Welcome to Posit 2!
I’m very excited to introduce our second sampler of contemporary poetry and prose. Once again the salient qualities of these works is the aesthetic range of their accomplished craftsmanship. However, if I were so inclined, I might dub this issue “Dialogues,” since quite a few of these entirely original pieces cast themselves in relation: to Plato, Proust, Rimbaud, Williams, Joyce, jazz, Leonard Cohen, Twitter, and Comedy Central (not to mention, from our visual artists: Goya, Velasquez, Tennessee Williams, and classical mythology).
On offer in this issue: Seth Abramson’s virtuosic Metamodern alchemy, combining Conceptualist methodologies combining building blocks such as crowd-sourced tweets with humor, social commentary, and yes, even pathos; John Amen’s lyrical lamentations of our courageous if futile stand against mortality — as, “tricked by dirt & sky,” we “flog. . . [our] memoir[s]. . . inventory [our] bruises. . . [and] wring our music;” Nancy Flynn’s high speed single-sentence whirl of lexical and sonic hijinks and allusive flourishes; Glenn Halak’s profound, deeply graceful, entirely self-sufficient 22-part homage to Wallace Stevens’ Thirteen Way of Looking at a Blackbird; Jefferson Hansen’s jazzy, saxophonic solos, riffing nimbly on gold and gilt “in this backward/age of upside wiggle/and down/side roll;” j/j hastain’s visual and prose probings into the social and sexual “living holes” of our collective conscious/unconscious conscience; Rich Ives’ more and less elliptical, always luminous and distilled investigations into felt experience via versed “stories/of simple overglow/ogling ontological vertigo;” the suggestive calm of Michael Keenan’s tributes to Rimbaud and Proust, implications rippling in expanding rings from the focused impact of their polished stanzas; the uncannily distinctive authorial voice of Continuations, the years-long collaboration between Sheila Murphy and Douglas Barbour — a carnival feast of wordplay, juxtaposition and fragmentation in celebration of the power and plasticity of language; Sarah Sarai’s sly, edgy, tightly coiled explosions of implication offered like fisted gifts, laced with equal parts irony and sorrow, finely crafted in their swift shifts from blunt informality to delicate lyricism; and Tod Thilleman’s excerpt from his Joycean memoir, Blasted Tower, whose chimeric form, like its multi-talented subject, interweaves aesthetic and spiritual musings with personal narrative to explore the evolution of this visual artist, writer, theorist, and searcher.
I am also thrilled to introduce our new associate editor, Bernd Sauermann. Bernd is not only an extraordinary poet and professor, but a discerning curator — and genial colleague. I am honored and grateful to have him on our team.
* * *
For Posit 2, I am delighted to offer the work of five talented and accomplished artists.
These works by Arthur Gonzalez take us deep into the narrative of the unconscious. With apparent effortlessness and via an extraordinary mixture of materials, he manages to pop fragments of stories, dreams, and mythologies into three dimensions, imbuing them with pathos, emotion, and mystery.
Vito Desalvo makes images that look as if they came to us from another era. His subjects resemble people from the 1940’s or 1950’s. Decorative elements behind each portrait reinforce the atmosphere of a bygone time. The psychological tension in these works is heightened by the way his characters wear their emotions on their faces while saying what’s in their heads.
Ryan Browning creates imaginary cities that perplex as to how to enter them, or for that matter, how to escape. These works play with scale and expectations – the paintings literally spill out from one frame to another, too large to be contained in the ordinary confines of a single canvas. Seeping into adjoining frames, the architecture of the paintings expands into the space around them.
Linda Griggs embodies the very mission of Posit, with her combination of visual and verbal story-telling. Mixing narrative in image and text, she takes us to dark and magical worlds of her own creation.
And David Goldin’s collaged and drawn pieces are exuberant, funny, and beautifully designed. They manage to be both goofy and elegant at once, merging elements from the past with a very contemporary design sensibility. And they, too, combine text and image, and incorporate images that span the eras.