Editors’ Notes (Posit 4)

 

Welcome to Posit 4!

We are delighted to bring you the poetry in this new issue, which assembles a range of poetic approaches to the deployment of razor-sharp vision reflecting our selves and our world(s) with unnerving power and ineffable magic. As always, the work in this issue comes from poets at all stages of their careers and a variety of aesthetic and geographical milieus. We hope you enjoy:

Kristin Abraham’s elliptical yet potent lyric investigations into the violently carved ‘wife-shaped face’ of American femininity as well as the asymmetrical “hog-thick tension” and “derivative violence” of our diode-logical relationships;

Simeon Berry’s wryly wrought encounters of Nix, a “biped without a face,” with the “negative/cathedral[s]” of our final inevitable “unreal estate,” nimbly transmogrifying sound puns to meaning puns with wit and grace;

Dana Curtis’s hallucinogenic psycho-documentaries with their “known lights . . . spiraling out . . . into [a] fog shrouded museum;”

Raymond Farr’s wonderfully threatening contemporary mythology, replete with Delphic Oracle;

Derek Graf’s ‘forest’ of prose blocs in which the silent and the voiced intertwine to re-imagine tropes as rich and strange as “the cold equations of hills and the cloven vandal of the moon;”

Carolyn Guinzio’s unsettling gaze reflecting our world in the hypnotic spin of a snake’s eye and complicating meaning via a counterpoint of interwoven narratives emitting implications of incantatory resonance;

Tim Kahl’s blunt and surprising vision, inviting us in from the numb comfort of our societal “avoid room” and guiding us “into position to receive the new settings from the old intelligence;”

Drew Kalbach’s “polycarbonate enhanced/enriched plastic” urban techno narratives, gleaming like “pure chemical reactions where no chemicals are found and nobody takes a picture to prove it;”

Jared Schickling’s mad constructions, “an epicurean trip thru quantum entanglement” conjuring up verbal parallels to the work of Jackson Pollock;

Marius Surleac’s collisions of punk rock with bucolic pastoralism, making us “lose our minds smoking pot made of sharp corn blades;”

Lewis Warsh’s deceptively relaxed and conversational lines snaking from the daily to the universal, the evident to the profound, with lingering resonance and masterful grace;

and Karen Zhou’s deft and haunting constructions, weaving us into her magical world of “nebular wild white,” “tattooed tulips” and “the impossibility of brûléed snow.”

As ever, thank you for reading!

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann

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And welcome to the visual art in Posit 4!

ShinYeon Moon’s work explores the masks that people wear and the people beneath those masks — who we appear to be, and who we fear we are. Deeply psychological, Moon draws the inspiration for these haunting works from poetry, mythology, and her own life.

Gina Pearlin’s paintings are like bits of half-remembered dreams of a bygone era in an unnamed country. Despite their dreamlike quality, there’s a solidity about these pieces that plants them firmly in time and space. At once surreal and concrete, her vision reveals a world that is grim yet strangely beautiful, asking questions only the viewer can answer.

James Rauchman’s paintings draw us into a world of organic shape and form. Densely packed, the canvases often seem poised to burst open. They pulse with a life of their own, like biological specimens under a magnifying glass. At the same time, Rauchman is addressing formal ideas of figure and ground. The paintings dance back and forth between foreground and background, creating a lyrical tension which addresses central questions in contemporary painting.

With a wry sense of humor, Kevin Snipe’s work documents urban life and relationships between men and women. He uses the physicality of ceramics to work around, in, under, and through the visual narratives. These sculptures operate on both two and three dimensions, the visual narrative of the drawings reinforced by the sculpted forms. Snippets of dialogue float through these pieces, like conversations overheard on a subway.

And Laura Sharp Wilson’s work assembles forms that hark from many realms: under the sea, under a microscope, and in the sky. They appear as both decorative and highly structured scientific portraits of an alternative universe. Using vivid and beautiful color palettes combined with precise drawing, these paintings suggest multiple possibilities stemming from the natural and scientific worlds.

Enjoy!

Melissa Stern

Editors’ notes

Welcome to Posit 1!

It is with the greatest pleasure that I present this inaugural issue. From now on, whenever I am asked what kind of writing Posit is looking for, I will point to the work in this volume, which shares a quality I hope to make Posit’s hallmark: its combination of homo- and heterogeneity. Homogeneously excellent, by which I mean both original and accomplished. Yet heterogeneous in form and style. Diverse, as well, in origin, harking from Ottawa, Toronto, Rockhampton, Australia, New York, Kentucky, California, San Antonio, and Olympia, Washington. I believe that re-contextualization gives rise to re-conception – that a luminous energy emerges from the cross-talk sparked by the juxtaposition of voices as divergent as the ones assembled here.

I hope you agree, and that you enjoy the great Michael Boughn’s Whitmanesque “City II.2.iv – Flirtations of light,” singing the promise and dread of urban life in this masterful and tantalizing excerpt; Mary Kasimor’s dazzling sampler of rigorous, lapidary explorations of lyric’s cerebral and aesthetic potential, crafted and turned to frameworks of implication as sharp and graceful as razor-wire lace; the grave entertainment of Amy King’s intellectual joy-ride of verbal pyrotechnics, warning and pleasing us at once, offering treats and lifelines to help “make sense of the contagion/we call today;” Travis and JenMarie MacDonald’s playful yet probing lyric departures from Dr. Who, as grave and light of touch as the Doctor himself, and, like the Tardis, improbably expansive; rob mclennan’s entries from his Glossary of Musical Terms, whose intensity of encapsulation and fragmentation shatters preconceived ideas of word and note, generating an energetic lexicon for new connections; Bernd Sauermann’s compressed, delicate, chiseled blocks of verbal and intellectual alchemy, as quietly shocking as a “revelation making its way like mad current up my arm;” R.L. Swihart’s spare, incantatory, verbal fragments taken up and dropped like stitches connecting our shared experience of the dread unspoken; Rob Talbert’s deceptively plain-spoken, unflinching perspicacity, hiding twist after brilliant turn in plain sight, working the seam between heart and mind, lament and appreciation, elegy and critique; Brad Vogler’s meditations on what cannot, will not, or need not be said, magically drawing our quieted attention to the syntax and typography of stillness itself; Mark Young’s deliciously understated verbal artifacts, turning our expectations of allusion and ekphrasis, realism and surrealism, artifice and nature, art and commerce on their heads via splashes of “Frankendolling,” the “sonnets of Michelangelo,” and other inversions; and finally, Joanna Fuhrman and Toni Simon’s spare, precise, and gravely playful “The Ruler of Rusted Knees,” deftly uniting the verbal and the visual.

Finally, a few appreciations.

To the accomplished and celebrated contributors who so generously entrusted their work to this fledgling publication: my deepest gratitude.

To those contributors who are editors as well: Joanna Fuhrman (Ping Pong), Travis and JenMarie MacDonald (Fact-Simile), rob mclennan (Chaudiere Books, above/ground books,etc.),  Brad Vogler (Opon), and Mark Young (Otoliths): the excellence you bring to both endeavors is my inspiration for this undertaking.

To the talented artist and website designer Nathan Gwirtz: thank you for converting my ideas into (virtual) reality.

And to my friend and collaborator, Arts Editor Melissa Stern, thank you for joining me in this venture!

But perhaps most importantly, to you, dear reader: thank you for visiting Posit 1. I hope you are glad you did.

Prosit!

Susan Lewis

* * * * *

Beginning with this, our inaugural issue, Posit will showcase a variety of visual artists working in all mediums, whose work we find thoughtful, provocative, funny, dangerous, or just plain beautiful. Each issue will bring together galleries by three to six artists whose work presents a vision that is both individually and collectively unique.

I am honored that Susan Lewis has chosen me to accompany her on this voyage, and hope that you will join us from issue to issue.

For Posit 1, it is my pleasure to present the work of three artists whose work shares a sense of elegance and grace. In these galleries, Michael Janis creates sublime narratives of extraordinary depth and dimensionality through the laborious fusing of layer upon layer of laminated glass, bringing precision and construct to a parallel universe where science and reason adhere to their own logic; while Leah Oates’ gentle layers of image and tone build mysterious photographic journeys through countryside and city; a theme taken up by Kyle Gallup’s celebration of the past and possibility of New York, from Coney Island to old theater marquees, alternately documenting a world long-gone and fashioning a fantasy of what it might have been.

Happy viewing!

Melissa Stern

Bernd Sauermann

In the Beginning

He is on his knees begging shamelessly while she whispers lies to a clock and a wedding ring gleams like a new appliance. A child is born in a lamp-lit room. Another child has vanished like a fear. All of these things are true when a blue dust settles like decades of bad headlines. Pages torn daily from a paperback Bible gather in a drawer. There is a locked door in the silence of the cellar, and there is so much power in what a man says that a boy can see what isn’t there. All boys can see what isn’t there, but no woman can make the clock stop conducting its solemn business.

Ferrous

The old man’s voice rumbles down a cobblestone street as the smell of diesel is married to the sharp slap of memory. A bus pulls away from a curb. A cloud of exhaust suggests a lost generation of steel, and locomotives and buses bring the old man to his knees once more at the altar of a moment. There is the sound of a hammer on an anvil. There are the ghosts of boxcars in the station. There was a time the old man believed in the power of steel, but then a national prayer was recited in a dead child’s voice.

A Prophecy

A plane hurtles me into the future where dirty water from a garden hose will not slake my thirst for a blue bike passing on the road. A prophecy is thus fulfilled and a frequent flyer is my one true friend. The farmer’s daughter whispers lusty invitations through an open window while two women comb each other’s hair at the fence. I deny a spider entrance to a keyhole as a name fades more slowly than contrails in an anxious sky. Somewhere in the house a key turns.

Keyhole

An unheard plea is still alive, but the key in the lock has been removed. A towel hangs wet and limp, forgotten in a cold shower. A spider finds itself alone on a white wall. These are the lies told to no one but myself: An arm is warm at night. We barely touched each other. You remember, don’t you? The silent weight of your head on my arm? The brush of legs. The light of day through a blinding keyhole?

Revelation

We put dead things in boxes and bury them in the sand, and we put our wet hands on a defective fan. We hold things underwater. All of these to test our mettle, but later, all the news is bad—the curfew is broken, the typhoon is on the way, the revolution has begun, and the prophecy will be fulfilled, night after night like a recurring nightmare, like day after day of steaming rain. This is the curse. This is the revelation making its way like mad current up my arm.

Bernd Sauermann teaches writing, literature, and film at Hopkinsville Community College in Kentucky. He is also the poetry editor at Whole Beast Rag, an online (and sometimes print) journal of art, ideas, and literature. He’s had, or will have, poems, stories and photographs published in The McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets, McSweeney’s, Southern Indiana Review, New Orleans Review, Nimrod, Poet Lore, The Kansas Quarterly Review of Literature, Leveler, E·ratio, Vinyl Poetry, and many other publications. He has a chapbook entitled “Diesel Generator” out from Horse Less Press (2013), and his first full-length collection, “Seven Notes of a Dead Man’s Song,” will be published in the coming year by Mad Hat Press.