Three members of the Next Objectivists read at Con/Crescent Press' reading series in Philly at the end of June. Here's the introductions to the reading by C/C P editor Nick DeBoer:
Well. The Next Objectivists came and knocked back the birds here in Philadelphia. In that way, my distinct pleasure comes in tossing out the keepsake of their introductions.
‘Can you send me the link information for the Thursday Objectivist workshop?’ That’s all it was. I had spent a year and a half in Chicago, unable to find that primeval connection. I had gotten used to that form of hermitage that exists after trauma. It takes its home in you, like a parasitic grief, that knows that with the right tweaks, you will tumble down and deep into your depression.
This didn’t happen. In the early weeks of October 2009, I found myself 24-hrs without sleep sitting across from people who knew poetry, that took it as space in their lungs. But what was more, they wanted to investigate, they wanted to break down and get intimate with the perusal. It isn’t anything new, this has been going on for hundreds, thousands of years. People get together and talk the talk of the arts. But, I could argue. I could get gruff and stumble into my own thoughts without a lot of clever face dancing and glad-handing deliveries.
Yet, what was really happening was a home was in the pipeline. I mean, that’s the great thing about the human race, we make homes on the fly. We get all dumb with excitement and the next thing you know, you too could already be a Next Objectivist. Founded in January of 2009, the mission is, “to live poetry differently…to resist the increasingly intense pressures to privatize poetic practice that result from & help to perpetuate neoliberal hegemony by doing poetry in ways that were captured by the economy in cultural capital as its being regulated today.” Twice a month the Next Objectivists Poetry Workshop meets, a workshop that has and will ‘insist upon being autonomous, free & open-to-the-public,’ where they investigate the processes of poetry.
And through this they are engage n “an ongoing endeavor to produce a new kind of autonomous poetry.” They have, “poetypists (to) transcribe material given to them by ordinary people at public & semi-public events. Workshop members & the public at large work together to revise the transcribed material into poems which have no individual authorship.”
That’s the import. As Roland Barthes points out, “everything is to be disentangled, nothing deciphered; the structure can be followed, ‘run’ (like the thread of a stocking) at every point and at every level, but there is nothing beneath: the space of writing is to be ranged over, not pierced; writing ceaselessly posits meaning ceaselessly to evaporate it, carrying out a systematic exemption of meaning.”
But, hey, that’s how it works. All of a sudden it’s 830 in the morning and you are putting up posters, and setting out typewriters on a conference table, helping create the living oral dialogue into a poetry of and by the people that move in and out of the rooms you’re in. What is so magnificent about the Next Objectivists is the engagement. These are the moving bodies, the poetry of the multitude.
Denise Dooley: I like immediacy. A hit to the body, a register that doesn’t level off right away. Dooley writes, “All night there are wolves at/the door and I wake there are/wolves at the door.” It’s a fever rush, that streak of sweat that aligns itself on your brow and waits to pour salt into the eye. There is this availability, where once you start feeling the line, it starts to deepen its motivations, it starts to aim in like a spy satellite. She writes in Drumtops, “rising black/ant hulls in spill shape/parameter of lost or melted/soda,/still the birds/rioting around it open.” Once I’m in, I can see it, this army of black ants, like a ship hull spilling down and over all the lost places of the concrete sidewalks and they rally around the corn syrup of the soda and above them the birds riot, riot open, preparing. I like immediacy, I like it now. Would you please welcome Denise Dooley.
Adam Weg: A frequency, a pulse, persistence, that wobble and flow over riverbed rocks. The things it touches shoots solid bolts up. Weg writes, “Quote something that hasn’t been said before/between us, so it’s just the two of us, and these/elements of another/volunteered in ten different directions. It’s all being lifted into/eating acid and chips fall, but cover our tracks.” It is the stream gone succinct, moments that feel as though they are my own memories. An attachment, quartering off inside a dusty room of a dying grandparent. Weg writes, “the problem, the/erupting off us/the minute/you attribute it/to memory/although though/it’s my neck that’s/is insane/a memory/the etiquette/we attribute to memory/Now put up his eyes’. I read with a breach of my hull and as the water starts riding into the shell of my body, the memory fractures, fucks up, my lungs fill up with fluid and I’m almost there. Would you please welcome Adam Weg.
It’s all too much. Sometimes. Sometimes you have a lot sitting on your vocal chords. And I do. And I could stand up here and commit to synthesizing, but it would be reactionary without the wares. So, what can I say? Well, if I’m going to belly up, this is an engineer, a maker of countless worlds, the action, not a self-actualizing scribbler, not a hip-fat capitalist, but embodiment of a landscape that he is but one voice, anonymous, a multitude or the heteroglossia. He sees because he has sat long and still enough to know, to be of a poetry from the outside. In Code Book Code, Regan writes, “1 shadow/moved darkest/against the river wall – /some sand blown up/the scene was set:/it’s a neighborhood threat.” A little Iggy Pop strewn over the shadows rolling up against the green rust, sand lost to the design of its storyboard.
In some ways, perhaps, what I’m really aiming at, what I can only scratch the surface of, is that this is the good fight. A place to plant a flag. In Gapers’ Delay: A Harmolodic Essay on Unwanted Acceleration, we find ourselves in a meta-universe collapsing. “Our ashcan life whispers its remorse/in the bitter hours of an afternoon//stalled between the last of the lunch rush/& the earliest the shift manager/will ever let us leave -.” And I guess that’s where I come in, a little gift for Saturday afternoon. Would you please welcome Matthias Regan.