No. 17: T Begley & Olga Broumas
Jamais Vu is a sounding of individual joints and social folds — the phrasal body creaking, the integral body singing its connections, wave after wave, in the particular mode:
like a sail I found myself
in material I could carry
Mneme tremors in the wall-dust of ruined stars. Or we can be literal: Jamais Vu is a series of image and breath-centric lyrics that seek, in the space between voices, the deeper reaches of personal memories, where recollection becomes a reinvention (a re-breathing) of historical figments and figures. From the introduction by april joseph:
"Ancient and (music)noteworthy mystics appear throughout this pureland reminding us of ancestral roots’ voice, of its seekers, seers, mourners and singers. As we sail through the 'hour of revelation' we discover a 'sonar alphabet' and 'two language reservoirs.' (What does your alphabet sing like?) Broumas and Begley ask us to engage in deep play, allowing us to seek the oracle in nature, revealing the imaginary. One reservoir holds a 'hurricane of sound' while the other contains 'bits of god black ribbon | hundreds unseen and outspread on the sand.' We stand on the shore and feel the tide’s call, its pull so alluring, we only sink deeper into shore becoming ocean.The collaboration carefully articulates what is unknown. Broumas and Begley's practice of titration gives us a momentary glimpse of what we do not know and reveals the ghost: '...darkness gathers | this small corner of silence...' We enter unrealized space through their anatomy of poetics — placing awareness on the breath, we rest before we take another step further through."
About the Authors
T Begley is the coauthor of Sappho's Gymnasium, a collected volume of poems, and cotranslator of Open Papers, selected essays of Greek Nobel Laureate, Odysseas Elytis, both with Olga Broumas. Three chapbooks by Begley and Broumas, Unfolding the Tablecloth of God, Helen Groves, and Ithaca, Little Summer in Winter have appeared from Red Hydra Press, Kore Press, and Radiolarian Press. Begley comes from a strong literary and language background. She counts Renaissance Literature, Classical Greek, Latin, and Indonesian among her many studies, which include sojourns in Mexico, Indonesia, and Thailand. Her lyric documentaries of these countries exist as photograph, sculpture, video, and poem.
Olga Broumas was born in Ermoupoli, Greece. She received a Fulbright fellowship in 1967 and immigrated to the United States. Broumas earned her BA from the University of Pennsylvania and MA from the University of Oregon. Her first book to appear in the United States, Beginning with O, won the Yale Younger Poets Award. Her work, which has been described as “Sapphic,” attempts to create a lesbian language attentive to the experiences of women. Her collections of poetry include Soie Sauvage, Pastoral Jazz, Perpetua, and Rave: Poems 1975–1999. Broumas’s collaborative works include Black Holes, Black Stockings, with Jane Miller, and four books with T. Begley. Broumas is a noted translator of the Greek poet Odysseus Elytis and is Professor of the Practice of English at Brandeis University.