The Summer Local Writers Series features works produced by New Orleans poets and prose-writers as part of NolaVie’s ongoing correspondence with the city’s arts and culture. The writers selected will be drawn from diverse sets of intellects in order to paint a broader picture of the relationship between language and community, art and structure. The series will focus on writing that speaks to these critical relationships.
Most importantly, the series aims to carry on New Orleans’ legacy as a literary entrepôt. We will experiment with various forms of supplemental material, but the center of each feature will be the text. Put simply, the Series seeks to spotlight some of the good writing that’s happening here, and we hope you enjoy it.
SLWS Feature 1: Andy Stallings
Andy Stallings is a poet of the New Poetry. He writes in and out of the vertiginous accumulation of the Modernist influence. Consistent across the work I have read is an aggressive interrogation of language. This necessitates also a confrontation with sound, nation, and self.
Stallings hails from Washington state and holds an MFA from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He is an editor of the literary journal Thermos, with his wife, Melissa Dickey. Both poets teach creative writing at Tulane University, and live in Algiers Point with their two children.
The following four poems are from Andy’s new manuscript, Les Fenětres.
as we are unimportant postures of its libido, when we think of desire we think of the monument.
the other, the one by whom we are entranced as by a melodic cadence, spreads milk-sky beneath us without stint. though he bathes us at matins and at vespers we provide no sanction to his tonguing.
for our hunger rests in the monument.
it is no ordinary tower, that warms us in the fatherly, motherly sweep of hypnotic locution. it knows words (and guides us to them) that are ocean-blown, orgasmic, totem-words.
the briny scent of embarkment broadcasts its skin.
and our longing in autumn’s ferment was indeed immense. come winter we broached the facade and were impaled. once more the flood prepared us for reception, devastation, and again reception. the bare girders received us, the stripped joiners, the gutted churches and alleyways opened for us. in the monument our fertility seemed to be a known thing full of freshness.
O self-fathering body, giver of savage love and institutions for governance! such jurisdiction as magnetizes polar foment and too equatorial drip is the monument’s and now our own.
it is the flush of unexpected sex and the tedium of certain afternoons in childhood when wetness extended its range but withheld invitation.
it is the warmth of entrance and the debris, the random blood, coating the city.
it is the hope that adjourns the fracture repeatedly abolished and reconceived restraining solar from lunar flood, thought from sensation, wholeness from violent death.
maternal abandonment, paternal release, systems of procurement; astral catalogues, market descriptors, time-tables of the south; senses and super-senses, torsions, stillnesses, all:
follow the sweep of its figure where it testifies pan-temporally to visionary torrents commencing and immense pleasure-cities spreading themselves once again to the rake.
You have let light blend you
It diaphragms it drains you
You have allowed the gash of a sunset to drizzle
ragged and rollicking
over your blank
It’s a GUN THERE NOW a CONCUSSIVE we’re in
(Come) cry-like or loom
it’s true the populace venerates your posture
(where did you used to stand?)
lament of the impoverished?
curved solar knife?
can we carve from your side a year’s advertized dose?
a flag to orient departed slogans?
ligaments clavicles inhospitable milks?
where pinioned where bright?
have your gunneries blown?
while proverbs of your source code scaffold the core?
AND YOUR FORCEFIELD WHO KEEPS IT???
when i step into its cache will i rock and roll?
where are your privileged arcades your simple blankets?
were my screenshots your deposit at all?
(of razings of swarms of the scrambling build?)
where is the monument?
the rolled-back tide, the sinew the wire, the serial landing zones?
and cults of the wreath?
of the seventeen screens?
CAN WE GET A PROGRAM to activate dissent?
if we vanquish ancestral foes in the comment thread
are we expected as well to eat them in sacrament?
the excesses THOUGH ETERNAL didn’t last
each more than its antecedent
coined its own critique and blazed aggressively
in the lap
of something like love
like conversation hinging on conversion taps
at a core in the tump-tump-tump of a call
already explaining away the counter-call and its repression
to do with hunger nothing
with lust which
is as everyone knows beside the point
touch me don’t touch me
something else already
there wasn’t even the trace of perception upon me not yet
wreckage desire as its born excretes