Lynn Xu, Sampson Starkweather and Joshua Edwards

Here are introductory notes from Jared:

We are joined tonight by three global citizen poets, Lynn Xu, Sampson Starkweather  Joshua Edwards  

This particular pairing made me think further about the relation of poetry, mythology and performance. I’ve done a lot of thinking about mythology in relation to sam’s work, since I wrote the introduction to the book … I remember even before knowing Sam getting a sense of something ambiguous and volatile in his self-presentation as a poet ‘who lives in the woods alone’ and that became the seed for my intro to his book: a sort of pastiche on the Legend of the Poet as a sort of Sublime Vagabond

I began with a description of the 3 lives of a poet as Shattuck describes Rimbaud:

‘his biography, his myth, his verse –where they coincide is what we identify as the poet.

From my vantage I have a similar sense of Josh and Lynn, with their peripatetic travels – Mexico, California, Stuttgart, Nicaragua, Marfa – and their extremely sublime press Canarium (I love how the tiny addition of the –ium from the name of Josh’s great journal Canary  - I always thought it seemed like a sort of gloss on the idea of an avant garde, a canary in a coalmine turned it into the Canarium, a sort of enormous cathedral. And their covers are totally sublime.

I know to them perhaps this just seems like normal life but I think of them in their lives and work as performing the role of poet as pilgrim and host in a way that is enviable and exciting to witness and is worthy of emulation.


The mexico we are still young from/ faking our own deaths / as children, shaking our futures / before your eyes


We celebrate landscape, deride technology, and try to keep other foreigners out of our photographs, except for the ones meant to show how much stranger than us other foreigners must be.

--Their work becomes at times an invitation, not least the recent photo-essay of the performance walk they took Werner Herzog- style partly together from Galveston to Marfa across the changing texas landscape past a lot of open space and a lot of roadkill.


“On a journey I become my questions”

Here’s a similar sam quote

“He wrote like he was diving into the ocean to see if the sea ever ends.”

Sam asked me to dilate for htmlgiant last summer and I produced a mock-mini-epic of a obituary in which Sam stood in for the death scenes of Rimbaud, Lorca, Spicer, Bolano, and a sort of Philip K Dick character / Jeff Bridges in Tron, transmogrified into pure information, as his “last four books” emerged posthumously over and over.

Overhead, Sampson Starkweather read his books on the screen of his transom-window, writing in steam with his fingers on the glass with its fogged vantage of Mars. No myth is written all at once. And then, of course, the singularity, much delayed, in that year of sixes, when the upload was complete and the mind inside the machine became indistinguishable from the image of the body outside. (The heart in the machine is green too.)

Lynn in her DEBTS AND LESSONS similarly writes “I am Baudelaire Rimbaud I am odilon Zip myself in to the flower suit blow smoke into the sky”. The “For so-and-so” gesture, writing a poem to acknowledge the relationship. Even the title suggests this complicated mixture of being tied down and unburdened, life as a process of self-education. The book is teeming with Rilkean angels so that even the self is a society.

Mythology at its worst is a sort of distorting mirror into celebrity and selfish behavior. At its best, a kind of life performance, a gift, a tightrope walk. Mythology transforms reality.

Wandering towards and away from home at the same time, wandering as discovery. Poetry as wandering. Poetry as discovery.

Josh writes of art he admires as suggesting “home without associations”. Risky and hopeful.

What these poets share is a sense of mythology as an entrance to a pro-social space, one that is grounded in magic & friendship & mutuality & collaboration & Sweetness. Poetry as travelogue, poetry as hospitality, poet as family.