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Disappearing Address by Simone Muench and Philip Jenks

Price: $16.00

Disappearing Address Simone Muench and Philip Jenks BlazeVOX [books]

 As darkly luxurious and ferociously driven as either Jenks or Muench is singly, this hydra-headed address is passion squared, an uncanny vesper "scribbled to the abyss” intoned in a duet so tuned as to create a third even more intense, even more longing, even smarter, even sadder, even scarier voice. Though the Gothic cast — Morrissey, Michael Myers, a vampire, a deer on the North Dakota highway that appears like a recurring nightmare “jut-rotted…luring us to the wilderness,” — is glared at with fierce knowing (parlor games put the fun back in funeral here), the attention is sharp, without camp, and soul-piercing.

—Robyn Schiff

“Dear Leatherface,” “Dear Danger,” “Dear Film Noir,” “Dear Chanteuse of the Abattoir for Young Girls” — if you loved Simone Muench’s Orange Crush as much as I did, you’ll recognize in these titles from Disappearing Address the return of her great animating idea: femininity excited by danger.  Muench collaborates with Philip Jenks here to return to the theme in a series of letters to villains from horror films, to abstractions, to icons of pop culture like Morrissey or the high school dance.  The exploded syntax of the letters makes for a kaleidoscope of the sublime and the mundane — Coca-Cola, Pop Rocks, and the Day of Judgment jostle one another in a kind of phantasmagoria.  There’s wit here — “Dear Nothing” begins “why’d you have to cut out & make everything come back,” “Dear Obtuse” begins “Be straight with me” — but the best of the poems revel in novel images and a diction for which the only possible term is “hothouse gorgeous.”

—Robert Archambeau

This collaboration feels entirely seamless, as though it were not a collaboration at all but the work of a single, virtuoso poet with a very broad range of imagery and a finely tuned sense of how diction can coalesce varied materials.  There is some of the surreal bounce we expect of collaboration but very little in the way of bi-polar diffusion or poetic ju-jitzu contending egos can produce.  This is wonderfully contemplative work, and though it's hard to tell when Muench might begin or Jenks end, there is throughout, but particularly in the sequence addressed as letters to poets, a broadened set of concerns about poetry, especially, that these two poets seem to have negotiated in the act of joint (or should I say, mutual) composition. A genuinely wonderful collection.

—Michael Anania

Two poets not only challenge each other to write a poem, but challenge each other for the voice of the poem as well as its place and possession – speech and location being the double meanings of address. This vibrant, loving book opens with “Dear Dear,” an introductory address to each voice acknowledging the presence of the other in the poem and, through the collaboration, the action of each in the other’s processes and practice. The book then proceeds in a collection of epistles through numbered sections called “Rooms,” in which the poets confront or accommodate their co-existence.

Collaboration is only one of the issues challenging the poets. Ronald Johnson’s epigram on the opening fly pages to “invite the eye/ invade the ear” sets the objective of an inextricable bond between eye and ear. The poets persuade each other whether the poem is going to be for the eyes, a descriptive narrative, or is the poem to be a performed event of itself, or will it have both?  The collaboration’s passage through seduction, co-existence, stand-off and outright hostility is echoed in poems about relationships, poems of loss, institutionalization, and some wonderfully fun bitchiness. This makes an exciting poetry of wild and rapid changes for the reader.

The only poem without an addressee is “Haptics, Not Optics.” This is the best statement of both their arguments in one poem, and both artists perform his and her case slyly, beautifully as one. A moment that, for all its sadness, foreshadows the conciliatory calling of the names that ends the work and the address, “I”, reveals its fragments answering to the name.

—Ed Roberson



Simone Muench was raised in small Louisiana towns and the Ozarks in Arkansas. She is the author of The Air Lost in Breathing (Marianne Moore Prize for Poetry; Helicon Nine, 2000), Lampblack & Ash (Kathryn A. Morton Prize for Poetry; Sarabande, 2005), and Orange Crush (Sarabande, 2010). She has been a recipient of a two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, a VSC Fellowship, the 49th Parallel Award for Poetry, the Charles Goodnow Award, the AWP Intro Journals Project Award, the Poetry Center’s Annual Juried Reading Award, and the PSA’s Bright Lights/Big Verse Prize. She received her Ph.D from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and is director of the writing program at Lewis University where she teaches creative writing and film studies. Currently, she serves on the advisory board for Switchback Books and UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry, and is an editor for Sharkforum.

Philip Jenks was born in the south, grew up in Appalachia and came alive in the Pacific Northwest. Now he’s haunting Chicago. His poems have appeared in Chicago Review, Typo, Fence, Cultural Society, H_NGM_N, Canarium, LVNG, and elsewhere. He has published two full-length volumes of poetry, On the Cave You Live In (Flood Editions) and My First Painting will be ‘The Accuser’ (Zephyr Press). He also published two chapbooks – The Elms Left Elm Street (Plane Bukt) and How Many of You Are You? (Dusie, 2006). His collaboration with Simone Muench, Little Visceral Carnival was published by Cinemateque Press, 2009. He also collaborated with Sasha Miljevic, publishing Distance, an ekphrastic hybrid of prose and poetry (Dutch Art Institute, 2009). He recently completed his third manuscript, Colony Collapse.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 82 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 978-1-60964-024-8

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