Up the Shinbone Superlatives
October 28, 2012 Comments Off
THANKS TO THE HORSELESS FOLKS— Jen Tynes, Michael Sikkema, Erika Howsare, Jennifer Denrow—& also with a little help from my friends (you know who you are!) Up the Shinbone Superlatives, my little collection of fairytale poems, is available for preorder:
It’s a Sunday that can’t make its mind up about Indian Summer, it might rain or it might not, my students & I are writing “emotional biographies” so I’m thinking through the predicament of family memories & under what circumstances we are held to the facts & whether genre is like Anne Carson claims something you recognize by its smell.
It’s the world series playoffs, I’m cheering for the wrong team and I like it that way. I also like the way this book (mine!) looks in the enthusiastic sunlight of late October:
What I would like to say to say about Up the Shinbone Superlatives is that I’m going home. Which means faith, ambition, childhood: a kind of “state of grace.”
The thing about leaving the Midwest as a young adult that makes it unlike other places is that you don’t look back. You are almost thirty, & still you know nothing of living, you didn’t ever think you’d be homesick for the Midwest when in fact its beauty can finally be seen because you aren’t there.
Ok. That’s the plot. Up the Shinbone Superlatives is a love story about what happens when you know you won’t ever go back, when you are old enough to understand that some part of our lives really do end, sometimes you aren’t that person anymore, some places, some people you can take with you & some you have to leave behind, there is such a thing in life—& some more than others—as forfeit.
Inspired by recent erasure poetry—like Mary Ruefle’s A Little White Shadow (Wave Books 2006), Jen Bervin’s Nets (Ugly Duckling Presse 2004), and Matthea Harvey’s Of Lamb (McSweeney’s Books 2011)—I decided to think about collage as a way of surrendering to life’s essential incoherence: the way our experiences misstep or mistake, mishear and get lost in “what might have happened” or “what never happened” or even “what should have happened.”
I wanted to take the transformation one step further, and one brave month at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, I transmogrified the prose poems in Up the Shinbone Superlatives into footnote to forfeit: autobiography of a murder, the second in my six-volume series of artist books.
footnote to forfeit is ransom notes on top of love poetry on top of rumors. I used Wite Out to obliterate the poems collected in the 1972 Peter Pauper version of Emily Dickinson’s love poetry. Then, (like the author of a ransom note), I collaged short lyrics over the Wite Out by cutting and pasting individual letters from a variety of vintage media (such as a 1970s issue of Better Homes and Gardens). This is one strategy for transforming transgression, faith, and forgiveness from things (as commodity) to events (as “matters of care”).
Select ransom notes are available for purchase as postcards or broadsides. Query firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Now, dear READERS, I invite you to enjoy! Emily