Poetry News

The Writing Is Protecting: Ariel Goldberg and Rachel Levitsky on the Writings of Julie Patton

By Harriet Staff

julie patton

At Jacket2, Ariel Goldberg and Rachel Levitsky have posted a new text at "Social Reading": their new space for "conversations about writing that has some urgency to it. This project digs into the political and aesthetic necessity in corresponding on what might be called subaltern, queer, prose, hybrid, or unpublished writing." [YES!] This next piece is all about Julie Patton's writing on the eve of her new chapbook, to be published soon by Belladonna* Collaborative.

This writing on Julie Patton's writing is done from a set of collected but non chronological and selected randomly emails sent or forwarded by Julie Patton to Rachel Levitsky. The emails are various and organized in no particular order here. A more sustained editorial effort by the poet and fiction writer Barbara Henning will support a book length project of Patton's emails, to be published by Belladonna* Collaborative.

Date: August 29, 2013 12:27:51 AM EDT>Rhapsody blue chagrin. on the line music and time. the pattern is justice as measure and >balance, glitz and hallways Send Her Ella and loose lip comedians. Bruce & Pryer must say. >Sammy D would be. Nevertheless reaching for a tango right outside the doors vaudevile and >more. blues in between. Notes, kissing cousins but not one holocaust after another spurred >pilgrimace book bleeding cover to cover mEnding something ancient and lost. Perhaps a split, >Sephardi on the boats to... and more than rumors of slave trader rhythms on the C. lump bus. >Schiz culture dash. jamericas despot queen isabella across the aisle of Liberte' Mist. Torch >songer borscht belting out— a racist's racket, scrunched neck lacing the sea (brought news to >blacks, unwelcome news). They were on their way... To, meet comrades on the other end, link >lyrics, lit, land, lords, Lord, neighbor shoulds, cultural proximity and familarity. When I was a >child, and blacks tended t follow shoes on the way outside the hood fresh en counter Hughes in >relation to Bess's Porgy and all the rest. I can sometimes get inside yr/our brain. As women, >pushy ones at that. Pussy. And on the move.

What flashes up

a full portrait sustained

in the deeply specific

telling me to watch

what is knowing (someone will read something.)

The email is encasing the tenderness of the struggle. It’s part of the form, for convenience to connect, for connecting to not just one person—I'm an outsider to the email chain, tacked on for purpose of further unfolding these as a text, but not as a thing, also it’s own non-critical jump cut. So how do I comment (such a meager term) on an email about being beside your mother as she may be dying (too crude a word). All that can be is silent empathy?

Material makes action possible. Mother's mural physically makes her as person real, makes the doctors care, fight, holds the space of living and dying. The writer, Julie, too, is held by the fact of her mother's painting.

Remembering also makes material. How to slow down, pause a word as strategy.

I fixate on how the email to one person is an email to multiple versions--dead and old email addresses, when someone wants to find you they send to all your versions.

Word mutations are similarly little dictionaries for the context, personally.

Read more of Rachel Levitsky and Ariel Goldberg's writing at Jacket2.

Originally Published: September 4th, 2013