The Operating System


For this, the 6th Annual iteration of our beloved Poetry Month 30/30/30 series/tradition, I asked four poets (and previous participants) to guest-curate a week of entries, highlighting folks from their communities and the poets who’ve influenced their work.
I’m happy to introduce Janice Sapigao, Johnny Damm, Phillip Ammonds, and Stephen Ross, who have done an amazing job gathering people for this years series! We’re so excited to share this new crop of tributes with you. Hear more from our four guest editors in the introduction to this year’s series.
Hungry for more? there’s 150 previous entries from past years here! You should also check out Janice’s piece on Nayyirah Waheed, Johnny’s piece on Raymond Roussel, Phillip’s piece on Essex Hemphill, and Stephen’s piece on Ronald Johnson’s Ark, while you’re at it.
This is a peer-to-peer system of collective inspiration! No matriculation required.
Enjoy, and share widely.

– Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, Managing Editor/Series Curator [/blockquote][/box]
The community of poets and scholars convened here for the OS’s National Poetry Month has never existed, as far as I know, in the same geographical or electronic space. Yet I’m moved to see that the members of this new community (excluding the New Yorkers) all hail from the places I’ve lived that mean the most to me: Montreal, the UK Midlands, North Carolina, Georgia. I canvassed old friends and new acquaintances, as well as friends of friends, to contribute to this year’s Poetry Month, and am delighted to find how meaningfully the contributions resonate with each other. These mutually reinforcing energies are not simply a matter of aesthetic and/or political affinities between the poet-scholars and their poets, but emerge from each contributor’s recognition and appreciation of the particulars of their chosen poet. 

Contributions by Charles Gonsalves (on Barbara Guest), Sarah Huener (on Eileen Myles), and Aaron Goldsman (on Tommy Pico) span three generations of what some might still be pleased to call the New York School–which generation are we on now? Other contributors attend to the limits of poetics: Klara DuPlessis reflects eloquently on Anne Carson’s (de)creative refusal to finish a book, while Zohar Atkins ponders William Bronk’s endless rewriting of the same poem. Aaron Belz’s tribute to Robert Bly’s translations of César Vallejo speaks to the winding, unpredictable process of poetic influence.
Stephen Ross is a literary scholar, translator, and editor. He earned his PhD in English from the University of Oxford in 2013 and is a founding editor of the literary web-journal, Wave Composition. With Ariel Resnikoff, he is working on the first-full length translation and critical edition of Mikhl Likht’s Yiddish modernist long-poem, Processions. He is a contributing editor for The Operating System’s Unsilenced Texts series, and also co-editor with Dr. Alys Moody of the forthcoming anthology, Global Modernists on Modernism (Bloomsbury, 2017), a 190,000-word sourcebook that draws on a large archive of historical materials — statements, manifestos, letters, prefaces, introductions, hybrid works, etc — by modernist practitioners across the arts, with a special focus on untranslated, poorly disseminated (in English), and ‘forgotten’ texts. His current book project is a study of modern American poetics and objecthood.


Final 2017 Poem in Ottawa.jpg-large
Sonnet L’Abbe first caught my attention at the 2012 Convergence On Poetics at the University of Washington Bothell’s where she gave a presentation, “The Nervetree”: Ronald Johnson’s Metaphor of Embodied Mind.” We struck up a correspondence and I discovered we were both working on sonnets, and more particularly Shakespeare’s.
Her project Sonnet’s Shakespeare or Colonized Sonnets is a long term one in which she “colonizes” each of Shakespeare’s sonnets “by crowding” to act as a metaphor for how Canada was colonized and native people were divided.
An Excerpt, from CVIII
[blockquote]Watch out for fake poetry. It plants ideas in the brain. It’s shape-think. It may fake the character of woo, so deep, but this phony speech hates the right knowledge. Its figury attitude to the correct mastery of true spirit whets stupid sympathies. Real news is for us to speak. Whinewashers don’t know how to register right what may be expressed. What dummy says love? Or says that daydreamers merit anything? Nothing, sweet boy, that them dharma bums try should get likes. [/blockquote]
(in The Town Crier, Puritan Magazine)
Sonnet’s methodology for composition is a marvel, in its metaphor of reconfiguring the Shakespeare. She is in the midst of writing within and between the words and letters, adding to them to make a completely different poem. What’s even more is how she is using the form to comment and riff on the loaded issues of the day.  Elaine Scary’s new book she speculates that the beloved’s names may be hidden within Shakespeare’s sonnets. Sonnet is doing something radically akin to that – creating a new version of the poem with hidden codes within as generative puzzle heart.
On January 26th of this year we performed together at Vivo Media Arts in Vancouver.
thirstDays No. 12 Ooooszchhhhhht t shuffle klopp shshhhchglugluglushh
Curated by Elisa Ferrari + Stacey Ho
Here is a brief description of what we did there:
Another act of insertion in performance was enacted by Lee Ann Brown and SonnetL’Abbé’s : SONS : SONNET : SONG : SONIC, described by the artists as a “colonization of text” — an erasure through crowding so that
[blockquote]That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold[/blockquote]

[blockquote]Tradition has it sonnets’ aims are to glorify love, and lovers. Then how must my forays into these lines make us beholden? When I originally conceptualized this colonization, Will’s leavings were just source, just canon fodder for my fearlessness. My war-like, dominant hankering set upon those poems’ boughs a weight, inch by inch, to reshape and fork their meaning for my gain.[/blockquote]

In song accompanied by guitar or recitation, Brown and L’Abbé explore and expand the sonnet form, responding to Shakespeare’s depiction of flowery love or, as in the above example, using the sonnet to reflect upon the process and implications of “colonizing” text. The presentation took up the sonnet as a sonic experience that acts differently upon us that reading text.
For full article on the performance see
[box]Here are some links to explore more of her Colonized Sonnets completed so far:
[textwrap_image align=”left”][/textwrap_image]I am really loving this book project as well as her recent chapbook, Anima Canadensis.
Sonnet now lives and works in Vancouver, British Columbia at the University of Vancouver. She has published two books of poetry, A Strange Relief and Killarnoe, and was also the guest editor of the 2014 edition of Best Canadian Poetry. Her chapbook, Anima Canadensis was published by Junction Books in 2016. Her twitter feed rocks as does her POETRY! Watch for more from Sonnet L’Abbe!
[textwrap_image align=”left”][/textwrap_image] Lee Ann Brown was born in Japan and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. She attended Brown University, where she earned both her undergraduate and graduate degrees.She is the author of Other Archer, which also appears in French translation by Stephane Bouquet as Autre Archere (Presses Universitaires de Rouen et du Havre, 2015),  In the Laurels, Caught (Fence Books, 2013), which won the 2012 Fence Modern Poets Series Award, as well as Crowns of Charlotte (Carolina Wren Press, 2013), The Sleep That Changed Everything (Wesleyan, 2003), and Polyverse (Sun & Moon Press, 1999), which won the 1996 New American Poetry Competition, selected by Charles Bernstein.
Brown has held fellowships with Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Yaddo, Djerassi, the MacDowell Colony, the International Center for Poetry in Marseille, France, and the Howard Foundation. In 1989, Brown founded Tender Buttons Press, which is dedicated to publishing experimental women’s poetry. She has taught at Brown University, Naropa University, Bard College, and The New School, among others. She currently divides her time between New York City, where she teaches at St. John’s University, and Marshall, North Carolina. more here: [line]
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