The Album of Untaken Photos
June's issue of The Lune (No. 13) features Lisette Alonso's The Album of Untaken Photos, a series of lyrical daguerrotypes that expose the passing moment's power and, subsequently, how this power affects every (human) gesture in time and space (life). With alarming grace, Alonso renders the emotional and psychic constitution of almost-memories, instances half-noticed, socially unpreserved yet personally irrefutable. We see the human beings in Alonso's poetry from without while they, as family members, shape each other mysteriously from within. There is a soundlessness to this language that trembles with what's real and readies us for revelation. The Album of Untaken Photos remembers what's been forgotten. The poet Lola Xylophone says this:
“These evocative poems raise important questions about dominion and gender, what it means to be a man, a woman, a wife, a husband―a human creature existing somehow impossibly in this impossible world." (read more)
No. 13 also features the singular cover art of Indigo Deany and a sublime “letter to the moon" poem-series by Brittany Weeks. Now, as promised, I'd like to compound the poetics of this notification by sharing the following meander:
1. The second definition for “poetical" according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary is “being beyond or above the truth of history or nature." It is my conviction that being as such is more deeply within truth than beyond or above it — an “ideal" as the crossroads central to a rhizomic heart-pulse. Which brings me to a rather obscure (and beautiful) theological testament called The Wood by Sister Penelope. She writes: "If you can understand what Western monks from the sixth to the eleventh centuries felt about their plain chant, you have seen what was the secret glory of the dark ages in a hundred spheres."
2. The word “planet" comes from the Greek planetes, from (asteres) planetai "wandering (stars)," from planasthai “to wander," so called because they have apparent motion, unlike the “fixed" stars. “Parallax! (with a nervous twitch of his head) Did you hear my brain go snap? Polysyllabax!" (James Joyce, “Circe," Ulysses). Day and night, one star and many.
3. In composing his autobiography, Mark Twain settled into (“struck") a remarkable compositional strategy: “talk only about the thing which interests you for the moment." What is the difference between memory and testimony? How can we introduce ourselves, beyond names? Is every word a birth? A bolt of lightning? A breeze? A brick?
4. Some of you may know Maria Popova and her outstanding blog, Brain Pickings. Here she explores Donald Winnicott and the mother's contribution to society. A lesser known (and phenomenally contrary) source on a similar subject? Beatrice Hastings, the pseudonymous editor and writer who in the early 1900s criticized restrictive roles for women. Hastings was far greater than Modigliani's portraits. Take a look at her work via the wonderful Unsung Masters Series by Gulf Coast + Pleiades Press.
Yours in the gallop, the jolt, and the crumble of spring.
⎯ Joseph Braun