Tag Archives: SP CE

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: SP CE, Pt. 3

11 Jul

SP CEbooks’ most recent publication is Kelsey Reifert’s chapbook I am a NarwhalThe collection offers a series of untitled poems strung together as a fragmented narrative about the exploits of a lovelorn narhwhal. The opening section reads:

I am a narwhal
in a movie where I
love a little girl who
has shiny earrings.
She reads stories
to these stuffed
animals and I
hear her through the
floor of the igloo. The
movie we are in will only
be funny to kids. It is
sad for me. I really
want this little girl to
love me and look—she’s
right there.

The poems in Narwhal read like “stories” or a “movie” that, perhaps, “will only / be funny to kids” in the same manner that the Surrealists, as Breton wrote in his “Manifesto of Surrealism,” sought to “turn back toward…childhood which, however [their] guides and mentors may have botched it, still strikes [them] as somehow charming.”

But more than a return to a charming childhood, Narwhal narrates a story of unrequited love with the narwhal-speaker always pining at a distance for the “little girl” in these poems. No more clearly does the trope of impossible love evince itself, than it does in the following fragment found near the conclusion of the chapbook:

The echo-call I yell and yell
keeps bouncing back to me.
No others seem to get it.
I am a narwhal alone
under Arctic water.

“Alone” and calling out for the one he loves, the narwhal’s song “keeps bouncing back” to  him. While his song might not reach the girl of his dreams, readers can certainly hear the “music” as it “booms / on top of the ice.”

Below are two videos of Reifert reading from I am a Narwhal at the SP CE studio in Lincoln, NE last month:

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: SP CE, Pt. 2

10 Jul

Last autumn, SP CEbooks published Rachael Wolfe’s chapbook SauceIn a previous review of the collection, I wrote:

Wolfe’s collection contains eighteen short poems, each of which are titled “Sauce.” But Wolfe makes sure to note that the “very repetition of sauce makes it somewhat meaningless as a title. [Its] function is similar to that of an asterisk or a number or anything else used to separate parts.” To this extent, the chapbook can be read as a sequence of interrelated poems that speak to and against one another… [wherein] the individual poems work as a series of both absurd and witty non sequiturs, keeping readers off-balance through threadbare connections and associative leaps.

The poems, to my mind, are reminiscent of Berrigan’s The Sonnets in their associative leaps, disconnected logic, and the manner in which individual poems converse with one another throughout the entirety of the collection. During my recent visit to Nebraska, Wolfe read an excerpt from SAUCE in the lobby just outside of the SP CE studio in downtown Lincoln:

And speaking of Berrigan, that same evening, Justin Ryan Fyfe, one of the SP CE founders, read his wonderfully titled poem “Give Me Berrigan’s Liver”:

Finally, Mike Knott, another SP CE poet, read his poem “Stheeee”:

Best Thing I’ve Heard This Week: SP CE, Pt. 1

9 Jul

Last December, the Nebraska poet Paul Hanson Clark and I exchanged a few emails about SP CE, which is both an art studio and poetry collective based out of Lincoln, NE. With regard to the origins of the group, Clark wrote:

SP CE was founded by myself, Kyle Crawford, and Justin Ryan Fyfe. We had been doing our writer’s group for a few years, and Kyle thought it would be a good idea to have a more public venue for that, which would also allow us to expand what we were able to do. He put us on the waiting list for a room in Parrish Project, and a few months later the studio that we now occupy opened up.

I didn’t really have any expectations for it, but the idea that has driven me all this time has been to attempt to make poetry a part of the larger Lincoln arts/music/whatever community. Also to be open to anyone/anything.

Soon thereafter, SP CE branched out into the SP CEbooks imprint with the release of limited-edition chapbooks that coincided with a variety of local readings and events. On the expansion into the world of publishing, Clark wrote:

A lot of what we do just happens as a natural result of conversation between a lot of people, but also as a function of one or two people acting autonomously. SP CEbooks came about after a consensus developed that we ought to be doing some kind of publishing. This consensus developed pretty slowly over time, and we did not collectively arrive at “we should do SP CEbooks”; [rather,] we collectively arrived at a general direction to go in. The actual implementation of the SP CEbooks idea, I mean, bringing them into existence, was a process that me and Amanda Huckins spearheaded. I think that is how a lot of things go: collective ideas form slowly over time, and then one or two people take additional initiative to turn them into some sort of reality.

A month ago, I spent an evening with several poets associated with SP CE. This week, I’ll be posting videos from that night. Below are two from the reading (with more to come over the next several days).

Paul Hanson Clark reads “Cough Medicine”:

Amanda Huckins reads “Opening My Other Eyes”: