Wednesday, February 29, 2012

7th Blogiversary + Poems: giovanni singleton

Two days ago, in fact, marked the seventh anniversary, or blogiversary (or is it blogaversary?), of J's Theater. There are times, usually during the summers, which are always more vivid to me than any other season or part of the year, when 2005, and February 2005 specifically, doesn't seem that distant, and other times when it feels as far away as the summit of K2. I still recall who and what motivated me to start this blog; Bernie Tarver's blogging about sports and life and politics was one spur, and Charles Stephens's accounts of his and his friends' lives was another.

There were many other blogs that I was reading with pleasure too and which inspired me. Some are still around, others are long gone, and there have been more than a few times that I thought this blog would join them in the byteheap of history (save for the ministrations of the Wayback Machine).  Throughout the life of this blog, I have tried to focus mostly on arts and letters, and the political implications of both, and originally I tried to away from big-"P" politics in particular, since so many other blogs were covering that ground.  But that changed in short order, though I have tried to return as often as possible to original emphases of this blog.

I began by blogging by writing a short note about one of my favorite poets, Jay Wright (1935-), always underheralded, extraordinary though he is, and followed shortly upon it with posts about other poets and literary arts, the visual arts, and, also part of the early mix, popular culture.  To that end, I will post two poems by a poet I have known for many years, and whose first book, Ascenscion (Counterpath, 2012), is now available for purchase: giovanni singleton.

giovanni is an editor (her journal nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts has been a pacesetter in terms of publishing innovative writing); a teacher; an administrator; and a poet of sly and powerful wit, who knows who to turn a phrase on its end, and then turn it again. I cannot forget her unforgettable performance of her deceptively simple, deeply erotic little poem "chair" one year at Cave Canem's summer workshops. I swear I couldn't think about chairs the same for weeks after that. So here are two poems by giovanni, from the Woodland Pattern website, which offers a full(er) biography of her.  (Should you ever get to Milwaukee, please do visit Woodland Pattern, which is one of the best bookstores in the country.)

giovanni singleton (Photo by Sarah Collins)
(You can read a conversation between giovanni and poet D. Scott Miller here. You can hear a conversation between giovanni and E. Ethelbert Miller here.)


sitting in a darkened hallway. salt water bodies rock steady. muffled pounding.
the door of no return. is closed and closer. under measured reconstruction.
living seeps through in echoes. stillness outside in. a collective breath persists
without apology. mud stained spoons undulate from shore to distant shore.
then one day walk as if rowing a boat.


        after beauford delaney

dark blue to gold abstraction
patterned figurations
scattered light

        as if you would marry me

abstraction in red
blue light abstraction
abstract of black and gold

        as if we could marry someday

streaked light
cool blue green
red gold black abstracted

        as if we could amaze

Copyright © giovanni singleton, 2011, 2012. All rights reserved.

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