I am about two-dozen books deep during the summer. However, I wanted to touch on a few that I am looking forward to reading in the coming weeks, that focus on the voice of the speaker and tension through non-traditional forms and hybridity.
Recombinant by Ching-In Chen — I flipped through Ching-In’s collection, saw the line breaks, enjambments, fragments, and forms, and immediately bought the collection. From their abstract, “In this book-length project, I examine the challenges of communal memory by juxtaposing voices from Asian, African and indigenous communities in the Americas” as they tackle issues of gender through a hybrid poetics/prose.
Buck Studies by Douglas Kearney — When I read or hear Kearney’s poetry, I know he is telling you that you are limited in what poetry should and can be. The New York Journal of Books notes that Kearney, “uses the weapons of poetry to write a curriculum of justifiable rage,” yet, when I first skimmed this collection, I am reminded that magic exists, and the canon cannot stop it.
The Most Foreign Country by Alejandra Pizarnik (as translated by Yvette Siegert) — I have been drawn to the work of Pizarnik, an Argentine surrealist poet who dives into themes of solitude and mortality. This is her debut collection, originally published in 1955 at the age of 19. I am excited to read her early work.
Marilyn by Amanda Ngoho Reavey — The opening page of Reavey’s debut collection contains her Resident Alien Card, and below her opening poem “Prelude: Emigrant Notes on Possession” she writes, written after lighting my “Resident Alien Card” on fire. I am drawn toward this concept of destruction and rebuilding to reclaim, discover, and shapeshift identity. Flipping through the collection, I can already see that the work already has begun to do this in form alone.
Outside of reading, I have been revisiting the films of Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, primarily El Topo, Holy Mountain, The Dance of Reality, and the documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune, in anticipation of his forthcoming film, Endless Poetry. More than a filmmaker, he is a visual surrealist poet who curates the screen in startling, often haunting and disturbing, ways that not only expand your understanding of poetics, but also faith and reality. And, as an example that we all need obsessions outside of our creative path, Jodorowsky is one of the foremost experts on Tarot.