Saturday, March 22, 2014

WHAT IS YOUR FRAGMENT V: j/j hastain responds

j/j hastain, fragment from "Identity Collage"
What is YOUR fragment? Poets explain this technique as it appears in their books (see the original questions below here). Responses 1-4 have been supplied by: Lisa Pasold HERE  then Marthe Reed HERE the third by George Vance HERE and the fourth by rob mclennan HERE. Today, j/j hastain responds below.

Original questions: 
I (JKD) think of the use of FRAGMENTS in poetry as falling into a few different categories, such as these three:
          1) fragment as ABSENCE: as something which remains when something has been taken away (into which one might put the practice of erasures, but also that of work retrieved but only in part),
          2) fragment as bits of SOMETHING BROKEN-- language spaced over a or many pages opening up the white of the page to various ends, fracutred narratives and identities, ruptured languages
          3) fragment as ELLIPSIS--making a place for the unsayable, the white page to act as a unit of (unspoken) speech, including in this case a densification of the pause or caesura.

What is YOUR fragment?
Can you take a moment to reflect on this question and also to suggest books which, for you, fall into the category of books you like and/or wrote which for you use "the fragment". Where did your use of fragments emerge from (a particular tradition, reading someone or many people, or realization about space on the page, for example?) AND what do you think the fragment contributes to your work in particular? Feel free to list books you have written which you consider good examples of poetic fragment in use.

j/j hastain RESPONDS

 j/j hastain is the inventor of The Mystical Sentence Projects and is author of several cross-genre books including the trans-genre book libertine monk (Scrambler Press), The Non-Novels (forthcoming, Spuyten Duyvil) and The Xyr Trilogy: a Metaphysical Romance of Experimental Realisms. j/j’s writing has most recently appeared in Caketrain, Trickhouse, The Collagist, Housefire, Bombay Gin, Aufgabe and Tarpaulin Sky

On Fragments by j/j hastain:

Is the fragment a snag? A meta–yet-mighty hook by which something inherited tears, widens, matures? Or is it the reaching through the fabric from the other side of it to pull that extra pooling of thread made by the snag, back into some semblance of place within the fabric at large?

I came to lyrical experience with language by way of the fragment, so to perceive of it as something secondary to traditional grammar or regularities in language does not work for me. The fragment is a whole thing that is in fact responsible for my getting in here, in the lyrical investment and collaborative dance with language in which I currently find such joy, somatic stabilizing, sensuous reach and synthesis.

A young tomboy etches phrases into the dirt. They stand tall, shirtless in summer dusk and perform this etching by intuition. They generate output from intuition while singing little, dribbling rogue songs to their own shadow and they do not write in complete sentences. The phrases that need be written are already here: some kind of alerting, some mirroring message long extant in a mysterious between now making itself manifest to my body by my attuning with it. The magics that are just outside of view can be viewed if I let them. Fragments are whole bridges in which I can learn to let. The reverberative results of that letting are sumptuous sense. Fragments are enigmatic yet whole bridges for somatic discrepancies, dysphorias and dysphonias.

A full quilt keeps a body warm at night. The triple swatch of the patchwork quilt (which covered me as a child) being held so fiercely in my hand, being kept with devotion in my pocket like an ancient friend, keeps more than just my body warm here and now.

PS:  Upon request for a poem to close the above posting, jj emailed me two Jpgs, the one at the top of the post above right and then the complete image below, adding: 
       "The first one is the fragment--the second one is the fragment involved in some sort of stitched (patchwork) aggregate. These are collage/paint/sketch thingies I make in an ongoing project called "Identity Collage"-- I could also articulate this in language..."

j/j hastain, from "Identity Collage"


George Vance said...

This points up sharply the wholepart gist of fragmentalizing,calling up the primal dithering on the memorymental/membrane between image&protoword, urging both toward one.

Jennifer K Dick said...

Love your comment, Geo! I hope j/j will see it!!!

George Vance said...

Thanks, Jen. As you can see, a riveting subject for me! Carry on.