A few weeks ago, I was reading an interview with the poet and philosopher Fred Moten where he declares that from now on, all the work is going to be collaborative. Or rather, that it has always been and he is no longer going to portend otherwise.
I feel like all the work is collaborative work, it’s just that it comes out under an individual name so the other people you’re in collaboration with are subordinated in a certain kind of way to one’s own name, even though all of those voices are constantly with you and in your head. There’s a customarily solitary practice of orchestrating or organizing all those voices in a particular way, but I think now what I’d like to do is just not even be involved in that solitary practice of composing, or arranging.
Instead, Moten advocates for “composing in real time in common—as an explicit social practice.” Although I was in the midst of a summer road trip with my father when the writing deadlines for the “Poetry” issue of C Magazine passed, the electric conversations between myself and Kari Cwynar and Danielle St-Amour as co-editors, in dialogue with a brilliant cast of writers, were precisely of this sort, compositional collaborations that cannot be undone. Throughout the pages of the issue, there are all kinds of support structures, bolstered by challenges made and taken (the delicate dance of listening made flesh). If there is a burgeoning collectivity that the voices in the “Poetry” issue conjure, I would like to think that it first took root in how the issue was made.
The issue launched last week at ESP (Erin Stump Projects) with readings by Aisha Sasha John with Faraz Anoushahpour; Fan Wu with Julian Butterfield, Prantha Lor, Lena Suksi and Carter West; and Emma Healey. Their performances exposed core concerns of the issue: the politics and performativity of poetry as a mode of enacting life, the refusal to construe poetry and visual culture as separate genres, and the imperative to interrogate one’s participation in systems that otherwise work to make themselves invisible.
The writing in the issue is so good, it will make you want to kick down walls and start fires. Let’s see what we can raise up together from the rubble and ashes.
Get your hands on an issue. I implore you.
C Magazine 127 “Poetry,” guest-edited by Kari Cwynar, Danielle St-Amour and cheyanne turions, focuses its attention on a collection of thinkers looking outside artistic and literary conventions, and beyond the status quo of civic life. Recently, poetry has resurfaced as an engaged and active voice, both to the world at large and within its own borders: rejecting its own supposed avant-garde and writing new histories, creating new spaces.
Taking poetry as a jumping-off point, the work collected in this issue restructures and renegotiates the parameters between word and image, language and meaning. Throughout the issue, the conceit that poetry and visual culture are separate genres is repeatedly undone, revealing new strategies that render visible a politics of world-making.
C Magazine 127 “Poetry” (Autumn 2015)
(Soma)tic Ritual Collaborations by CAConrad
A Positioning, Not a Question by Nasrin Himada
Orality and Action by Hanne Lippard
The Edges and the Centres by Tanya Lukin Linklater
Voices On Her Cures by Tiziana La Melia
The Perfume Recordist by Stacy Doris and Lisa Robertson
For Example (We Have Decided to Become Our Own Posterity): on Arakawa and Gins by Rachel Valinsky
Tore Off by Amy De’Ath
Pissing by Andrea Lukic
Constellation by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
The First Drawing for Reflection Paper No. 5 and The Second Drawing for Reflection Paper No. 5 by Taocheng Wang
Do I have faith or am I stupid? by Aisha Sasha John
Midday in the Garden at the Wrecked Beach by Alex Turgeon
Meditations on the Art of Reading by Lucy Ives
Perfume Area by Laurel Schwulst and Sydney B. Shen, reviewed by Sam Davis
The Animated Reader: Poetry of “Surround Audience” Brian Droitcour, ed.,reviewed by Fan Wu
The Argonauts by Maggie Nelson,reviewed by Tess Edmonson
Shirin Neshat: Soliloquy, by Magdalena Miłosz
The 56th International Art Exhibition, Venice, by Randy Lee Cutler
ManWoman: Heart of Longing, by Peta Rake
Laurie Kang: Deferring Diffractions, by Shelby Fenlon
Elizabeth Zvonar: THE CHALLENGE OF ABSTRACTION, by Emma Healey
Julia Feyrer and Tamara Henderson: Consider the Belvedere, by Erica Prince
Them, by Olivia Dunbar
by Robin Simpson