Wednesday, December 20, 2006


Although I as much as anyone lapses to call Meritage Press a "publisher," it's not just that -- or never was intended to be just that. I've always envisioned Meritage Press to be a poetry performance space....whose most obvious manifestations would be poetry books. But I've done other things through Meritage Press that has nothing to do with publishing books. And now I'm just delighted that Meritage Press has engendered another poetry project....and this one without prior intention on my part! To wit,

John Bloomberg Rissman is currently using Meritage Press titles, along with other sources, to generate hay(na)ku sequences...and they are lovely! Check out this excerpt (which riffs off from Barry Schwabsky's OPERA):

Sky yet
There is plenty

Light. The
Explosion takes place

Provides its
Own faux light.

There are
Dead bodies they

Not brought
To light. “He”

“She” and
“You” becomes “he”

“We” becomes
“We” becomes “we”

About these poems, John says he plans to plaigarize every Meritage Press publication he can get his hands on....and are also semi-ekphrastic LIGHT POEMS relating to the photos of Marcos López (and, yes, John does acknowledge the Mac Low's reference in his title).

Each section must “perform an ekphrasis” on a Marcos López photo source: Marcos López: Sub-realismo criollo (U. Salamanca, 2003)), contain quotes from the OED that come from the definition of a word used in the section, quotes from a Meritage Press publication ... and quotes from Marcos López (or from elsewhere in the Salamanca volume), as well as any suggestions offered by spell-check; the quoted material is italicized.

If you're interested, you can see some López photos at

The photos are FANTASTIC -- check out that third link's male mermaid! And the first link's Artist Statement by Marcos' Lopez is worth reading; here's an excerpt:

I see Argentina rather with the discoloured façade of a disco from Patagonia . I don't use Photoshop nor Macintosh or anything like that. I'm interested in doing "real collages" and touching up manually the white of the eye and to work all over the copies with paints. In my shots I use two or three assistants with banners on the back of the characters and producing smoke with machines.

In short, this is the never ending search for identity in a country that was built with people that came off the ships. The tango we have inside. To reflect the double discourse of Modernity. All this I try to show in my photographs. Besides that, now I'm taking pictures for fun and to exorcise the pain because my girl left me.

In any event, the hay(na)ku are lovely -- the blooming results are just blooms, John! Thanks for the attention! And ... care.