Sunday, March 11, 2007

Kate Greenstreet, case sensitive

Another AWP Book Fair item: Kate Greenstreet's case sensitive, from Ahsahta Press (2006). The poems in this collection make liberal use of collaged quotations from various sources, including the letters of Lorine Niedecker, Heidegger, the Bible, various biographies, and many other texts. Some passages in quotation marks are unattributed, suggesting either that they are Kate's own invented language, or that the original sources have been inter-combined so extensively that citation is impractical (or, of course, that for she just decided some reason not to cite those quotations). Here's an excerpt:
phone tap

Where nothing was, it had to be created.
We can't make everything we need inside.

I was looking for a sound. The energy called "drive."
Almost peaceful. But--how are you?

your foot?
your black and whites? your "prose"?

(I prescribe it for myself sometimes.
Where else could I find this kind of radio?)

Nothing from this poem shows up in the notes at the end of the section, but to my ear it reverberates with the sound of borrowed language, whether this is actually the case, or just a sense created by the ubiquity of the passages that are marked as quotations. It's not just the presence of quotation marks; it's a palpable textural or tonal quality--a feeling that these are just not the kind of phrases someone would "make up." If they are in fact made up, it's a sign of how successfully the quotational aura has permeated the text as a whole.

Kate will be reading in the Emergent Forms reading series here a week from today, with Janet Holmes. Stay tuned for further details (or go now to the Emergent Forms blogsite).


shanna said...

wait till you hear kate read them. janet's reading of f2f was really knock-outty also. she does voices.

James Eric Watkins said...

Join us in a poetic experience of sights and sounds: