Posts tagged ‘poetry’

April 26, 2012

Recent Publication

My essay “Deep Pockets, Shallow Lives” appeared this past week in the online magazine Xenith.  It’s a “fragmented essay,” and it’s a piece that I have a real soft spot for.

Over the years, I’ve had a couple of other pieces appear in Xenith, including another fragmented essay and a translation of an anonymous Chinese poem.  Those two are also works that I have a real soft spot for — it looks like I’m seeing a theme for those pieces accepted at Xenith.

It’s always great to find a magazine that resonates for you, that seems to be a good fit for your own writing.  Xenith is exactly that sort of publication for me.  I hope you’ll pop by and see what all they’ve got going on there too.  Maybe you’ll find you like it as much as I do.

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April 21, 2012

Erasure

I’ve recently had a couple of poems appear at Eunoia Review.  “In Captivity, by the Streams of Babylon” is a reprint of a piece that was exhibited at Things Disappear in Shanghai in 2011.  “Random Access Memory” is published at Eunoia Review for the first time.

Both of these poems are in a form I call “erasure,” for reasons that will be clear when you have a look at them.  (Or, if it isn’t immediately clear, then highlight the text at those sites and you’ll see how the form works.)  I like how the form says something by taking away, how it speaks through the negative spaces.

I came to the form via Edwin Morgan, one of my favorite poets.  I don’t know that he ever referred to it as “erasure,” but it is what I call it.  His poem “Message Clear” is one that just floored me when I first read it.  He was not the only (nor the first) poet to write using this technique, but that particular piece made an especially deep impression on me, and it was the one that compelled me to experiment with the form myself.

I’ve experimented with erasure on several occasions, with varying degrees of success.  What I love most about it is the way it forces you to discover poetry in words not (at first) your own.  In doing so, it provides you with the opportunity to find yourself in the words of others in a unique way.

November 9, 2009

Repost: decollection Launches its dark ’til dawn Collection in Shanghai

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


decollection Launches its dark ‘til dawn Collection in Shanghai

Monday, November 9, 2009

Over the weekend, decollection launched its first line of collectible art pieces, the dark ‘til dawn series of designer lamps.  Each lamp is hand-painted and designed by decollection’s Peter Zhou around one of my haiku.  There are 30 pieces in the collection.  Each is unique, and comes accompanied by a birth certificate signed by both poet and artist.

You can download this PDF catalog with pictures of each of the lamps and poems.  You can get a bit of a feel for the whole series from those images.

 

At the launch, I read from my newly released poetry collection Cyborg Chimera.  The book, published by Sam’s Dot Publishing in October 2009, will arrive in Asia later this month.  Several guests at the launch placed advanced orders.

 

Excerpts from two of the poems from Cyborg Chimera app

ear in the dark ‘til dawn collection, making for an interesting crossover.  the book is a work of speculative poetry, focusing on cyborgs, hybridity, dreams, the subconscious, and questions of freewill and human initiative.  The dark ‘til dawn collection, on the other hand, features only haiku, and aims for a more soothing effect than what is featured in most of the poems in Cyborg Chimera.  Zhou’s lamp designs and paintings help torecontextualize the poems in a way that suits their new setting, showing the versatility of the written word, particularly when engaged across traditional boundaries of language and culture.

The launch of dark ‘til dawn was a 2-day event held at the decollection office.   Of the 30 pieces in the collection, nine were sold at the event.

 

If you are interested in purchasing one of the lamps, please drop me an email and I can let you know the prices for the lamp, shipping, etc.

 

 

 

© 2009 Shelly Bryant

October 24, 2009

Repost: Reflections on dark ’til dawn

This is reposted from my old blog.  I’ve imported the whole post, comments and all, into a single space here.  I’ve listed it here under its original date.


Reflections on dark ‘til dawn

Saturday, October 24, 2009

There was really only one thing that ever kept me from becoming a visual artist of some sort — a decided lack of talent.  I don’t have a steady hand.  My fine motor skills are, well, less than fine.  I have never been able to put the pictures in my mind onto the page without recourse to words.  Words, it seems, are the only chance I have at producing art.  I have always felt it a pitiable lack in myself, that I did not have even a shred of talent that would allow me to enter the world of visual arts.

 

Because of this particular ineptitude that I’ve always known was mine, collaborating on the dark ‘til dawn series with Peter Zhou (周宇) of decollection has been a great pleasure.  The project involved creating 30 designer lamps sporting Zhou’s paintings, with both the design and painting growing out of my haiku.  Each lamp was to be a one-of-its-kind art piece, with a unique design and painting inspired by the haiku.  The idea was to incorporate East and West, contemporary and traditional.  It was a huge undertaking, and I am very satisfied with the job we’ve done, having just completed it this week.

 

The process began with poem selection.  I went through my existing body of work, and took out several haiku that would form a basis for the series, including some that were previously published, like the haiku portion of the haibun “Blowing Smoke,” still available in the archives at Sloth Jockey.  Haiku seemed to be a natural choice for the form of poetry that would suit the lamps, both for its brevity and for its emphasis on image and “the moment.”

 

As Zhou and I sat discussing the poems, me trying to translate the ideas into Mandarin for him, we found that the best approach was to first talk image, then move to feel, effect, and associations.   It was an invigorating process, and also quite humbling.  It is very difficult to pick apart one’s own poetry and put it into such bald, exposed terms (though I never mind doing it to the work of others).  Zhou impressed me with how quickly he could capture the ideas and relate them to the pictures floating around in his own mind.

 

Our next step involved Zhou producing sketches for the paintings and lamp designs, while I put together a few more poems to flesh out the series.  We ended up going through about 45 poems in order to find the 30 that we finally settled on.  Some of the haiku were, typical of my work, first created as works of speculative poetry.  Watching Zhou recontextualize these poems into a more traditional Chinese setting was amazing.  For instance, there is one piece that was written as part of a longer poem, envisioning the view of Earth from space:

 

compelled by her hues

overlaid by swirling whites

her rich greens, deep blues

 

Zhou’s image of this poem is a scene of a river gorge cut between two mountains, with the clouds rolling over the waters in the middle of the valley.  It is very typical of a certain style of traditional Chinese painting, and nicely places the words of the poem into a new context that I had not imagined for them.  Similar work of situating the verses into new surroundings happened over and over with the 30 pieces, bringing Merlin into contact with Da Peng Niao, the phoenix with a Chinese sunbird, and meteors with Chinese astrology.  It has been lots of fun watching all of this come together.

 

Zhou is an amazing artist, endowed with all of those talents that are necessary for one to be successful with the visual arts — a steady hand, a good eye, a cool demeanor, and a quick recall across the huge breadth of images residing in his mind.  It has been a great pleasure to see my poetry being brought to new life by his hand.

 

 

By next week, there should be photos and descriptions of the lamps up on the decollection website.  Check back if you’d like to have a look.

 

 

 

© 2009 Shelly Bryant

 

2 Comments Manage Comments for this Entry
What fun–and what an inspiring way to create art.

Malcolm

Sunday, October 25, 2009 – 03:12 AM
It really has been fun, Malcolm.  I enjoyed the discussions with Peter (and appreciate him bearing with the roughness of the translations I was able to offer!).  It’s been quite fun for me, working on this project.
Sunday, October 25, 2009 – 08:18 AM