As I love: my poetics


This weekend was pretty amazing for me. First off, it’s the first time I’ve ever been invited to a conference as a speaker, with all the glam benefits that entails (billing, funding, and organizational/financial support). That was enough in itself. But on top of that, it was a conference many of my friends and idols would attend–my friends often being the same people as my idols. If that weren’t enough, one of my favorite poets, Robert Grenier, was on my panel. All of this was a fine set-up for a great weekend, with the slight pressure of having to not make a complete ass of myself.

But the conference was very generous. Surrounded by people who understood and appreciated my work, most of whom knew my work– and surrounded by old/kind acquaintances and new ones– the L.A. poets/artists engaged, attentive, questioning and commenting and totally genuine and there— thinkers I already knew and admire like Kenneth Goldsmith, Brian Kim Stefans, Steve McCaffery and Johanna Drucker, and then people I didn’t know (personally) but whose work I admired, and people I didn’t know whose work I didn’t know that I got to discover–!

And the opportunity to engage with Grenier, to thank him and express (probably to the point of gushing senselessly) my admiration for his work (and by extension, and of course in his own right, Larry Eigner’s)– a lineage I trace but which is a false lineage, for nothing was literally “handed down,” and here I am at the end of this lineage I draw for myself (one of many lineages I draw), full of love, and my love in its way acknowledged and accepted–

And seeing Lorraine and Michelle, two of my closest friends and two of the poets I feel that I’m working with in a community (we talk about communities, and I feel that I am in many of them, but only half-heartedly– my community is a small group of peers, women who “create” poetry among other things)– being with them both in the same time/space, physically rather than on the internet, seeing them both there side by side, strengthened by their wisdom and support and exciting explosive wonderful minds–

It was just. really. wonderful.


About Jessica Smith
This entry was posted in Contemporary Poetry, love, poetry readings, Travel, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to As I love: my poetics

  1. Being in the same place at the same time was wonderful. I’m back in SD now, happy, tired, and overwrought. “Just. really. wonderful.” Yes.

  2. I heard through the grapevine that Johanna Drucker mentioned Banlieusard, by Jamie Hilder, Heather Passmore and Anne Lesley Selcer. It’s a fantastic book and everything Johanna Drucker said about it is true and more.

  3. @KLG I know that there are many good things still to come from this. Seeing you two really rejuvenated me at many levels. Glad you made it home safe–

    @François Geez, word travels fast! Yes; I haven’t read that book and hadn’t heard of it till this conference (I’m steeping myself in old school analysis of the orality/literacy debate). Nor had I heard of Jamie (the consequences, perhaps, of spending time on the East Coast). But now I have and indeed, I met him.

  4. angela told me that Jamie appeared in Shift & Switch. He and Heather Passmore only did the art of the book. Anne did the text, which quite fantastic. You’d love it.

  5. michelle says:

    your reading/presentation was really great. It was very exciting to see ofc and the modular diary pieces all lit and large.

    you and klg are super-special cool people and I am so happy that I know both of you! let’s hope our paths converge again very soon!

  6. The movie screen size poem projections look absolutely dreamy.

    I imagine a next step: technology that will slowly move the words all about the page. I’m sure it’s possible. Whadya think?

  7. @francois ok, i’ll check it out.
    @michelle, thank you! you and kurt are also very cool people and ditto.
    @steve hm… yes, those things already exist. cf. brian kim stefans (google him). but i’m not really interested in making the words move. if anything i would be more interested in making YOU move into the words (projections at different levels, a room of words to move through) (this has also been done) (i do find the page and its publishability an interesting artistic constraint). But I would like to buy a projector and screen to show my work at readings.

  8. I was going to say that your words do move anyway, in my brain. So I agree that zipping or dancing them around the page would be repetitive to that.

    And I’ll check on B.K. Stefans, thanks.

  9. @steve oooh yes; that they dance around anyway, i like that.

  10. “Maybe a reader should hover and flit about the page, the eyes hummingbirds to the nectar-blossoms of language. Besides, what self-respecting reader wouldn’t enjoy exploring and trying different alternatives when the author has worked hard to provide just such opportunities?”

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