A Reading with Arisa White, Jim Goar, Katie Fowley and Cheena Marie Lo

Here are Jared's notes towards introductions for the reading:


Drawing these connection between a series of un/natural/disasters: the natural disaster, the breakdown of a house, the foreclosure of a home, the ambiguity of community, the loss of work and the impossibility of gender definition:

Threads : being read,  relation of story, poetry and body, economics / communitarian, identity and naming

Cheena Marie Lo: “movement and relation” “To take the place of a name. This is a body.” “The physical form talks around an interpretation.

Jim Goar: “this is my body. A nest for you to keep” “Once upon a time…”

Arisa White: "we go story  after story thinking the roof will know nothing of the ground" – Arisa white

Katie Fowley: “Social dance”  

Writing about body and its environment, and how language can both help and complicate our understanding of how these are connected. Language creating identity.



Terrifying & Heartbreaking  story of identity, violence, survival.

Runs bright red “in the pitch of a siren, suspended” 

Cymothoa exigua “a parasite eats the fish’s tongue and becomes the tongue it has eaten”

unstable metaphor for domestic violence, instability of identity and identiffation


Re her younger brother as a baby: “he was as foreign as the words in my workbook”

Writing “To not judge.” “When you walk in the world as black, woman, queer, poor, and the such, you get read before you reveal who you are. And sometimes, there is no space to learn who you are without being constantly challenged by assumptions, stereotypes, and expectations to perform or produce in a certain way because of those social identities.”

Stirring language:

“You, removed from the force of constellations”

“a silence that turns everything purée”

“you are bold letters among faded ink-whispers of people”

 A publishing experiment:

I’m publishing 100 copies of dear Gerald, and will give out 95 copies to those who send me letters. (The remaining five books will be for me.) To receive dear Gerald you must be willing to give yourself healing attention. The book is my offering to your fearlessness, to sitting down and mining that pain, that absence, and then sharing it with me. It is no easy task to do that kind of work . . . .

Jim Goar

“I had the grail but lost it. Closed my eyes instead. Retired to the Florida Coast. The grail castle was no more. The dustbowl loomed. A life without shelter. I used to be a knight of the round table perilous. Surprised at how quickly things change. Predicted rain on opening day. And it rained. Blamed the radio for our loss. Notes from the deepest space. Our holy anthem continues to play.

Camelot/grail mythos interweave with Americana, but instead of the splenetic and ethereal comedy of Jack Spicer, we have sort of silky, diaristic, abstract sketches. Many fragment sentences without subjects that give it a static, lugubrious quality, like relics from a funeral rescued from the garbage.

“In every picture. Doors. Around every door. Debris.”

Goar turns language in on itself to find the “quest” in question or turn the pen into pen-dragon. 

Interesting how it foregrounds the order of composition, and the fact that these are written in Norwich England as a sort of fantasia of America written as an expatriate.

“California is the Garden of Eden.” “knights from the heartland”

These poems take place nowhere but language, or I might say in the no where that is language.

Katie Fowley

Social Dance, which explores the relationship between poetry and dance

Mina Loy or Laura Riding Jackson / or maybe Russian suprematism or blakean in the mixture of children’s song meter and mythopoetic apocalyptic content

“using words in the wrong ways” says Katie Fowley as reviewer

 “My name is turtle. My body is dark. Turn my body in the fire”

Lullaby (dactylic tetrameter a la Thomas hardy)

“lets all become nursemaids and sleep in low places. Let’s all become jelly in a spa of red hearts’

 from her poem “Recognition”

“Before the event a man ranks as woman / before the event a woman ranks as man / a man rank as woman ranks a woman / a woman rank as animal ranks a man.”

Merging. Messy. Energetic.

Cheena Marie Lo: writing about the body. I found some extraordinarily provocative writing of Cheena’s on Jacket, where the body is discussed as a set of relations.

 “learning how to be in my own body” 

"i am learning how to be in my own body in relation to foreclosure and underwater mortgage rates. i am learning how to be in my own body in relation to 1 in every 730 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing in september 2012."

"I am learning how to be in my own body in relation to people I love fiercely and people I really like and people I kind of like and people I don’t respect and people who I never even think about and people I’ve never met and people I’d like to meet someday and people who I see from afar, in passing and people who will show up in the important ways and people who will show up only sometimes and people who will disappoint and people who will leave eventually"

"I feel like I have more conflict with myself, because I’m always so afraid of taking up space from others that deserve space too"

Cheena Marie Lo is deconstructing a lot of things we take for granted about the relationship between language and the body but I found this idea very compelling that there is also a cultural component to the pronouns Cheena uses, as when in an interview Cheena’s immigrant mother comes up: to quote “since English is her second language, she’s kind of bad with pronouns, but in this really subversive way that I am obsessed with. “ So in a sense the space to unsettle gender, for instance, arises out of the experience of being at a distance from language, from a learned or a native language...

talking around an interpretation – not even making meaning with language, but this language that sort of hovers around when meaning is made

lean into what is unknown

Everything is a symbol a gesture a referent. Nothing is a reference to this body.