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ZERO:

Writing Arts

a LIGHTZOOeffect

PHOTOS by P. Verdicchio


Acqua, watercolour by Giovanni d'Agostino

Two by Martin Nakell

Quotidian it had happened. a we as the script of written description at mazes of astonishment each turn a barrier as an entry it is because is if only if at which each spontaneously rescued word spoken is the entire conditional no blossom occurs without a body the seasons of ecstasy are internalized: each turn of the memory of transcendence cannot leave anything behind those are the rules for the perpetual game of it had happened the days are longer than their nights which appear which disappear among the clothes worn by the names among the elephant who keeps coming up in conversation as though everyone had seen it or it had happened all of it and no one fell off the linear edge each one thought of as their own creation is another one a name and the night black as ink or black as the blackest elephant who closes its eyes into a milk-white darkness who walks lumbering its snout swinging across the vast territory of what is where we were where we were admiring each otherís intelligence awash in perspicacity in the dazzling fact of interpretation whose first name was understanding whose incarnation as intuition engraved itself into the pattern as water falling and thus the portrait seemed whole and yet you could see yourself you could see everyone there in that vast landscape, one at a time or everyone together what a clamor too much too much go back to the elephant to the trunk swinging to the dog we remembered or rather who remembered us and off of whose bones the light glanced as it curved toward the curvature of space that vast idea conceived of Photograph Taken From a Window The evening, freshened by the absence of heatís excess, boasting, full of the promise or pretension of calmness, is already an ancient ruin. The stone buildings which still survive illuminated now only by the spoor of light People, (perhaps once resembling ourselves), who had fallen suddenly into some grief or into the struggle with despair or into a confrontation with self-defeat who can pass these feelings from themselves into the air of the evening, into the stone of the evening, into that white marble which still has the good luck to catch a few actual rays off the disappearing sun, those who can allow these damaged cells to be absorbed into the porous atmosphere by a process of incarnate osmosis they win the reward of a sumptuous weariness as though it were a water into which burning feet your face just then, or the face we had seen in the photograph of the photograph taken from the window, in it so clear a wound and such steadiness braided together that I thought a secret cave in the sacred city had opened. In the real sacred city, the one we celebrate because it cannot by definition exist. May our ignorance absorb us like a calm night. May the heaviness of bodies leave us so that the weight of our bodies keep us on earth. May we sit down at the table, again, where we have come before in lives ordered by reasons we accept, even in a new joy, penetrable cry that might rise in us, again forestalling salvationís
Tense Present, by Pasquale Verdicchio

Five by Krista Husar

What country which is a power sexual have gone anywhere an elephant treasure stable couple is falling what should She say seh is the woman she She she catch you later genital point of view know your way to wonderland autonomous in grass who fed the big guy okay so this violence because its melodramatic apparently all white living somewhere the bartender not horse and field in that sense the horse and stuff under together blended zipping work not fringes that was dreadful no legs at all! not a voice from nowhere my grades lack of understanding come on a walk now not home/back up first up as in hill always racially motivated arsenics not involuntary methodologies and getting fire Prove breadth In the dream I was playing a harp paper then someone came and said do you know, how to do, or who told you (I keep trying to know what is a woman analyzing outside collective behavior) active your work anyone who is similar will probably get notices today as they drove south his accent changed so she didn't want him inside her ever again or so much bell curve women in jail chanting for beds and food funny later it was a threat to the sheriff to have them back since always nagging bitches sometimes lipstick- Dad, I gave that to her the camera just has to look over silly to listen culturally- no gun play circus music own these things seldom How people spend their methods like a chicken an active stamp move out of the way that's vitamin stuff do you ever feel restaurant or male sorry wrong bus a roaster- dinner blisters have a plan in the fertile female directly comments to brother even if I can help it we always sit together from this notebook to that notebook
Quadrato, Wax by Giovanni d'Agostino

Myung Mi Kim. The Bounty. (minneapolis: chax, 1996)

102 pages. $ 12.. isbn 0-925904-21-X. Jocelyn Saidenberg Upon reading Myung Mi Kim's book The Bounty, I immediately realized the compositions' silences and blank spaces were communicating and articulating a terrain of expressions that function as powerfully as the voiced and registered words, rhythms and sounds. Gradually I became aware that there existed both an audible, eloquent music, and a muted, suggestive, and potential music. These musical manifestations, while interacting to create tensions and harmonies, began to assert and outline a radical feminist temporality and spaciality toward a new kind of perception and creation. While silence offers complex and evocative ways to read writing by women who explore it structurally, rhetorically and thematically, it also presents a particular set of problematics. If one of the aims of feminist writings is to make heard the unheard voices of women writers, then any valorization of silence might appear to be a counter movement within this project. However, due to the centrality of silence in women's culture, the legions of unheard, unpublished, out of print women's voices, the efforts to make those voices heard and a re-evaluation of the function of silence are both important in giving homage to the elements and conditions t hat helped to shape a tradition in women's writing. The formal and thematic re-evaluation of silence is a critical, vital, and urgent project for Myung Mi Kim. By researching and emphasizing silences in The Bounty, Kim offers ways of locating different values for silence. Kim's work activates new metaphors and modes through the negotiation and mediation of languages which propose ways in which silence can speak and blank compositional be made legible. The overall structure and form of The Bounty contribute greatly to a different exploration of blank space and its corresponding silences. Throughout the book's three sections, the formal exploration of the page and the frame of its composition ranges and varies tremendously, pushing out and tugging at traditional rules and conventions of the poetic line. Although certain sections appear to follow the rules of left hand margin, with stanzas containing equal number of lines and the same number of stanzas per page, even this rigorous adherence seems to ironize and comment upon the legitimacy of its own regularity and normality. Kathleen Fraser has written that the line "locates the gesture of longing brought into language. It is the visual enactment of perspective and difference" (152). She argues that, for women writers, the struggles and inventions concerning the line have developed out of a need to visibly show the path of discovery and an effort not to repeat certain agreed upon codes of versification. She specifically indicates the ones which have been regulated and used for the most part by men in privileged positions and with access to public speech. Fraser writes: For this reason, the frame of the page, the measure of the line, has provided for many contemporary women poets the difficult pleasure of reinventing the givens of poetry, imagining in visual, structural terms core states of female social and psychological experience not yet adequately tracked: hesitancy, silencing or speechlessness, continuous disruption of time, "illogical" resistance, simultaneous perception, social marginality. (153) Fraser's emphasis on the page and its structural elements as a site for expression of a female aesthetic, as a field for mapping and as a body for articulating "core states of female...experience" offers profoundly radical suggestions for reading experimental women's writing. She broadens the focus by not only looking at different subject matter, but also by examining the transcription and translation of the experience and perception of that matter into the movement, rhythms, and spaces of poetry. What then are the matters which concern the poet of The Bounty? Because the book is written in a fragmentary style, it is very difficult to trace a narrative, pin down a point of view, or even locate a speaker. Rather, meaning or the possibility of meaning, of making meaning and of locating the self and selves in a site where meaning can occur and be made, become some of the basic concerns of the book. In reading and re-reading this dismantled and discontinuous text certain patterns and cycles begin to accrue and to accumulate possible meanings around themselves. This process of renewal and reorganization calls for particular instruments of research: memory, creation, languages, generations, birth, translation. Resonances of sound buildups and associative landscapes combine to offer new patterns, musics, and maps for making sense of history and its ruptures. The use of blank space is one of the primary means of exploring these concerns through its articulation of silence and speechlessness. The dedication page of The Bounty contains one word: "mother." One might expect a preposition like "for" or "to" to appear around it or perhaps an expression of affection, gratitude or inspiration. However, the word with its rich connotative resonance appears naked, isolated, without modification, and the resulting associations are many: is she the poet's actual birth mother, a more generic mother who gives birth, inspires and expires, or the suggestion of a nurturing quality, holistic like the earth or nature, and finally, the poet as mother giving birth to writing and language. This page remains continually provoking through the whiteness that surrounds the solitary word, and the blankness that invites participation, collaboration, and invention. This indication, even before the table of contents, is both a clue for, and warning to, readers of what will be asked of them. The word's privileged and pressurized position in the book reminds me of Cixous' observation in "The Laugh of the Medusa." "A woman is never far from 'mother'....There's always within her at least a little of that good mother's milk. She writes in white ink" (335). Already the reader is being urged into thinking of blankness, silence, and whiteness as containing and carrying stories and their possibilities of collaboration and interpretation. The first section, "Primer," begins with three entries: the number 1443, information about the Hangul language, and the line: "This is the study book" (11). Each of the succeeding pages of this first section is headed by a consonant in brackets reminding readers that this is a site of learning (and unlearning), and a didactic element related to the project of cultural transformation. Some of what is being modeled here concerns languages and how to read, languages and their parameters, languages and their shapes and outlines. Kim writes: [d] underbelly underscore may no longer resemble where the barest suggestion of its shape remnant of another opulent, ample time in that reading...(17) I read these lines as suggesting that there is something yet to be articulated concerning what belongs to a new time that requires a new reading and interpretation, something under the surface of traditional, conventional resemblance and languages. The disjointed and unconventional syntax is evocative in that it requires both a suspension and an activation of reading. One is asked to proceed along with the unanticipated movements and also to penetrate and participate. The spaces in between the words of this first line offer the reader places to rest, to breathe, to listen to what happens in between the words, what sounds and patterns begin to accumulate in those spaces which persistently appear and reappear in the varying context of each page's composition. The description of culture and identity as influenced by immigration is both enacted on the page and articulated in the fragments of images and information presented on page 23 of The Bounty. It suggests that the poet hears and sees things simultaneously, momentarily, and in an overlapping palimpsest-like apprehension; she reflects her confusion and difficulty in acquiring a new language, as in the easy-to-confuse sounds of the words "call" and "cull." The shifting focus of the page insists that no single perspective be privileged, negotiating for the development of many centers and voices. The whole page can be seen as a canvas, as a field where the reader can enter its energy at any given place and exit wherever and whenever. The white spaces of this canvas, the so-called negative spaces of this composition, instruct the reader in this freedom of breaking and entering. It also expresses another side of freedom and rulelessness: confusion and embarrassment. Where do I go, where do I belong, how do I read this and what can I say? Questions one might ask when confronted with an alien culture and language. Occurring near the end of the first section, which among other things is exploring language and the study of it, page 28 is entirely blank, without even a page number. This blank page can be read as a gap or hole: there is something missing. I read this silence as expressive of Kimís profound mistrust of language, of its limited abilities to give meaning and make sense of the world around her. This page is an invitation to experience a particular kind of speechlessness. The second section, "Anna O Addendum," begins with two epigrams, one from Freud's Studies in Hysteria and the other by the exiled Egyptian Jewish writer Edmond Jabes. The Freudian quotation comments on Anna O's increasingly deprived hold of meaningful language, while Jabes expresses his distrust of language. "'...there is no such thing as a word. There are consonants waiting to become vocables'" (35). These two quotations seem to ironize each other, leaving each other in troubled positions as indicators or signposts for reading Kim's supplement to the story of Anna O. The sparse, more airy, disturbing atmosphere of this section brings even more pressure to bear upon individual words and parts of words by using the white spaces as a means to create the intensified articulation in this porous system. Particularly inviting, it urges the reader to enter and engage its offered field of energy. "Of twenty keep ten" (45) advises a line in the middle of The Bounty, which I read as a note by the poet to herself, and as an offered insight into her practice, the means by which some of the silences are outlined. In other words, of twenty observations, phrases, images, syllables, words, letters, keep ten, half of them. That the poet gives presence to her working process is also an indication of her desire to broaden notions of creation and authorship. She establishes herself as a producer and maker of social productions that involves her in the project of cultural transformation and the establishment of new values. In addition to relating her project to a larger cultural project, the writer allows different materials to enter the writing, expanding compositional and thematic possibilities. The porousness and openness of The Bounty question the notion of "finished" poems, challenge ideas about closure, and suggest a model that breathes, that has white spaces for breaking and entering, for conversation, a model that allows a wider range of perceptions to be registered. The book's third section, among other elements, takes up the interrelationships between creator and creation and between mother and child. It is not a simple celebration of birth but rather an intense interrogation of the historical and personal conditions of women as mothers and artists. Kim writes: Tombs of women ornamented Who wants me dead The children are the children are the children are.... (70) This complex presentation of woman as producer and mother gains even more dimensions as the section continues. "Mother confused with earth / Ankles leather bond // Left for dead the penetrable body mothers" (79). The interrelation between writing and bearing children is also articulated by "Point blank inner written last abode" (86). The conflation of the sites of gestation and of writing makes for a powerful image in the midst of so much labor, starting and stopping, rupture and interruption. On the page the compositional structures powerfully enact and echo these elements. The final sequence of the book (91-99), is constructed in a highly innovative form. There are two single word columns, each eight lines long, on either side of a block of text. The push and pull through the space of the page that is created by this design radically question the status of the left margin as the traditional means of ordering poetry while challenging readers to assert and articulate ways of reading and negotiating these pages. Readers encounter the last page and confront the decay and erosion of the structures that have been established just as they have begun to find rhythms and patterns for reading thereby demanding that an even more active participation in the compostion, listening, and registration of the silences being created. The Bounty challenges not only the reader and traditional forms of versification but also questions and opens up the canon of acceptable genres. It asks to be read not as a collection of individual poems but as a book, as something that occurs over an extended period of time and happens in an expanding space, thus seeking to rethink established aesthetic and literary notions. By challenging traditional poetic structures, Kim is able to enact a central element of her poetic project: the revaluing of the spatial and temporal functions of silence. Endurance, bearing the silence, letting the silence be born and be borne are some of the associations that accrue around Kim's expression of silence. The silences, in their most elemental role mark and register durations, what is endured by and born from women in successive generations. In addition, while they honor a female heritage that at times escapes articulation, yet it is in this book embodied in the blank page, these silences also begin to outline the meaningful shapes that are being created. Works Cited Cixous, Helene. "The Laugh of the Medusa." Trans. Keith Cohen and Paula Cohen. Feminisms: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism. Ed. Robyn Warhol and Diane Price Handl. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers UP, 1991 (334-49). Fraser, Kathleen. "Line. On the Line. Lining up. Lined with. Between the Lines. Bottom Line." The Line in Postmodern Poetry. Ed. Robert Frank and Henry Sayer. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988 (152-174). Kim, Myung Mi. The Bounty. Minneapolis: Chax Press, 1996.

Translations by Pasquale Verdicchio

Andrea Zanzotto
from Fosfeni (Milano: Mondadori, 1990) Squaring-off the page This is how it happens, like this pedaling - pedal on the edge on the lip on the corner while pebbles intervene and shadows too fluttering from the aspen and valued green by green Pedal, foot against foot and leg against leg, bone, pedaling, entangles tarsus and shins Falls of butterflies sponsor you, at the encounter in counter direction proceed pedal and press and breathless worse than during birth among bright birthings of suns like butterflies and among birthings of butterflies soft comments Pedal and press like inside a large grape and bend over all the grapes in front of you, mundane, make-over fidelity Recover recover and give prize, is at a premium beyond the anxieties and carnality: elsely press sweet from sour from lucrative thefts Pedal without trilling that no-one the jumping flight on the gravel among butterflies will impede anyone The squaring-off of the page has begun - by kicks well pedaled.

Vivian Lamarque
Selections from The Golden Man (Milano: Crocetti, 1988) Mr. never He was a handsome and marvelous man. One could not stay near him a long long time, in fact not at all. He, the Distant one, lived all arrogant with his family, in another place. The man of the little box A man had a wife. On top of that, in a little box, he had a second one, secret and very small. How could the wife in the box breathe? The box had a little window, as well as a writing desk and a bed. The man loved both wives very much and his wives loved him too. The man here Shining with sun the road carried him. From far away to Milan it carried him. Every single force of speed turned and turned the wheel so that the far away man might become a man here. A perfumed man Completely inebriated, that flower smelled that man. Was he a perfumed man? Yes, a man like a field of grasses. The man and Rome Come come said Rome to a man. Rome could speak? Yes. Come come - it said - on a wonderful trip with a window seat. Was Rome so polite? Yes, and the man was nicely caressed and embraced. The man of nostalgia At length at length the bells rang, nostalgia was about to was arriving had arrived. Whose nostalgia? It was the nostalgia of a man. Gone? Gone. Was it a large nostalgia? It was the largest nostalgia you1ll ever see. The caressable man Most difficult of all was when the nights fell on the beds and caresses began to walk away. At the end of the road they could not find the caressable man for whom they had started to walk. Dazed they searched and searched for the man but he was not at the point of arrival. The man of the moon He did not want to tire him out but rest him like a moon. Like a bluish moon? Yes, that shines on the paths of the hills and the mountains. And the cities? Alright, a little on the cities too. And that man wanted that he should rest? Yes, sometimes that man wanted the blue arms of the moon all for himself. The man of the stars The sun shone in the sky. What for? For her to go walking with that man. Was it a nice walk? Marvelous, even the stars in the sky, in a scattered order, walked along. The man of goodnight From a distant distant bed with the best selfsame goodnight he wished. Was there a moon? Oh, yes the moon and a thousand stars, and the branches of trees and sleeping waters, with every everything he wished him goodnight. And did the man hear? Yes, softly softly the man heard, as he fell asleep. The man of the prints In the light of the sky at five of that evening things stood out out so well oh had that man been there to see them with her the things of the universe that stood out. So that man was not there to see them? had he left? Yes, the road has stolen his steps, put his footprints in line with the points turned the other way. The untouchable man Most kissable in dreams, untouchable like a thread bared in reality, was that man. What to do then? It was enough to confuse dream and reality a little, erase them with a white eraser the useless dividing line. The man and the rain Raining, he embraced her in his safe arms. And the rain? The rain rained outside. And after? Who knows after, they were at first The man of orientation Future orientations should have leaned in the direction of major berries Oh naturally. Superior berries of superior kisses? Oh yes. Always superior always superior until their quantity in its turn in the end should have been reached. The man of the curtain He lived in a fancy automobile. There were two seats with head-rests, two without, two drawers for food, a bookshelf, and a night curtain. That didn1t leave much space, he could only receive very very small women (one at a time) he kissed them a lot (behind the curtain) especially one of them.

Cesare Viviani

from  Notes Toward a Poetics of the Garment  (Milano: Crocetti, 1990)




VI.

A writer can change tongue only non metaphorically: 
in a surgical sense.


The moan is an expression of the intellect.


Death wakes internally.  Externally the body 
keeps up appearances.


The last thing to die is society: 
the thing that most resists in a dieing person is education.


In the end you find out that your one great love was a door.


If I had to choose a "poetic" form it would be tautology.


Compulsion is the translation of the heartbeat.  
It is uneliminable in life.


Every time he asked me for a temporal reference 
("but when...?") he was stupid.


There is never anyone in the room of the dieing.
Never anyone near.


Repentance is the best example of sentiment of 
the definitive (in man): something of absolute
that sticks on us.


The mobility of thought is an absolute lack of stability:
it always wavers from the particular to the general
and viceversa.


A particularity always produces (or generates) 
a general argument.


Perfection - which psychologists despise - would be 
to conform to will of everyone.


In every case in the surroundings what one says happens.


It is disturbing to remember that with any object 
any other object has a closer relationship 
than the staunches description that we can give of it.


A toothless hag will say the most tender things.


God is neither good nor bad: He is a master that must be obeyed.


A sentence is true when no-one else can understand it 
except the one to whom it was said.


To convert the words of others into one's own energy 
is a feminine modality.


It is not an idle question to establish whether the sun 
or the rain is more of a determinant for the growth of green.


Intelligence does not mean to know: rather, it means to jump 
without falling.


In every context, the inversion of "good" and "evil" 
must be made.


Strong admiration is free of envy.  Love is not.


There is a point at which the new will no longer be 
of interest.


Examples are a characteristic of man: they do not 
exist in nature.


Time makes the incomprehensible useful.


Once broken, a faith cannot be restored.


He who makes cannot know if he makes good or evil.  
One cannot say: "I am doing good."  Intention follows the doing.


Adoption is hideous.


Every increment of hearing is explained in italics.


The greater part (her included, the elegant and charming one) 
lives on the back of others.


Reading is a synchrony of erotic movements.

LINKS

Assoc. Italian Canadian Writers: Writing Announcements, AICW, etc.
verdicchio: My Homepage etc
ZERO: A Journal of Writing Arts
Zanzotto: Work by Andrea Zanzotto in transl
Antonio Porta: Translations of Porta's Poetry
LIGHTZOO: Film Reviews etc.

Email: lightzoo@mailcity.com