Monday, March 29, 2010

Now Available! Museum of Thrown Objects by Andrew K. Peterson

Greetings Friend, Happy Spring and All!
I'm excited to share this announcement with you for the release of my first full-length book of poems, Museum of Thrown Objects, just published by BlazeVox Books (Buffalo, 2010). The cover (above) features beautiful artwork by Atlanta-based artist Dayna Thacker.
Here’s what some beloved readers are saying about the book!

Andy Peterson's poetry combines visual art, both his own and some found elsewhere in the universe, with words redolent of mystery, thrillers, clues and riddles, and does so in a far more intelligent and sustaining way than present popular literature -- while not adopting any sense of "superiority" to same. Museum of Thrown Objects is a terrific "read" and a likewise "look" as well. -- Anselm Hollo, Guy Fawkes Day 2009

Imagine an ocean leaving its bed to hover above itself, where it should not be, to form a "silhouette" visible against an "afternoon." The technology of displacement is deployed, in Andrew Peterson's brilliant book, to create: not "delay" but "fusion." It makes sense, then, to build a museum out of artifacts that would, in the wetness beyond architecture, disappear by "low tide", but are instead "kept." Locked away in a decaying archive, "the thrown objects" form perverse alliances when the lights dim. Where the genitalia should be, for example, are "leafs and bugs." Intra-species, foaming, future-soaked, and with a "metallic corsage" delicately sewn to the wrist, the figures in Peterson's poems come to get you. And they do. They get you and take you somewhere until: "we are all here together in our new place." -- Bhanu Kapil

Museum of Thrown Objects exists as a poetic architectural phenomenon. Peterson constructs a kaleidoscopic wunderkammer of lyric, vispo, and conceptual experiments. Reading/Performing through its various wings I am activated into an environment of idiosyncratic relations. Things/Objects/Words have a collaged and artificial sensibility; as if Peterson is laughing at the overbearing seriousness of our contemporary museums with some incredulous anarchistic cut & paste. The difference between encasing an artwork behind glass as a stale and defined representation of some imagined mastery and staging things/objects/words in a dynamic and active performance of potentiality. This museum is enacting a perception embedded in things as much as in ourselves and, to me most importantly, things and selves in relationship to each other. Peterson, and the reader emerge throughout as poet-collectors (curators) in the process of mapping and performing transformation and relationship. Museum of Thrown Objects instructs the reader/performer: "Do not deny you are the work of art.". And so doing provides as it performs a dialogic and critical ethics of reading. We experience Peterson experiencing and thus find our own museums everywhere. -- Jared Hayes

I’ll say: been a joy building/cutting/pasting/curating this 'liquid architecture' from myriad found things of memory & place: errant ink petals, torn comic strips, flaky wallpaper, extinct flightless birds, rocks shaped like extinct flightless birds, transformed instruction manuals & diagrams, dream music, talking monuments & furniture, Oulipian place-mats, unsent love letters, puzzle pieces shaped like Idaho, ransom notes for missing bathroom materials, faded family photographs, errata, & other language/objects found & lost along-between there & here (from Boulder-Missoula-Arizona-desert-along-Massachusetts-coast-to-wherever-you-are...)

Ordering info: You can purchase from me directly for $12 (which is below publisher's price & includes shipping!) by visiting my blog,, then
clicking on the PayPal “Buy Now” button on the right-hand side. (If you’d rather not order through PayPal, please feel free to send a check to me: Andrew Peterson, PO Box 532, Marshfield Hills, MA 02051). Or, I heartily encourage you to purchase by visiting BlazeVox's website, here. Oh, & trades are great, too! (E-mail me!)

Thank you so much for all your love, friendship, support, & inspiration. Hope to see you soon!

Love, Andy

Sunday, March 21, 2010

iii Duchamp, Dickenson, Olson: Stutters of History (from Redell Olsen's dissertation)

.....the link between written and spoken language in highly visual terms. By creating visual "hinges" within words ("receiv / ing...h / ieroglyph") and extending spacing between words ("the mute vocables") the text self-reflexively notates a nearly aphaisic form of language. The reference to a "stuttering" extends this idea as the stutterer is forced to break words up into a series of linked and repeated sounds. Howe has even described her own critical work as stuttering, a stuttering that is "acoustically charged" with "a feeling of needing to write or say something but having no idea how to say it" (Keller "Interview" 27). The hinge is one of several devices that Howe uses to foreground a moment of delay, a stuttering space which fractures the languages of her intertexual sources, thereby calling their completeness and accuracy into question.
Duchamp's The Green Box (from which Howe takes her epigraph to Hinge Picture) consists of notes for his major work The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Batchelors Even. Duchamp gave the piece the subtitle "Delay in Glass" (26):

Use "delay" instead of picture or painting on glass becomes in glass--but delay in glass does not mean picture on glass--It's merely a way of succeeding in no longer thinking that the thing in question is a picture--to make a delay of it in the most general way possible, not so much in the different meanings in which delay can be taken, but reather in their indecisive reunion "delay"-- / a delay in glass as you would say a poem in prose or a spittoon in silver. (26)

The materiality of the work is part of its meaning. Howe has made it clear just how central this art object is to her: "It would take a book for me to go on about what The Large Glass means to me...It is so two-sided. Synthesis, antithesis, reflection and delay" ("Dialogue" 286). A delay in glass is directly comparable to Howe's stutter because it is a hesitation in words that emphasises the difference between phonemes and morphemes, a space that emphasises the materiality of utterance itself. To think of the poem as occupying a space akin to a delay in glass gives Howe a position from which to criticise conventional representational structures. In The Western Borders (1976), she writes, "Enchantment like lies can alter the sight of the beholder / but not the reality of the thing seen" (n.p.) Howe's texts resist the enchantment of conventional modes of representation, modes which attempt to construct a direct link between language and the world that it purports to represent. Just as Duchamp's "Delay in Glass" call attention to its own materiality by suggesting that the large glass does not refer to something outside itself ("no longer thinking that the thing in question is a picture"), Howe's stutter calls attention to the materiality of language, thereby calling into question language's capacity to represent a referent. In effect the visually notated stutter in Howe's text offers a critique of the natural voice as the bearer of truth.
In this sense of stuttering voices and practices that seem to face certain obscurity which continually inderlies Howe's work. Her desire to invest time in "a writing practice that seems unacceptable" ("Dialogue" 380) is confirmed by her interest in Emily Dickinson. Over her life-time, Dickinson produced a series of hand-written poems in small sewn packets. These were subsequently torn apart by editors and converted into type-written approximations of their originals. Early editions of Dickinson's work superimposed a standardised punctuation onto the texts and reordered the fascicles according to themes chosen by the editors themselves, who also dismissed the multiple variants of both the texts and the individual lines within poems. For Howe, the recovery of Dickinson depends on a recovery of these verbal and visual elements from the original texts. This is obviously a difficult task. Howe reads Dickinson's poems as if they were delays in paper, moments of spaces of suspended communication that are dependent on their material manifestation (handwriting on paper) for their effect. Mistrustful of previous editorial strategies, Howe asks "Can quick particularities of calligraphic expression ever be converted to type?" (Birth 4). She struggles to reclaim a writing practice which resists the standardisation of canonical norms and so is threatened with loss and erasure.
Howe describes the way in which Dickinson created her own hybrid discourse from "higher' female education" and combined it with what was termed "unladylike" outside reading:

Pulling pieces of geometry, geology, alchemy, philosophy, politics, biography, biology, mythology, and philosophy from alien territory, a 'sheltered' woman audaciously invented a new grammar grounded in humility and hestiation. (My 21)

It is this moment of hesitation that is according to Howe gendered: "He may pause but he must not hesitate" she quotes from Ruskin (21-22). The stutter is an acoustic or phonic moment of hesitation, but it is also for Howe a kind of visual mark. Like the stutter, the visual mark (when "read" as language) falls outside the recoverable space of meaning, it does not seem to stand for anything beyond itself. Howe highlights this connection in her discussion of Hawthorne's story "The Birth-Mark", from which her own book of essays takes its name:

One day, very soon after their marriage, Alymer sat gazing at his wife, with a trouble in his countenance that grew stronger, until he spoke.
"Georgina," said he, "has it ever occurred to you that the mark upon your cheek might be removed?"
"No, indeed," said she, smiling; but perceiving the seriousness of his manner, she blushed deeply. "To tell you the truth, it has been so often called a charm, that I was simple enough to imagine it might be so."
"Ah, upon another face, perhaps it might," replied her husband. "But never on yours! No, dearest Georgina, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature, that his slightest possible defect--which we hesitate whether to term a defect or beauty--shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection. (Hawthorne qtd. in My 7)

The husband's wish to edit the face of his wife parallels the relationship of editorial control and censure that Howe seeks to address in her critical work on Dickinson. Howe challenges a tradition of editorial scholarship which has repeatedly removed and expunged the visual marking of Dickinson's texts, precisely because their characteristic features were not apparently assimilable into the recognizable orders of what could be read as language. For Howe this issue of editorial control is certainly "a gender issue" (Keller 33)

He might pause, She hesitated. Sexual, racial, and geographical separation are at the heart of Definition. Tragic and eternal dichotomy--if we concern ourselves with the deepest Reality, is this world of the imagination the same for men and women? (My 21-22)

As this passage suggests, Howe's stance toward the reclamation of a hybrid scripto-visual practice has profound implications for the feminine writing subject. Howe begins her book, My Emily Dickinson, by asserting that she will contradict her own epigraph from William Carlos Williams:

It is the women above all-there never have been women, save pioneer Katies; not one flower save some moonflower Poe may have seen, or an unripe child. Poets? Where? They are the test. But a true woman in flower, never. Emily Dickinson, starving of passion in her father's garden, is the very nearest we have ever been--starving.
Never a woman: never a poet. That's axiom. Never a poet saw sun here. (Williams qtd. in My 6)

At the same time, Howe makes it quite clear that "A poet is never just a woman or a man" (7): "We are all both genders. There is nothing more boring than stridently male poetry and stridently female poetry" (Birth 172). Gender effects language, but this is not the whole story: "we constantly confront issues of difference, distance, and absence, when we write" (My 13). And it is this distance which is also found in the scripto-visual notation of a stutter, a hesitation, a stammer--that which falls outside the laws of speech and of writing into the realm of the visual.
Kathleen Fraser's influential essay "Translating the Unspeakable: Visual Poetics, as Projected through Olson's 'Field' into Current Female Writing Practice" argues that a number of women writers (Myung Mi Kim, Hannah Weiner, Laura Moriarty, Susan Howe and Barbara Guest) adopted Charles Olson's visual use of the page, its "spatial, historical and ethical margins" (644), to configure an alternative feminine writing practice. As Fraser points out, Olson offered an alternative to "the narcissistically probing, psychological defining of self" typified in the work of Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. Olson's visual and typographical experiments seemed to coincide with their "scepticism towards any fixed rhetoric" (644). Fraser saw in Olson someone who resisted the "prescription of authorship as an exclusively unitary proposition" (644). According to Fraser, Olson offered contemporary women writers "another kind of use value" for language, one that allowed for a more complex subjectivity that might be able to incorporate the inconsistencies of temorality; "its continuous broken surfaces, its day-by-day graphs of interruption and careening" (644).
Like Olsen, Howe is drawn to the visual notation of a stutter. At first sight it would appear that the two of them have much in common. The conception of the page as a visual field connects Howe to Olsen's poetics as he describes them in "Projective Verse." Howe clearly admires Olsen for his visual use of the page:

At his best, Olsen lets words and groups of words, even letter arrangements and spelling accidents shoot suggestions at each other, as if the page were a canvas and the motion of words--reality across surface. Optical effects, seemingly chance encounters of letters, are a BRIDGE. Through a screen of juxtapositions one dynamic image may be visible. ("Where" 6)

For Olson, the field of the page consists of "OBJECTS", syllables, lines, images and sounds in relation to one another. Following Robert Creely, Olson asserts "FORM IS NEVER MORE THAN AN EXTENSION OF CONTENT," i.e. the logic of the poem to dictate its rules (Selected 16). This synthesis of form and content emphasises the importance of process in generating meaning. Olson further links the poem's processual character to the breath. The line on the page is to be governed by the direct relationship between the ear and the breath:

But breath is man's special qualification as animal. Sound is a dimension he has extended. Language is one of his proudest acts. And when a poet rests in these as they are in himself (in his physiology, if you like, but the life in him, for all than) then he chooses to speak from these roots, works in that area where nature has given him size, projective size. (25)

In Olson the stutter is also connected to his stress on the syllable which he describes as "these particles of sound" whose juxtaposition is as important as "the series of the words which they compose" (18). Olson connects the visual look of the poem on the page directly to the body itself. His model for the ideal line is the male body at the peak of its physique, as it "gives voice." Similarly, he clearly connects the visual potential of the page and the mark-making capabilities of the type-writer to the acoustic pauses of the breath:

If a contemporary poet leaves a space as long as the phrase before it, he means that space to be held, by the breath, an equal length of time. If he suspends a word or syllable at the ends of a line (this was most Cummings' addition) he means that time to pass that it takes the eye--that hair of time suspended--to pick up the next line. If he wishes a pause so light it hardly separates the words, yet does not want a comma--which is an interruption of the meaning rather than the sounding of the line--follow him when he uses a symbol the type-writer has ready to hand:

'What does not change / is the will to change' (Selected 23)

It is these visual "interuptions" on the page, this series of stutters between meanings, which suggest a link between Olson's and Howe's scripto-visual practice.
In any interview with Cole Swenson, Howe describes the "immediate shock of recognition" that she felt on encountering Olson's work: "It was his voracious need to gather "facts", to find something, a quotation, a place, a name, a date, some documentary evidence in regard to place" (381). Like Olson, Howe is concerned with the marking and bounding of territory, the representation of the self in an already inhabited landscape. However, there are clearly distinct gender problems with making too close an identification between Howe and Olson. Howe maintains that Olson's writing is "for a woman, an indeterminate, sometimes graphically violent force" ("Charles" 168):

I am a poet. I know Charles Olson's writing encouraged me to be a radical poet. When I was writing my first poems I recall he showed me what to do. Had he been my teacher in real life, I know he would have stopped my voice. ("Charles" 166) Furthermore, her work suggests a different relationship to the visual in relation to history and to the voice to that found in Olson because of her attention to the articulation, reframing, and representation of the feminine subject.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

By Jared Hayes...HA!


Play that plinkety Plinko Pirate Patrick!

Patrick playing Plinko for pirate’s booty!

Patrick, do you have a pet parrot?

Pirate Patrick I do believe…you’ve plinkety
plinkoed your way to a fine …FINE (wink, handshake) booty!

[PIRATE PATRICK] playing plinko




Monday, March 08, 2010

ANNOUNCEMENT from The Offending Adam

Announcing Issue 006 from The Offending Adam ( Issue 006 features a serialized poem from Andrew K. Peterson, spread out from Part I on Monday through Part IV on Thursday. Come back each day and don't miss a single installment.
While you're around, if you missed our previous issues, don't worry. All of our contributions remain archived and accessible on our site, including:
005: Schlesinger & Archambeau
004: Lemon & Bendall & O’Brien
003: Hicok & Schaberg & Yakich
002: Steensen & Long
001: Beachy-Quick & Reddy & Stobb & Sweeney & Clark
We are also excited to announce our forthcoming first limited edition chapbook, Canto. We are offering a special pre-order rate of $8 ($2 off the list price) + $2 shipping and handling. Get a preview of the first three cantos in the book ( Learn more about the chapbook, and check out the cover art by Shawn Stucky, in our bookstore (
Currently we are reading submissions for new writing, essays, book reviews, and feature projects. We will be reading between now and April 15, so get us your work soon! You can review our submissions guidelines at So we invite you to drop by this week to as Issue 006 arrives.
Bookmark or add us to your reader so that you don't miss a single issue of content. And of course, we encourage you to pass the word of the launch along by passing along this message to anyone you think would be interested or post a note on facebook or a blog.
If you have any questions, comments, or concerns or if you want to contact us for any reason, please email us at
The editors of The Offending Adam
Andrew Wessels
Cody Todd
Nik De Dominic
Ryan Winet