BOMBlog’s Word Choice features original works of poetry, fiction, and art. This edition of Word Choice, selected by Peter Moysaenko, features poetry by Dawn Marie Knopf and art by Todd Hido.
Peter Moysaenko So goes the story that James Wright, upon reading his son’s first attempts at verse, wrote to him, “I’ll be damned. You’re a poet. Welcome to hell.” Do you figure that a poem serves as a manner of balm or as an extremity probing a wound: does a fit poem aim at the amplification of human feeling or does its task rather concern an approach of quietude, of reconciliation?
Dawn Marie Knopf The image of the poet puts significant pressure on the poet and on poetry. How easily can we conjure up images of a lonely, white-clad Dickinson or a disheveled Berryman contemplating the bridge? For better or worse, we inherit these images because we place biography alongside poetry—through introductions written by esteemed critics, the first five minutes of a literature class, or the rumor chain whispered at the hip parties of today. The poet might even, but not necessarily, braid biography into a poem. The thing is, everyone suffers. Life is suffering. No one is touched by the poetry divining rod just because they live in Hell on Earth (oh and the poetry divining rod is myth too). The poet’s mental health is beside the point. I’ve grown tired of this celebration of the madness of the maker. What we should celebrate is the sensational madness in the poem. We should celebrate the muscle car exploding past the makeshift checkered flag. We should celebrate art roaring, which, strangely, can only be achieved through quiet and emotionally astute seduction. When it comes down to it, a poem’s success can be measured by how quietly the poet observes a fire-breathing, murderous riot.
Abstract painting is all over New York this fall. Managing Editor Nick Stillman rounds up some vintage and recent BOMB interviews that “tackle the eternally thorny topic.”
Rebeca Raney (RISD, BFA 2003, and School of Visual Arts, MFA in 2005) knows how to tell a story. It’s not unusual for a conversation that begins over a stack of new drawings to end with a spellbinding tale weaving together sleazy landlords, collapsing Florida real estate, one tough mom and murder.
If I must, I will begin with an apology—I’m sorry. I missed the first band. I overheard they were working a catchy doom groove, by which I mean plowing through songs marked by a devilish manipulation of tone and an over-riding dedication to the riff, blown-out, stripped-down blues-psych rising from a pit of resin at the pace of a dinosaur skeleton.
I’m not usually a fan of prose poetry, however Ray Gonzalez’s new book Cool Auditor (BOA Editions Ltd. 2009) has made me a believer. Gonzalez’s form straddles the line between poetry and prose allowing an opening for readers of both genres to enjoy his thick, musical language and fantastic imagery.
Fool’s Gold is awful. Not really. Singer Luke Top dared me to say that and I’m a four-year-old, so I followed suit. But despite Top’s playground humor, I can safely say that LA-based Fool’s Gold played an inventive, joyous set last week at Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Beneath the dense network of tags and links, there is a particular order at the root of the BOMB archive, and any archive for that matter. The text files and image files to be loaded are all named according to their physical place in the magazine.
When I went to watch the Glenn Kaino/Ryan Majestic magic show at the Slipper Room the other night, I really didn’t have a clue what I was in for. Luckily (especially when it comes to this breed of guerilla “art-magic”) not knowing any of this beforehand was probably the best way to go into this one-night PERFORMA event.
Earlier this year I posed a question to 12 admired painters: “What is the current state of abstraction?” The following is a collection of their responses, spanning the absurd, the analytical, and the visionary, all linked by an undercurrent of curiosity for the unknown.
Anyone that can get to the UCLA Hammer Museum soon is in for a treat. Two strong yet very different shows share the upper level. Heat Waves in a Swamp: the Paintings of Charles Burchfield (October 4–January 3, 2010) is an abbreviated retrospective curated by Robert Gober and Cynthia Burlingham.