Reading from Underneath took place at The Printed Word in Dundas, Ontario on May 23rd, 2019. The reading was organized around a visit by Sam Roxas-Chua who had made his way up from Portland and stopped for a few days in Hamilton so that friends formerly acquainted only via social media could meet (and read) in the flesh. The Readers that night were Franco Cortese (whose beautiful chapbook Teksker I’d just published and copies of which that night handed to him,) Jericha Shepai, Gavin Le Ber, myself, Sacha Archer, and of course, Sam Roxas-Chua. It was a truly wonderful night of readings and as such I felt it would be good to make the recording available here. Thanks again to all the readers and to James McDonald for opening the space to us–and apologies to Franco as the recording was only started near the end of his reading.
Franco Cortese’s ‘teksker‘, is an 8.5″x8.5″ chapbook of 18 pages. Produced in an edition of 45.
A chapbook of intense humanity, of the naked body, Franco Cortese’s teksker (a blend of the Proto-Indo-European root *teks- (“to weave; to fabricate; to make wicker or wattle fabric for mud-covered house walls”), *sker-(1) (“to cut”) and *sker-(2) (“to turn, bend”), presents the reader with multilingual lipograms that eschew the use of all vowels entirely; line-unit anagrams and multilingual lipogramatic palindromes to name but a few of the constraints which Cortese wields. If the tower of Babel was a frustration in its flood of languages, Cortese revels in that same noise, conducting it into raw beauty.
mother wretched egg skin divination water stream wither a hole in the ground from which water can be obtained the hollow where a limb joins the trunk of an animal or tree wetnurse to believe that something will happen groping form of address to any man who is elder than you the altar stone where they hunt absent soil soul bruise wing wind to point wood old wives’ tale to egg on thought any altar for sacrifices elder brother a bad smell a collection of things associated with a person or place with love to breed well to fade what period of time half continual up to rim
aba aĉa āda afa aga aha aja aka ala ama ana apa aqa ara asa ata ava awa axa aya aza aza aya axa awa ava ata asa ara aqa apa ana ama ala aka aja aha aga afã ada acá aba
ancestors rotten leather dust to discipline river time within a winglike bone a toxic by-product of improper or incomplete digestion in a direction analogous to up but along the additional axis added by the fourth dimension to devour elder brother blood scepter shadow hole hour to align on an axis palm birthmark a section of a village I to orientate distant opening a hunting deliberately interim uncle stolen to be old ruin to give birth to root cut river to lack effort to be as of fathers
Edward Kulemin’s Cash Register Poems are presented in a simple 3×5.5″ single stapled bundle. 9 pages, full colour, printed on one side–replicating the common sight of end of the night receipts collected and stapled at our favourite stores.
This collection of asemic writing brings us into the heart of our purchasing centered lives where our movements leave a paper trail. Kulemin, having picked up this paper we accumulate, has reengaged these non-creative sites of record with invigorating graffiti–in this case the language of exasperation, and hope.
‘Cash Register Poems’ by Edward Kulemin (Domestic/Canada)
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‘Cash Register Poems’ by Edward Kulemin (International)
May Bery’s work Confinement/Trespass has been published in an edition of 30 broadsides (18×24″). Following the signs, the work has been folded similarly to a road map.
Using a map of Richmond, Quebec as a starting point and canvas/page, May Bery has intervened in and interrupted the placid function of the map with her asemic paragraphs and bold borders. The paragraphs create isolated language zones which in turn echo Arabic, mathematical signs (the universal language), and noise. Confinement/Trespass does more than suggest the tie of language to identity and identity to belonging–it asserts the presence of peoples, the feeling of trespass and the fact of diversity.
waterlight by andrew brenza is a 17×6.5″ chapbook of 10 pages printed in an edition of 45 copies.
Coupling a more traditional lyric poem with lavish spreads of concrete poetry, andrew brenza has written a sequence, a poem, that delivers you back to the natural world, the surface of a body of water, where we can gaze down and lose ourselves in the light of language, or be engulfed by its noise. Landing somewhere between the serenity of isolated nature and the white noise of a TV screen, this is a reading experience of body in place.
derek beaulieu’s Fragmentum is a 5×7″chapbook of 6 pages printed in an edition of 55 copies. A sturdy little chapbook printed entirely on cardstock and bound with a round head fastener for a slightly different navigational process.
In Fragmentum, beaulieu continues to probe the possibilities of his favorite medium, letraset. Moving away from his signature compositions consisting of recognizable letters which spread across the page like topographical landscapes, the pieces in Fragmentum embrace the broken, fragmented inevitability of the aging medium to present abstract forms where letter fragments combine to build a sculptural asemic language.
Gary Barwin’s translating translating apollinaire is an 8.5″ x 11″ chapbook of 12 pages printed in an edition of 50 numbered copies.
The title translating translating apollinaire should be a little bit too familiar. Of course, bpNichol published his translation experiments, focusing on a single poem of Guillaume Apollinaire, with just this title in 1979. In fact, bpNichol’s first published poem was titled Translating Apollinaire.
Gary Barwin is one of those people lucky enough to have had the opportunity to study under Nichol. It is no surprise then that Barwin has, without masking it in any way, continued Nichol’s project of translating Apollinaire, a project which Nichol himself said was “an open-ended, probably unpublishable in its entirety, piece“. This seems about right. It is as if the concept in and of itself is a seed to an infinite number of books. Here is one of them–a great one.
‘translating translating apollinaire’ by Gary Barwin [Domestic/Canada]
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‘translating translating apollinaire’ by Gary Barwin [International]
Volodymyr Bilyk’s Lisa Simpson Poems is a 40 page chapbook in which each page has been recovered from various discarded books. Produced in an edition of 50.
Originally intended to be paired with photographs for a project that fell through, the poems in this chapbook were delivered to the editor superimposed onto images of Lisa Simpson–hence the title. Moving to text as ambient image, Bilyk’s poems have been placed on pages from discarded books. The poems themselves are difficult to describe. The writing process which Bilyk employs–an ongoing metamorphosis of certain, now unrecognizable, texts–gives us poems which thrash language with itself. Remaining composed, the poems bleed images.
Dawn Nelson Wardrope’s chapbook, The Penman, a Serious Writer is a 13 page, perfect bound chapbook of visual poems. The second of two full colour chapbooks which were printed in Tianjin, China while editor Sacha Archer was “on vacation” (the first being Jaap Blonk’s on tractatus one), Wardrope’s chapbook has been printed in an edition of 50 numbered copies.
Within the pages of The Penman, a Serious Writer, Dawn Nelson Wardrope has crafted a series of visual poems which take the form of vortexes and organic movements. Juxtaposed with these are poems which echo the traditional line in their linear layout, but which, anchored resolutely in the visual, radiate a pulse and aura where punctuation and the letter, dislodged from the sentence and the word, do all the heavy lifting.
Dawn Nelson Wardrope, ‘The Penman, A Serious Writer’, [Domestic/Canada]
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Dawn Nelson Wardrope, ‘The Penman, A Serious Writer’, [International]
Simulacrum Press presents on tractatus one, by Jaap Blonk. A 7×7″ perfect bound chapbook of 24 pages in full colour, on tractatus one has been printed in an edition of 55 numbered copies.
Looking back to his days as a young student, Jaap Blonk, in his on tractatus one, revisits Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in a series of visual meditations which focus on the first statement of that text. Within on tractatus one the reader finds that much debated statement, “The world is all that is the case” in a number of permutations from which Blonk has produced stunning visual translations via mathematical sequences.