12 February 2018

Justice Rough—re: Battleford, SK, 9.ii.18 (poem)

Justice Rough—re: Battleford, SK, 9.ii.18

         Tell me I’m wrong again. Tell me I’m wrong again.
Justice ought to mean how there are no feckless accidents.
What seems like justice shows up late or not at all.
Allegedly what looks nothing like justice tried to jack
the next-door neighbours’ used pickup. Retribution
miscarries what passes for bad justice, a claw hammer
smashed through someone else’s windshield. Feels like justice
starts to take shape in blinkered loss. Seems like justice got clocked
point blank in the back of the head. What starts to feel
like justice flubs and fails to take. Surely justice sounds like
a blithe excuse for cold payback. Sounds like justice
could do nothing much worse. Surely what passes more or less
         for justice looks like a rough coat of cheap whitewash.
Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m wrong. Tell me I’m wrong, again.

31 January 2018

The Super Blue Blood Moon Blues (poem)

The Super Blue Blood Moon Blues

Super blue blood moon, you
            look like I feel—
cratered and tainted, cartoonish
                        and unreal.

Super blue blood moon, you
            make me feel worse
than a pre-teen boy with pinkeye
                        who can’t curse.

11 September 2017

Breath, Blood, Throat, Voice: Tanya Tagaq and the Politics of Song

This is an audio capture of a collaborative presentation by Bronwyn Malloy and me—both affiliated with the University of British Columbia—on the music of Tanya Tagaq (along with that of Jesse Zubot, Jean Martin and Christine Duncan). The talk, called "Breath, Blood, Throat, Voice: Tanya Tagaq and the Politics of Song," took place on Friday, 24 March 2017 at the University of British Columbia. In keeping with our subject matter—Tagaq’s recent music, especially from the album Retribution, and live performances—we tried to design our own presentation as a co-creative duo, moving back and forth between voices and approaches. Our intention is to revise and expand this material into a collaborative scholarly-critical essay. We're focusing in on the collisions of indigeneity and alterity/plurality/community through the co-creative practice(s) of improvised musicking.

Close Careful Trans Listening: Pauline Oliveros, Joe McPhee and Rachel Pollack's Unquenchable Fire

I read this paper—“Close Careful Trans Listening: Pauline Oliveros, Joe McPhee, and Rachel Pollack’s Unquenchable Fire”—on June 3, 2017 at the Montreal colloquium for the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation: Still Listening—A Series of Events in Memory of Pauline Oliveros. For me, it represents a first foray into an intersectional social aesthetics, drawing together transgender writing—in particular, Pollack’s speculative fiction—with queer theory and the practice of deep listening. As I point out, the paper leans a little toward Oliveros, despite the composition and recording being principally credited to Joe McPhee. I also need to develop more fully and carefully a reading of the theology of annunciation and its relationship to gendered bodies and the dynamics of consent and the discursive power of the speech act.

You might also want to check out Still Listening, the on-line exhibition of a series of 85 85-second compositions dedicated to Pauline Oliveros.

Oh, and if you want a copy of the music, you can buy it from Joe McPhee's Bandcamp page, here.

19 April 2017

Posthumous Errata for Tom Raworth

An obituary for Tom Raworth appeared in this Sunday's issue of The Guardian. His website at present appears to have been taken down: consigned maybe to the transitory dissolution of language, its entropy, to which his poetry was so closely attentive. He had died in early February, but I was either busy or distracted, or likely both, and I missed any notice. The last I had heard from him was a mass-emailed season's greeting in December, 2015. He was brilliant and under-recognized. His writing has played a sizeable part in my scholarly and teaching life, and his poetry has strongly impacted my own practice. 

Some years ago, I mistook at first reading the last text in his 2010 collection Windmill in Flames — an "Errata to Collected Poems (2003)" — for a poem itself, a misprision that I think Raworth might have encouraged. What might or might not constitute a poem, and who might do that constituting, remained a playfully and vitally provocative question for him. In 2012, I was working on a set of still-unseen visual-typographical poems, which I want to call Typos, and one of them is a reworking of this errata page, and my goofy error. I'd like to offer it up here as a tribute to Tom Raworth.