November 16, 2011

reviewed: me & steven in can can

Filed under: Uncategorized — larspalm @ 12:20 am


lars palm, road song for, corrupt press, 2011, ISBN 979-10-
90394-12-4, 100 pp, €12, pbk.
steven dalachinsky, long play e.p.: the complete evan parker

corrupt press, 2011, ISBN 979-10-90394-07-0, 40pp, €5, pbk.

So, where does poetry come from? Because poetry’s origins are
pre-historic, we can’t give a definite answer to this
question. But we can try some intelligent speculation, based
on what poetry has been throughout recorded time and how we
experience it as poets and readers today.
For my part, I think there are three distinct, though
often intertwining, aboriginal impulses which, in the long
dreamtime before the rise of the clock and the scribe, gave
rise to poetic utterance. They continue to animate it right
down to the present. I will list them here in reverse order
of their arising and of their aesthetic importance, in my
The first, which we are all most familiar with and which
describes all mainstream literature as well as poetry, is
poetry as a form of recording narration, ordered according to
tradition and convention, and meant to impart certain
meanings about the thing so inscribed to an audience alwaysalready
familiar with the inscribing conventions. This is the
art of those who seek continuity. It is bound to repetition.
It is also the art which most suits power, to which
continuity and repetition means above all continuity and
repetition of itself as power.
The second impulse reveals itself in sympathetic magic,
and later religion, in the attempt to influence such things
as the hunt, the weather and the crops, the bodies and minds
of the desired or of one’s enemies. This is all attempted by
means of chants, spells, prayers, love lyrics and the like.
This is the poetry of druids and elizabethan courtiers alike,
as well as of financial speculators and trotskyists. It is
the poetry of all those who seek to influence.
The third, mimetic, drive-to-poetry attempts to open a
channel of immediate and transmogrifying access to the worldwithout
from which we have been so traumatically and
irrevocably torn by our human birth. This world-without can
only be regained by and through oblivion, self-abandonment,
ego-destruction. The world-without is always the worldwithout-
me. The early human who imitates the birdcall not
only wants to be like the bird but to be the bird entirely.
That is why when he calls he is always calling down upon
himself notbeing.
This kind of word-art is the art of metamorphoses and
regression, and of all that inhumanist carry-on. It is the
true human poetry in that it expresses the ultimate and
primal human desire, which is of course the desire not to be
human atall.
Despite its lack of narrative or political directness
this form is in fact the most guaranteed in terms of
prophetic accuracy. It is the prophet’s form, the prophet
whose trinity is timespace, energy and transformation. It
looks forwardandbackward to a time when we werewillbe
something entirely unlike ourselves.
It is not surprising that Dylan Harris, editor in chief
of corrupt press, should have sought out and published work
in which this inhumanising aesthetic of mimesis plays a role
ranging from prominent to overarching. Harris’ own work
achieves that most exquisitely immersive form of imitationthe
mimesis of immediacy. His poems are not snapshots. They
are 4-D live broadcasts of ongoing urban moments named for
the cities within which they took/take/are taking place. When
we read/view/listen to Harris we can, properly attuned,
encounter a convincingly well-wrought illusory reliving of
the represented experiences, as we would in any decently
evocative ‘live recording’.
The same can be said of the best of the poems in Lars
Palm’s Song Road For and of Stephen Dalachinsky’s Long Play
E.P. The latter is a sequence of poems written while
listening to live performances of the jazz musician Evan
Parker and it does a good job of transmitting a meandering
percussiveness while being unpredictably but satisfyingly
rhythmic and melodic and conducive to stoned reveries of
poetic thought, just like jazz is meant to be, I guess:

the idea is to disconnect the dots
deep/throat the gong a limbs
thru scat-loops echoing metals
melding of fractions/simultaneous monologues
inter-national enveloping esthetic
perhaps the shaking off of parallels
slight vibration and busy percussion
paddle-odium minor pandemonium moan-ium….

This is a level of onomatopoeia approaching synesthesia. It’s
sound producing images producing sounds producing images…
The trick with Dalachinsky is to ride over the sometimes
cumbersome multi-syllabics and pseudo-intellectual vocab (an
ever present danger it seems in anything to with jazz), and
simply listen to the saxophone and drums, allowing yourself
to flit in the musical dream.
Lars Palm’s immediacy is that of the constant traveller,
always in a state of never -quite-being-there that generates
the equal measures of anticipation, agitation and melancholia
we find in the ancient black dog of (poema de arrecife) – a
choice bus-station poem:

this apparently abandoned
ancient black dog turning
grey takes up guard behind
my stool at the bus station
bar first sitting then laying
down just looking around
& occassionally up at me as
if i could take him out of here

and also in the poem (in sipova)

shortly be
fore sunset a
man sings really
simple song some
where on the hill

The mid-sentence and mid-word line-breaks foreground the
perceptual discontinuities implicit in the experience of
constant travel. Most of travel is assuredly boredom and when
something interesting wanders into our perceptual field it
mightn’t seem to and certainly doesn’t have to have anything
to do with the last novel thing we encountered, miles back,
days ago, in another place altogether.
The travelling life is a paratactic alphabet then, a
document of fragments which have no whole to belong to. The
traveller’s experiences, while chronologically sequential and
connected, are not inherently narratively or hermeneutically
so. They can have nothing to do with each other in a
narrative-hermeneutic sense except that they happen to have
happened to and been perceived by an I. But even the I-wholooks-
back-and-reflects is fragmented and different from the
The constant traveller is an astronaut of experience. She no
longer believes in constellations, only in stars, all equally
and luminously disconnected and alone.
This would all make the constant traveller dizzy and sad, but
it also unburdens her of the onerous need to make sense of
things- impossible unless one denies the inherent
senselessness of all things. I’d shore the fragments up
against my ruin, but why should I do something so evidently
ineffective against ruination? Everything is either ruin or
becoming-ruin anyways.
Palm’s is a book of un-shored fragments and of ruins
which are also illuminations. It contains plenty of the kind
of insights-on-the-hop which, though they may be rare, will
make you incredibly wise and delighted to have never settled

snow in Malaga. a rare thing
the news says the first

in something like 50 years
& show respectable pinstripes

running to the top
of what little hill they

can find using their brief-cases
to slide down laughing

oblivious of work

then brushing the snow
from their pants

Dave Lordan


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