Can you tell that I’m really stoked about The Volta? Oh man, that big wonderful stack of literary goodness founded at the beginning of 2012 by Joshua Marie Wilkinson and Sara Renee Marshall (read a stellar interview with Wilkinson about the project here)! Somehow, I missed this sexy thing (I’m sorry I’m sorry), but now that I know, wow, I’m not going anywhere.
The Volta has so much to offer–new poems, interviews, reviews, videos, manifestos, etc.–all under one hottttt jacket. I spent the entire second half of my Sunday poking around the site. Man, coming at it late was a little overwhelming (major thx to their About page for explaining what the different sections are/the site’s smooth design for making browsing the archives so easy). Below, I’ve plopped some of my favorite pieces from my glorious evening with The Volta. Please, once you’re hooked, as I know is bound to happen, let me know in the comments what your favorite sections or pieces are.
My relationship to the word is anything but scientific, it is a matter of faith on my part, that the word endows material substance, by setting the thing named apart from all else. Horse, then, unhorses what is not horse.
I was partly human partly
waves breaking quiet
on wide tarmacs of conversation
that surged or dimmed
retuning the neighborhood solemn
each tree nodding
off before jolting into readiness
I was holding my neighbors
like deep green
swaths of virgin grain
holding the neighborhood
of whatever new malevolence
might be thwack
I do not experience a natural world as distinct from any other world. Natural—social—symbolic worlds are to my mind expansions and contractions in the same place at the same time, in the moment’s movement from the perceptual to the conceptual. Charles Simic says, “One is neither world, nor language, nor self.” I am one sensing being among a diversity of sensing beings—not all exclusively human. My vagrant subjectivity is given contour, or as Hopkins would say, “instressed,” through its insufficiencies, its searches for reciprocities. I experience these backwards and forwards movements not as checkmarks in a quest for coherence or self-assertion—I experience them as tenuous affirmations of my momentary inherence, of being “kind” in the literal sense of kindred, of belonging to something far beyond my ability to know or name. As Paul Crowther writes in Art and Embodiment,
Otherness is radically transcendent. We can take some hold of it, but there is always more than can be contained in any present moment of perception or sequence of actions…our most fundamental relation to this world is not that of an inner ‘thinking subject’ gazing out upon and ‘external world.’ Rather, we inhere in the sensible.