CONSTRUCTION PAPER CROWN,

you know how much a consensus means to me. When you closed your eyes the radio said the spine is a spool of filaments. I'm the docent of everything you've ever sewn. If it's a matter of squinting at a fettered sun, I'm spilled through your number lines, wondering why my tongue is so shadow, why hand is snow in my spelling voice. Say what you want about my moving parts, I'm not going to throw sticks in your shade.

The To Sound   can be had from SPD I believe, and should! An added bonus is the stunning cover art that looks something like Darger!

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