Word For/Word: A Journal of New Writing (Issue 12: Summer 2007)
The full version is available at: www.wordforword.info
CONTACT / GUIDELINES
Word For/ Word is seeking poetry, prose, poetics, criticism, reviews, and visuals for issue #13. We read submissions year-round, but the deadline for issue #13 is February 1, 2008. Please direct queries and submissions to:
Word For/ Word
Submissions should be a reasonable length (i.e., 3 to 6 poems, or prose between 50 and 2000 words) and include a biographical note and publication history (or at least a friendly introduction), plus an SASE with appropriate postage for a reply. A brief statement regarding poetics, process, praxis or parole is encouraged, but not required. Please allow one to three months for a response. We will consider simultaneous submissions, but please let us know if any portion of it is accepted elsewhere. We do not consider previously published work.
Email queries and submissions may be sent to:
Email submissions should be attached as a single .doc, .rtf, .pdf or .txt file. Visuals should be attached individually as .jpg, .gif or .bmp files. Please include the word "submission" in the subject line of your email.
Word For/ Word acquires exclusive first-time printing rights (online or otherwise) for all published works, which are also archived online and may be featured in print anthologies. All rights revert to the authors after publication in Word For/ Word; however, we ask that we be acknowledged if the work is republished elsewhere.
Word For/ Word is open to all types of poetry, prose and visual art, but prefers innovative and post-avant work with an astute awareness of the materials, rhythms, trajectories and emerging forms of the contemporary. Word For/ Word is published biannually in the Summer and Winter.
SELECTIONS FROM ISSUE 12
not a bite. a sick and bent syllable, an oath taken tragic and rash. not even a drunken louse's swollen stitches, a strong note held on the peak of Known Rock, not a partner's trumped hand nor silvery fetid fish skins, not a village-ragged dog, a forced and muddy filth-stream climbing the top of my old boot--it will soak me--not this. not three days of sea dreams in a burnt white hospital bed. not a song. not a woman. no black-berries, no. not any wild freak-will.
nothing much to tell, but a tale of love beat-bloody suffocated on the ocean's floor.
death-greed. like boring sleep its patience flattens thick across a traveler's means.
hides in the telling, any child can see, in the once-upon-a-vile-road, in thus-our-golden-
music. and scenery shifting behind them unnoticeable. we're alive they say and this is fuel. moribund rancor. vicious diction. it's a game we don't agree on the scoring. the generic thrash wildly, the neutral screech wheelies. one corner slacks and rounds to fulfill the spheric plan. slogans fume across the field: intuit this. bastardize precious in '04. sicken it. miniature powerhouses fuse the air and dictate hail, rain—this is the proportion. we'll wait for intricacy to weave us anew.
Blue glass representing light sent back from particles in waves
One can see through what the window is aimed at
(she pushes at or holds up the embankment)
Fine sand: solder
The abstract as explanation of rain in threaded streams on a tilted surface as per prediction
Whether we think we have swum here before
From the Introduction: “a veritable ocean of gratitude, outpourings, etc.”
(she stalks off)
“You don't need to know things”
wrote the principal investigator
referencing the disciplines
microbiology and crystalline geology.
Things are in flux.
responsible for nearly all that one sees. Lunch
equations teeter and take on ballast, dump some over
to recreate the terraced landscapes we associate with geothermal springs, falls.
Rainfall amounts up.
Experiment one (pictures were taken)
They made a model.
It matched up well with reality
like: a duck and a bus. Thus, in terms of success, a modicum.
But, it was cautioned, “more work needs to be done.”
Life in concert with death, for example, rates of deposition tied to rates of withdrawal.
How this is likewise a dance
you might entertain proposals of
at the next coincidence.
Here, have a smoke and mirror.
“O, I don't really know”
Experiment two (the several models hypothesis)
One, says Jenny (hurricane), will hit here X on the dot
with force equivalent to blank megatons and excess. Or not.
Another, clinging to the idea its offshore platform was built
from molecules (scratch),
blueprints atomic weaknesses nicely.
Thirdly, I should like to talk about butterflies, shell games, aleatorics.
“Let's just enjoy”
in which small streams are braided and run like rainways coursing a window pane,
where it is asked: What's,
if anything, the angle, flow, viscosity needed to set up continuous offset (skew).
Everyone plots a solution and courses a mile with it in their shoes,
the parameters chosen according to the authors.
Do this do that. Grabbing, in the case of thus, one's hat.
What I remember from my study guide:
It's a formula, the body as planet as body.
; stoichiometry is one part art, two parts math.
Complex colonies of bacteria camp in human hair, but those unicellulars also live in the geyser's sulfuric curve.
Low mass means less life retention. No atmosphere. Too smooth to stay that way. Cue the eruptions, quakes. Then, geological death; no energy to crank.
Fat people make better planets because they have gravitational pull. Large iron core. Magnetic fields blocking solar wind.
High metallicity in their stars, spitting off sparks, proplyds, secrets of the Drake equation.
The notion of a habitable zone may have to be expanded or discarded as too restricting.
The Fermi paradox refutes astrobiology's assertion that I'm hot, and extrasolar bodies grow sexier every day.
Poets consider themselves habitable, unaware they're the most hostile environments.
(for Palácios da Silva)
the stone accompanies
the image grows, accompanies
the night keeps:
the house remains on its feet—
I design a plan,
should I photograph everything?
for the first time
I descend to the place where the earth
the water corrects everything
a single loquat tree stood
the key placed on top of the table
this afternoon—a ship
the door disappeared—with the night
on the return road
and inside of its design
Craig Santos Perez
Review of clutch: hockey love letters (Tinfish Press, 2002) by Sawako Nakayasu
Sawako Nakayasu’s clutch: hockey love letters embodies the movement, unexpected angles, and near violence of both hockey and love. In relation to these themes, Nakayasu explores the variable denotations of “clutch”: (as verb) to grip something tightly, to grab hold of something; (as noun) control and influence, a crucial moment in a critical situation; (as adjective) dependable or accomplished. Each poem develops the tension inherent in the word “clutch” and funnels this tension into the eroticized forces of sport.
Reflecting this dynamism, the chapbook takes on two forms: long lines sprawling across the page and short condensed lyrics. The latter are contained within brackets, giving them the look of a hockey puck:
Nakayasu’s “quick eyes” curve and extenuate through the “speeden’d” syntax of perception. The rhythm wraps “arounding” and attempts to hold, when the whistle sounds, the “andlessness” and “fastdoor” of the play:
The subtle moment when “gloves” opens to “loves” hints at the complex relationship Nakayasu sketches between love and hockey. The sport, as metaphor, becomes a site for love’s volatile emotions while also representing the poet’s real love for hockey (in the dedication, Nakayasu sends “hockey love” to the San Diego Hockey Players, Puckheads, and Gino & the Providence Lady Reds, among others).
Although I’m always weary when a poet shifts formal gears in such a short chapbook, Nakayasu manages to move from these “shorter breath” localities into longer, sprawling prose poems. In “Long Distance Hockey”, the desire abstracted in the above poems becomes fleshed through a manic narrative:
The intimate tone of this poem creates an emotional depth in “clutch”. Although we are never given the exact relationship of the “I” and the hand she holds, we acutely feel the tension of not being able to “let it go”. The “forces of time and memory” seem to be what the poet clutches with a convincing fragility:
We played a game of hockey today on the floor and as I picked myself up for the first time this year, it struck me that. Oh, pain is relative when your goalie is involved, but not when there are ex’s, lost ones, floating pucks and other bruises in assorted colors. I didn’t sub out the whole game through because I was afraid I would never find my way back in.
The clutch of clutch, so to speak, is the title poem, which occupies the final four pages. In this poem, the two aforementioned techniques collide into a dynamic formal exchange: while some lines stretch to the end of the page and continue onto the next page, short lyric stanzas balance and disrupt the horizontal movement. Because it’s impossible to replicate the look of the page in this review, I will only quote one passage to give a sense of its conditions:
Reading this poem becomes a sport for the eyes as the long lines push us horizontally across the page and the stanzas lift us either above or below that space. Through re-reading, I learned it’s impossible to read the poem the same way twice because each reading forces us along different lines of flight and force. Nakayasu translates the “given distance” of desire into a poetic space resembling a hockey rink where our imaginations skate unpredictably from “blue to shining blue line”.
Throughout clutch: hockey love letters, Sawako Nakayasu creates a work in which “breathing never stopped for either of us”. We never learn who the “us” is, but we can’t help but feel the book’s emotional depths. Nakayasu clutches the remnant forces of memory while each poem holds the moment in its clutch. In the end, she proves that she’s clutch at the moment of composition, crafting “those conditions above which allow for multiple necessities of tightened breath.”
Word For/Word: A Journal of New Writing (Issue 12: Summer 2007)