Germ #2

Poetic Research Bloc #2 — Summer 1998
ISSN 1093-6610 / $10.00 / 240 pages


To create the beautiful again. It is as if somehow the lovers of postage stamps had created an image of themselves. A red wheelbarrow or a blue image of the unknown. And each stamp we put on the letters they send us must be cancelled, heartlessly. As if its delivery, the beautiful image of it, were a metaphor.

—Jack Spicer

Of course, portals must have guardians.

—W. R. Lethaby

silence someone speaks together in group standing by
sitting together we sitting understand silently each
say silent say together say together please together
mention someone together in like downtown speak
hannah we mean we friendly and together sound outloud

—Hannah Weiner, 1928-1997


Bernadette Mayer, Anne Waldman, Elfriede Czurda, Rosmarie Waldrop, Lisa Isaacson, James Schuyler, Ray DiPalma, Joyce Lightbody, Rod Smith, Lewis Warsh, Beth Anderson, George Albon, Devin Johnston, Gale Nelson, David Trinidad, Lisa Samuels, Brian Schorn, Anne Tardos, Chris Stroffolino, Richard Kostelanetz, Jay Dillemuth, Amy England, Marie Etienne, Anne Talvaz, Elizabeth Robinson, Nathaniel Mackey, Aaron Shurin, Albert Mobillo, Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino, Marjorie Perloff on Mac Wellman, Michel Delville on Madeline Gins, Cole Swensen on Peter Gizzi


Bernadette MAYER: A Lion Is Attacking Me [to Hannah] / * [Untitled]
(Poems retrieved from Mandeville Special Collections Poetry Archive, UC San Diego)

Anne WALDMAN: Hannah's Ware / Alice's Street near the Palace

Elfriede CZURDA: Paranoia I-III
(translation by Rosmarie Waldrop)

Lisa ISAACSON: Materialism / Bench 6. at Centers: Poetry /
The Bench at Centers / Against Threes

James SCHUYLER: Four uncollected poems: November / Light Night / Within the Dome / To Kenneth Koch

Ray DIPALMA: Song Cycle

Joyce LIGHTBODY: Forty Years of Booty / Potato Moon / Pilgrims' Bags I & II / Head Corner Stone 1 & 2 / One Way, Another Way / Surprise Valley / Four, Two Minus

Rod SMITH: The Narrative Quiescence / Soft Wall /
The Responsibility of Intellectuals / Nocturne / A Slate

Lewis WARSH: Polygraph

Beth ANDERSON: from In Residence

George ALBON: Reading Pole

Devin JOHNSTON: The Double-Acting Engine

Gale NELSON: Harrow's Gate

David TRINIDAD: Evening Twilight

Lisa SAMUELS: Target Practice / Stained Glass Reflections

Brian SCHORN: into ORGANS undone

Anne TARDOS: from Uxudo: Escargots / Efnogla-1 / Let's Try This-2

Chris STROFFOLINO: The Comedy of It All

Richard KOSTELANETZ: from 1001 Concise Contemporary Ballets--III

Jay DILLEMUTH: A Parisian Mobile

Amy ENGLAND: Two Dedications / Endnotes

Marie ETIENNE: Night Dizains
(translation by Anne Talvaz)

Elizabeth ROBINSON: Pact

Nathaniel MACKEY: Andoumboulouus Brush

Aaron SHURIN: from Involuntary Lyrics

Albert MOBILIO: me With animal towering

Gregory Vincent ST. THOMASINO: Donation Street / History / Sailcloth


Marjorie PERLOFF: Harm's Other Way: Some Notes on Mac Wellman's Theatre

Michel DELVILLE: On Madeline Gins' Helen Keller or Arakawa

Cole SWENSEN: On Peter Gizzi's Artificial Heart


Joyce Lightbody has been a practicing artist in Los Angeles since the early seventies. In the works included herein, most of the images are meticulously cut from international postage stamps. Most remarkably, all of the pieces' topographic contours and protrusions are raised inches from the surface not by the trick of any ordinary mortar, but by the lyrical tedium of laying down stratum upon stratum of postage. Should anyone wish to donate their cancelled stamps to these terrains, we would [even yet, 2005] gladly forward them to the artist's residence. —eds.

My work operates for me as a hybrid mix of cartography, musical notation and illuminated manuscript. Maps or scores that serve as visual representations facilitating a spatial and special understanding of things, concepts, conditions, processes and events. Notations that refer to rhythm and topography; poetics and presence. Manuscripts that present an awareness of position and location, as in 'plotting-out' on a number line; and that invite intimate viewing, something akin to listening, referencing the lyrical and the poetic.

Related thoughts: language and music (song) as inextricable notions. Maps as heavily discursive bodies, as base metaphors for language, culture, knowledge. Postage stamps as anagrammatic maps (witness carto-philately). The abstract and/or symbolic portent of letters, numbers and notes. Note-taking. mathematical and musical notation. Visual entities that mediate the dialogue between the structured and unstructured. Seeing and reading rhythms and tone rows. <...>

—Joyce Lightbody

All images are published by courtesy of the artist and ACME gallery.


The graphic material within comes to us second-hand from the Poetic Research Bloc's collection of cartographic miscellany and marginalia, here attaining by its neighborliness some degree of that romance of the figurative native to the captive illustration. These examples, or some of them, are familiar enough to many of us who have, by directed and northerly conventions, entertained certain designs upon "properties" of all sorts—be they as proximate as a Burmese infantry plan [Fig. 13] or as farflung as courtly Korean starchartings [Fig. 3]. Funny that representations can be so restless, but the map, like any well-meant work, is of no fixed address and thus never imaginary. Moreover, such handsome inventions naturally resist enumeration, while a "fig," mental or other-wise, is a mere trifle, or a dressed fig. Singular discoveries have borne enough waxed fruit to suggest that, quite apart from Colombo's todo esto, though one needn't a precedent, they are nonetheless legion. Here, sui generis, a bird of paradise [Fig. 12]. Elsewhere, "flocks of parrots obscure the sun."