“the New Organic”

KFB REVIEW

CHLOROSIS  MICHAEL FLATT and DERRICK MUND
The Operating System, 2018

 

I can’t say I’m well acquainted with the independent literary scene outside Canada, but over the past few years, a small press from Brooklyn really stood out for me. The Operating System has managed to wow me over and over again with a wide selection of poetry from across the globe. Their publications have been consistently enthralling and beautifully designed, often packaged with an essay or two and a short interview with the author in the end. Whilst browsing their most recent publications, a single book stood out due to its personal significance to my past.

See, I grew up in an overpopulated metropolis in a third-world country. I was born in a small room whose outer wall was separated from a five-lane motorway by a single chain-link fence. The cacophony of motor vehicles and the toxic sediments from their exhaust pipes slowly became integrated into my sense of “Home” and “Sanctuary”; a feeling that I can never get from the sound of waves at the beach.

In their new book Chlorosis, Michael Flatt and Derrick Mund (pictured above, from here onwards F&M) aimed to dismantle certain flaws in our contemporary rhetoric. As modern humans, we’re surrounded by cement walls and technology. We wake up for work, commute in a steel box, breathe in exhaust smoke, wallow in garbage and then get back to our house where an HD reimagination of “Nature” might be projected.

The problem with a box

Is you can sell it

With a security-camera view of the mountains’ tracts

With the last recorded portion of our voice

In an essay towards the end of the book, F&M argue that we’ve been forced into false binaries about the world around us, forcing a schism between “Nature” and manmade structures and institutions. We’ve divided our lives into two distinct modes of life: sanctuary in “nature” and misery in the midst of anthropocentric waste.

Through Chlorosis, F&M aim to find a new way to communicate the increasing sense of helplessness towards catastrophes of greater magnitude. F&M trust contemporary poetry’s capacity to “Serve as an ideal site for radical interplays between textual disciplines” and through their book, they aim not to act as yet another book of ideological documentary, but as a source to “innovate new modes of intellectual engagement”.

When asked about the role of a poet in our society, F&M answer “The poet’s role might be to help people tune into frequencies they’re missing”.

Chlorosis paints a quite unique picture. Through this book we see nature in the city and the city in nature, we see solitude in multitudes, watch our biological functions fade into industry, into capital. We breathe in the toxicity and filter it through our bodies, struggling to articulate our ineptitude to articulate. Through our cities we explore the outdated ideals of singular selves

Biological ontology is the atomization and proliferation of a self still constituted as singular.

And little by little we assimilate into the geo-carnal truths of our society.

It is a matter of course, and as such is interpolated into the New Organic, an alloy of geobodily affect and neuroatmospheric chemistry.

Wandering the streets of our metropoli, consuming and consumed, we witness the Chlorosis.

Go ahead, we already know your jaundiced roar. We already know we were born to be incubated. We already know we’re the children that don’t live long enough to be named.

And as we leave behind our archaic ways and merge with the New Organic, we pave new paths to the mind. The once-grotesque landscapes of industry take on new meaning, morph into poetic expression in front of our eyes. Through throbbing veins of technology we explore our bodies, and through our flesh we explore the implications of industry and capital.

There remains the positive entropy of human embrace, the predictable ebbs and flows of sensory pleasure. The heat exchanged in language is now diffuse, but you’re right, it would be cold to call these simply resource inputs.

We are as much a part of nature as we’ve have always been, and embracing the biology of our pulsating cities we embrace multitudes around us with poetry, one line at a time.

HEAR MICHAEL FLATT HERE with TRAVIS SHARP DECEMBER 7TH

KHASHAYAR MOHAMMADI IS AN IRANIAN-BORN WRITER/TRANSLATOR BASED IN TORONTO, CURRENTLY AN EDITOR AT INSPIRITUS PRESS. THEIR MOST RECENT PUBLICATION IS MOE’S SKIN (ZED PRESS, 2018). DEAR KESTREL IS BEING PUBLISHED BY KNIFE | FORK | BOOK SPRING 2019.

Our 2nd

kfb2

KFB turns 2.
2 nights of extraordinary.

KFB FRIDAYS | OCT 5TH

LAMEES AL ETHARI From the Wounded Banks of the Tigris SHELLY HARDER Remnants AMANDA JERNIGAN The Temple SANDRA RIDLEY Quell (and ANNE-MARIE TURZA Slip Minute, not in attendance) BASELINE PRESS TORONTO LAUNCH

and KATE SUTHERLAND Beasts of the Sea KFB LAUNCH


SATURDAY OCT 6TH

NEIL SURKAN ON HIGH (McGill-Queens UP) TORONTO LAUNCH with Special Guest Poets CASSIDY MCFADZEAN PRATHNA LOR and NOOR NAGA

knife | fork | book
at The Dark Side Studio | 244 Augusta Avenue | 2nd Floor | Kensington Market | Toronto

Doors 6:30 Poetry 7
Access: We are a second floor walk-up with two all-gender washrooms. Please remove your shoes upon entrance.

MAC CORMACK MCCAFFERY TONIGHT

KFB FRIDAYS | TONIGHT

KAREN MAC CORMACK 
RECHELESSE PRATTICQUE (Chax Press, Tucson/Victoria, 2018)

STEVE MCCAFFERY 
CERTAIN WORDS (above/ground 2018)

TORONTO LAUNCH

knife | fork | book
at The Dark Side Studio | 244 Augusta Avenue | 2nd Floor | Kensington Market | Toronto

Doors 6:30 Poetry 7
Purchase both titles tonight at a special launch price: $30 CDN
Access: We are a second floor walk-up with two all-gender washrooms. Please remove your shoes upon entrance.
KAREN MAC CORMACK is the author of more than a dozen books of poetry, most recently RECHELESSE PRATTICQUE (Chax Press, Tucson/Victoria, 2018). Other titles include AGAINST WHITE (Veer Books, London, 2013), TALE LIGHT: New & Selected Poems 1984–2009 (BookThug, Toronto, 2010) and Implexures (Chax Press, Tucson/West House Books, Sheffield, 2008). Her poems have appeared in a number of anthologies including Moving BordersOut of EverywhereAnother Language, and Prismatic Publics. Her texts have been translated into French, Portuguese, Swedish and Norwegian. An extended interview with her appears in Scott Thurston’s Talking Poetics (Shearsman, 2011). Of dual Canadian/UK citizenship she currently lives in the USA and teaches at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Poet and scholar STEVE MCCAFFERY was born in Sheffield, England. He received his B.A. from Hull University, his M.A. from York University, and his Ph.D. in English from SUNY at Buffalo. He is a scholar, poet, and performer whose wide-ranging influence is especially present in concrete and sound poetry. His numerous books of poetry include the full-length collections Modern Reading: Poems 1969–1990 (Writers Forum, 1991), Seven Pages Missing: Selected Texts Volume One (Coach House Press, 2001) and Volume Two (Coach House Press, 2002), Verse and Worse: Selected and New Poems of Steve McCaffery 1989–2009 (Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2010). Together with bpNichol, he edited Sound Poetry: A Catalogue for the Eleventh International Sound Poetry Festival (Underwhich Editions, 1978) and Rational Geomancy: The Kids of the Book-Machine: The Collected Research Reports of the Toronto Research Group 1973–1982 (Talonbooks, 1992). He is acknowledged as one of the founding theoreticians of Language Poetry and his extensive scholarship is represented in numerous publications, including the books Imagining Language: An Anthology, edited with Jed Rasula (MIT Press, 1998), North of Intention: Critical Writings 1973–1986 (Roof Books, 1986), Prior to Meaning: The Protosemantic and Poetics (Northwestern University Press, 2001), and The Darkness of the Present: Poetics, Anachronism and the Anomaly (University of Alabama Press, 2012). Among his many rewards and acknowledgements, McCaffery has twice received the Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative North American Poetry, the Dora Mavor Moore Award in theater and has been nominated twice for Canada’s Governor General’s Award. He is currently the David Gray Chair of Poetry and Letters at SUNY Buffalo (a position previously held by Robert Creely and Charles Bernstein).