Sunday, August 7, 2011
44. Aaaaaaaaaaaalice } read.
Aaaaaaaaaaalice, the second single-author collection published by Flim Forum Press, my and Matthew Klane’s poetry press, was favorably reviewed by poet Erika Jo Brown for the Iowa Review.
Jennifer Karmin’s book-length poem was emphatically a yes for Flim. When we first saw cantos from the poem, a submission to Flim’s A Sing Economy, there was no discussion; we took ‘em. That’s not customary. Matthew and I still bear scars from our debates over a good number of the poems that did and didn’t make the Sing cut. Karmin’s cantos were salve. We were similarly of one mind when the full Aaaaaaaaaaalice ms. was sent us.
Brown's review begins by describing the book’s overall aesthetic, and while I can take some credit for the look of our titles, the lion’s share must go to Matthew, who labors over every page in his little basement office. Back then, he was still constructing mock-ups with print-outs and a paper cutter. He not only made mock-ups of the book, but also constructed paper bookshops and paper readers. This of course made for a very strange scene, a bit like a Robert Wilson installation. Matthew’s wife still refuses to go to the basement at night.
Brown also described an Aaaaaaaaaaalice reading:
Karmin distributed slips of printed paper—later revealed to be ribbons from her book—to a crowd of about a hundred people. She invited the group to interject with their given words at any volume, at any interval. Then, she began to recite evenly and energetically. Thoroughly unruffled, her voice seemed to absorb the intrusions that eventually evolved into enrichments.
This is only one form Aaaaaaaaaaalice readings take, but they are always collaborations with the audience. Never, I hasten to add, free-for-alls. Karmin conducts, so even accidents fit. If the opportunity arises, hear her read.