Sunday, January 15, 2012


Happy to be working on the production of my next book, a collaboration with j/j hastain entitled

        the relational elations            of ORPHANED ALGEBRA

forthcoming this Spring from Marsh Hawk Press. It's got, among other things, an interesting cover image per below -- this is j/j hastain's photograph taken of some of j/j's shrine objects. As j/j puts it, "The organ was a real turkey heart that I kept with me in a hand made 'coffin' in my jeans pocket for a year while it deteriorated. I kept it in salt to keep it from smelling." I don't know about you but, to act like a teen as I'm parenting one, That is soooooo coooool!

j/j adds, "The reason I chose to work with a turkey heart was because in researching it I knew it was an animal heart that when deteriorated would approximate what a human heart looks like in deterioration. The heart came from a ritual removal of it in my own home." Again, such a cooool poetics underpinning! Em-bodied poetics!

And here are some advanced words for this deteriorating heart...:
Eileen R. Tabios’s ORPHANED ALGEBRA performs numerations of loss, want, abandonment, the conditions of the invisible. Riffing on middle school math story problems, Tabios works a mathematics of disorder, the unordering of poverty, these “stories” a corrective to the “ascetic’s illusion of ecstasy, a measurement made possible by its condition precedent: a suffering so unmitigated it hollows the non-survivors from children to earthworms.” j/j hastain’s “visceral echoes” of Tabios, “gestures” both textual and visual, sound “an activism of hollowing out,” whose hollows form a new space of assiduity. In “stance”—instance—hastain “grapple[s] with ethics of place and space. Was a country the host body of a child found homeless in it?” Who and where are we, and what role has language in any of this? Against abuse, against hunger, against erasure, Tabios and hastain challenge silence’s dissonant ignorance. The poets sharpen language and intention, “Creating a permanent, rather than temporary implantable. An anti-obviate hutch or hearth.” A challenge, a new “home,” a pleasure, this collection puts us in the midst.
Marthe Reed

Categories are not abstractions, they are bodies. Family is one such embodied category, gender another. What happens to bodies when they don't fit the categories assigned them, when they lack families, when they criss-cross gender or genre lines? How can one calculate such changes, compose equations to explain these trans-categorical shifts? Our very pronouns are at stake, as are nations, blood-ties, definitions to words like “dad” and “belonging.” As j/j hastain writes, “There is a new lineage that we are trying to make more apparent.” Eileen R. Tabios and hastain are trans-parents to a fresh embodiment of words and bodies, and to what they mean when they come together as books and persons. Their writing counts the change(s) in unexpected vocabularies.
Susan M. Schultz

My 19th print poetry book--have come a long way from those toddler days of folding a page in four, slashing crayola on the pages, and calling the result a "book"! A long way, but 'twas all ... ordained.

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