What is YOUR fragment? Poets discuss the fragment--where they first encountered this writing technique, how fragments are part of books they read and admire, but most significantly, each of the poets participating in this year-long blog project begun in early 2014 share a bit about how the fragment appears in their books.(see the original questions HERE and an elaboration on my reflections on what a fragment is HERE). Responses 1-11 have been supplied by (click names to see posts): Lisa Pasold, Marthe Reed, George Vance, rob mclennan, j/j hastain, Michael Ruby, Jennifer K Dick, Afton Wilky, Pearl Pririe, Tilla Brading and Laura Mullen.This week poet Adeena Karasick responds.
Whether using it to denote all that is absent or elliptic or broken,
the fragment foregrounds how everything is always already
broken from something and the fragment inside the fragment infinitely explodes
with all potential meaning.
Composed in the style of Facebook updates or extended tweets, is a collision of fragments. Mashing up the lexicons of Stein, Zukofsky, Whitman, the contemporary financial meltdown, semiotic theory, Derrida and flckr streams; fragments of post-consumerist culture, it documents contradictory trrrnds, threads, webbed networks of information, the language of the ‘ordinary” and the otherness of daily carnage, erupting as a kinda self-reflexive deeply satiric archive of fragments, updates, analysis, aggregates, treatise, advice and precepts.
The fragment allows not for a desensification but reminds us of how we are always engaged in a kind of euphoric recycling of information (shards, sparks) and how we are continually reinvented through recontextualization. And consumed with an ever-elusive search for definition, rerouted through infinite collisions, juxtapositions of defamiliarity, and asked to re-evaluate how we process information.
Recent collaborations with Maria Damon, Intertextile Text in Exile, Shmata Mash Up / A Jewette for Two Voices published in Open Letter (Collaborations Issue) and Habits of Being (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), explores the rag inside the frag --
the text as textile interwoven; text in exile, textatic;
is ribbed woven linen limning outlining the materiality of the sentence, s’entrance –
Because what is a shmata but a fragment?
a rag, towel, washcloth, headcovering -- that which is ripped tattered worn.
Interestingly, with the addition of an apostrophe
Shma’ata is also the text
and thus really foregrounding how inevitably the text
is always comprised of fragments, broken, torn
Always already ripped off
stretched out in the minutia of ouisie locutia
all ambiphractured and hemistiched
saying the unsayable, waving towards and calling forth
all that is not present but resonant and echoic
palimpsested in a pool of reverberant slips.
Interestingly, it turns out that with an addition of an “a,” Shemata –
actually means to drop, let slip, slippage; fragment
So, shmata engraved in slippery ellipsis oullipian slippage, full of cuts, scission derisions, elision; shattered, tattered reminds us how through the fragmentation of the words
the world explodes.
Further focus on the fragment most recently, is with my Salomé project
I’ve been working through fragments of history to tell the untellable
name the unnamable, say the unsayable re-writing her story
through shards, fragments of Kabbalistic and Midrashic infusions, histories mythistories heresies repurposing her naysayers (Bryant, Flaubert, Oscar Wilde, Richard Strauss ), re-presenting her not as an evil murderess but
And she is thickening her vibe
like a savage garish moody poster portrait
of debt-vetted affects
axioms of wracked praxis
And he is all swarthy charred
with loaded lilts, stilted jilter
And she is trampling her
And he is cradling and scratching meaning
out from the fissuring of an architecture
of cynicism, of stuttered iterality
And she is
stirring her plotted contiguities
echoes, orbits, ambits of ravaged damage
while bathing in the operative gore of systemic repression.
Covering and uncovering recouvert
veiling though these letters of the
text all lexibly flexible, textured flecks
gathered rags or raggedy gags, rag tag frags of wriggly insignias