To begin ...

As the twentieth century fades out
the nineteenth begins
it is as if nothing happened
though those who lived it thought
that everything was happening
enough to name a world for & a time
to hold it in your hand
unlimited.......the last delusion
like the perfect mask of death

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Amy Catanzano: Four Poems toward a Quantum Poetics

Notes on the Enclosure of Notes

We were free like fixed stars.
They fall beneath me.

I do not move; we are free to clear the space with these
stars. Space clears the stars from my eyes.
They are moving, and we

are free to fix the stars. They move
without falling. We are falling

and free. We are free

to make a spell with the stars.

Space is free; I populate
the space with stars. We fall beneath them like the sea.
We clear the sea
of its space.

We are free; the sea is free. The sea
is fixed. The sea has


I am fixed by the falling stars.

We clear the space from our eyes so that all we see
are the stars. The sea moves.

It is populated with words; the sea falls like a star.
We are free to clear the words
from our eyes.

They do not move. Words are not fixed

stars. I am free in the sea. I am free like the words
falling; nothing

is fixed. We populate the words in our eyes
with stars; we fall with them in space

up from the sea, free.

[Originally published in Multiversal (Fordham University Press, 2009)]

“…SCIENCE with a capital SCYTHE!”
In honor of Alfred Jarry’s “The Supermale”

The Supermale’s
solid tear is worn

in the ring like a
perpetual heart

of both the machine
and the woman

who fell in love
with the man

’shadow, neither
immaterially nor

infinitely but
indefinitely, a god-

-dess embracing
past light records

in proximity to
the other starlike

world they create—
the department

of the impossible—
I, too, adore

The Becoming of Memory

How does anything shimmer beyond its borders? I found courage in the parody of my theory of the machine. That’s how singularities end, Aletheia thinks. Speculatively. As long as I hold on to it you will write me. I will be borderless for you, and you, in return, will border me.

Once across, she focuses on her goal, performing the experiment from the inside out. Hours in, she hears a voice behind her.

Away in the world, the voice hums.

Aletheia turns around. Something emerges from near the largest of her test tubes.

Unlike Aletheia it did not need a name. Its gravity was strong. It resisted the idea of its final form, and this pleased it. But it was dangerous. Whereas Aletheia was narrow it was one of many, a ghost from the inner colonies, as when implicating something, it would ask, what divides the world from the war? Using the land we know.

It’s been too long, Aletheia says, speaking to it through space.

It reads and responds in a close dialect. I thought we weren’t concerned with time anymore, it grins.

You got me there.

It notices Aletheia’s predicament. You’re unconcealed, it says.

That’s why I need to find Epoché.

It nods. I’m headed to the temporary autonomous zones. I imagine you haven’t been there, to the surveillance ruins? Can I bring you back anything? it laughs.

Aletheia relaxes. I’ve heard about the temporary autonomous zones, she says. Like you, they are something of a legend.

They are entryways, it admits.

The government’s physics, she whispers.

Aletheia knew deep inside the planet in her mind that a forest was always clearing. The surveillance ruins were no place for her. She needed to find Epoché. So they would join forces against the war. If they hadn’t already. This would require an extropian’s perspective.

And everything that is detected, like art, it interrupts. It assembles the space so that she can read between its lines.

We will split the unsuspecting flatlanders right in half! Aletheia declares, then shifts her gaze to the crowns of semperviviams nesting the doorway. Nearby, the quilled chrysanthemums bloom spherically, sprayed, and thread-petaled. Even out of focus, I prefer the cornflower or blue bottle, like the beloved music from an instrument you once knew and played.

[From “Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella”]

This is the Value of Inquiry

Blissymbols were a plausible language
to some but not all. So he
went to his library.
Something replicated.
He examined features.
Some petals grew into portals.
But he didn’t stop at symmetry.
Not this time.
Limbs produced the rarest results.
But he needed something else.
That would work day or night.
Change on their own.
And keep up.
In clumps.
Sometimes legibly.
Like organs, they were internal.
They grew larger.
Into scales.
One scale was blue.
Another orange.
Some flames were green.
Still others were without color.
And others with all.
His favorite color was the vowel.
Her favorite vowel was the atom.
His favorite atom was the rhythm.
Her favorite rhythm was the prism.
His favorite prism was the violet.
Her favorite violet was the lyric.
His favorite lyric was the logic.
Her favorite logic was the toxic.
His favorite toxic was the vertex.
Her favorite vertex was the tonic.
His favorite tonic was the cortex.
Her favorite cortex was the planet.
To his delight, it seemed to be
working. The ocean was getting
louder. Aletheia and Epoché
would soon arrive.

[From “Starlight in Two Million: A Neo-Scientific Novella”]

N.B. Amy Catanzano’s seminal essay on Quantum Poetics appeared earlier in Poems and Poetics – in two installments, here and here. Her latest book of poems, Multiversal, received a 2010 PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry.


Ed Baker said...


this line "grabbed my 'me'"

"As long as I hold on to it you will write me. I will be borderless for you, and you, in return, will border me."


to look up

-Alethia (sounds like a Poe Muse's 'name)

-Epoche (sorry about the accdent I suspect EPOCH
=s Epic or how I've used it E-pic)

- extropian


then off to to see if her work is available other-wise then via that kindle ..... BS

thanks for all you do.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ed Baker: thanks for your response! My use of Aletheia, a Greek word usually translated as “truth,” comes from Heidegger--he retranslates the word as “unconcealedness” in Poetry, Language, Thought. “Epoché” is a Greek word for the suspension of belief in the real world. The selections you reference come from my novella-in-progress, where Aletheia and Epoché, through physical, linguistic, and psychic environments, attempt to stop a war. Written almost entirely in prose, the novella aims to explore narrative strategies while analyzing one of its more overt subjects: poetry…

Amy Catanzano

Anonymous said...

nice dialog seems to be coming through you
I aussi frequently

suspend belief in the real world
or, vicer-versa...

it s so .... sinusoidal.

and Aletheia is also "her" verity

as for Heidegger about as important to everything as anyboddhi can get/has gotten

do you realize he died in 1976


as I am not as into specificity as you (seem to be) are

I would not use " semperviviams"
but, rather
"some succulants"

thanks for the thanks Amy

and do tell

what does "Catanzano" translate to/ mean?


Anonymous said...

Ed, for me Epoché sometimes involves smooth repetitive oscillations, sometimes not. &: How can you resist semperviviums next to chrysanthemums? Either way I like star-shaped rosettes! I hear there’s a place in Italy called CatanzaRo. When I visited the small town where my grandfather grew up, between Rome and Naples, there were throngs of Catanzanos in the phone book. My favorite was named “Fantasia.” If she were a character in my novella I might have her occupy the I.


Anonymous said...

took the train down through there

1958 then from Rome > Napoli > Brindisi then a
"last-class" steerage boat-ride to

then int the rocks-around Lindoz for about a year...

had I met "Fantasia" in Italy I most likely would have
(...) and (...)

I betcha a cold ooozoooh that Catanzano means
something like

"black cat that has green eyes"


Anonymous said...

Maybe, too, “blackgreenthatcathaseyes”?

Translation: How does ed baker translate ed baker in ed baker?

In fantasia I might suggest:

this line to lookup
a Poe accdent I E-
pic other-wise
thanks anonymous
vicer-versa on the
specificity through
there int the rocks-


Anonymous said...

Stone Girl translates his name

kokoroariunite (in Jaapaneseeria)

that is (in Enghlish)
Walking Mind


kokoro = s mind/heart
the rest (of the compound nominative) meaning

speaking of "walking"
there IS

that neat book Walks Far A Woman

Laural King's
A Whistling Woman is up to No Good


Myths ARE ACTUALLY fully born
out of reality-of-happen-stances

hit the ground ...walking


as WE all know..

the verb is what gets us from here
to any/all 'others'