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Refusing to Settle: Gina Myers on j/j hastain

By Harriet Staff

Gina Myers reviews j/j hastain’s long past the presence of common (Say It With Stones 2011) for PANK Blog, writing that the work is an “an attempt to establish what it means to be a ‘cyborgian gender'” and brings together “fragments of lyric poetry, theoretical prose, and visual art focused on the body and moving past the limitations of the common.” More:

Ultimately, what is communicated throughout the collection is possibility. hastain creates a poetics of possibility, both through what is said and how it is said. We see an investigation into the self and the myriad possibilities of the self:

to be in love with the opened box

revealing reams of             possible

Further, the language cascades across the page and constantly builds and riffs on itself, generating more and more possibilities. It’s an inclusive and loquacious poetry.

The idea of motion and movement is also central to this collection. hastain writes:

as bodies        we are a poetics of movement

The body is in motion and so is the author’s sense of self. Because this is a project about possibilities and exploration, it is impossible for it to arrive at a clear conclusion. Instead, the author is more interested in yearning, shifting, and refusing to settle. There is a sense that this is a poetics and a philosophy still in development—that it’s still taking form, shape-shifting, like the body itself, which is, as hastain quotes Tatsumi Hijikata, “tranform[ing] itself endlessly.” Perhaps this is what hastain means by “a poetics of movement”–a poetics that refuses to be pinned down, a poetics that is transforming itself endlessly.

Read the full review here.

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Posted in Poetry News on Thursday, November 8th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.