This week is only a short missive of literary love to you all because I am a tired boy in a tired land. The things that are not worn out are soon to be and those that are worn are soon not to be at all.
My recent poetry practice has involved this “searching for a lexicon to use as a poetic base” thing. It usually involves running through some outdated textbooks and plucking out those phrases that sing to you.
I think Rachel de Moravia’s work in Burning House Press does a lot for this practice. It’s the idea that you can find tenderness between the roughnesses of directly useful language. You get fun lines like this: “This close-packing causes minerals of this group to be heavy and makes them difficult to scratch, causing a libidinal rush of fear spreading anarchy with no erotic subtext.” where the dry subject matter can be happily cracked open for metaphor. I think this is what I like about this practice, the way that you get to prise something open for meaning when it’s actual meaning was meant to be entirely instructional.
So apparently there was an entire magazine of weird things that lived inside a fax machine network. It’s a cool idea to kind of dial in to find this weird junk, a very early internet experience. You can pick you way through the entire artefact here.
I particularly like the layouts where there is an attempt to present part of the page as structurally raised. Oh, and early 3D graphics.
Cotton Xenomorph has given us some great stuff recently. I like, in particular, I Want to Be the Person that Names Hurricanes by Keegan Lester.
“… A teen boy
climbs a rafter above the subway, shimmying
out little by little across the steel beam,
the lightning before thunder, humidity like a kiss
to his forehead after opening
an oven door, to meet a woman on the ledge
readying herself to tumble, while everyone
continues walking toward where they hope
they will arrive, looking up only to confirm
they’re not the thing about to fall or be flattened.”
I like these lines about what we often think of as “the normal people” in poetry. These are the unwanted bystanders who look on at the poetic situation and don’t understand. They’re ten percent more stupid than the poet, and have no internal life — which is all the poet will ever have. In most situations, at least. Here the crowd is poetic because they want their survival in some way, it’s not really the boy that is jumping that is the subject, it’s the crowd that’s looking at him and dismissing him as not being a threat to them.
This week’s jam has kind of only been Sigur Ros and Dawn of Midi because I have been enjoying the world of work that has deadlines. If you want to listen to Dysnomia again, and feel like you’re falling forward for 45 minutes, you can do so here. Otherwise it’s always This will never happen by Herman Dune.
Thanks for reading Etch To Their Own. I am diligently working my way through the tor.com book and enjoying the very clever ways in which sci-fi writers express magic, hopefully I’ll have enough of it in my head for next week. Our Sammy did another poem, which I feel does clever things with the circling rhythm but I’m not really smart enough to explain it. Hannah did a cool thing in Bulgaria. Tell your friends that they too should sign up to this nonsense for it is good and full of roughage.