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translanations one by William R. Howe

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translanations one William R. Howe BlazeVOX [books]

iPod to a postmodern aeolian harp, William R. Howe projects the altered music of Emily Dickinson’s poems through our ear’s buds. His is not a lyric “I,” but the first person of a dyslexic subject at once trapped and transformed by the sounds of a language that perpetually evades him, and us. While his method is ostensibly that of homolinguistic translation, Howe also ventures into synecdoche (“sign that doc”), as when he offers us Dickinson’s line, “I felt siroccos crawl,” as “Eiffel Volkswagens – scrawl --” Like Janet Holmes in THE MS OF MY KIN, Howe discovers our present in Dickinson’s own. Her “The Soul has Bandaged moments --” becomes “These mole his Baghdad ad foments.” One could write the history of America from that bandaged moment to this Baghdad ad. Perhaps this is Howe.

—Susan M. Schultz

Dickinson said that it's poetry if you feel as though the top of your head were taken off. But what if it’s the whole head, down to the shoulders? (Insert Goya image of Saturn and child here.) Howe’s “translanations” are in one sense disfigurations—horrendous manglings that shock not just because of their audacity in taking such liberties with their source texts, but because of the glistening viscera they expose. The body is laid open as the object of both sadistic desire and paralyzing nausea. By going to such an extreme, however, this writing makes a bold plea for the necessary violence of poetic language, and pays due homage to the aggressive assault on the imagination (or the lack thereof?) performed by Dickinson's own verse. Read this with a helmet on.

—K. Silem Mohammad



William R. Howe is an experimental poet, performer, artist and publisher currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Most recently, he is the author/creator of translanations one (BlazeVox 2009), translanations two (forthcoming from Slack Buddha Press 2009) and a series of five chapbooks titled Five for Bern (forthcoming from No Press 2009). He has given performances at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., Soundlab Buffalo, The Ear Inn NYC, Gallery 66 in Washington, D.C., Diverseworks in Houston, TX, and at many other international venues. Involved in contemporary poetry publishing for years, he is the publisher for tailspin press and Crapper Editions, the co-founder and co-editor of Essex Magazine, and co-founder and co-editor of Slack Buddha Press. He teaches Creative Writing, Book Arts, and Literature at Miami University of Ohio.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 120 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 9781935402435

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