December 12, 2010

Kristen Gallagher & Chris Alexander

Sunday, December 12
7:30 pm

The Waypost
3120 N. Williams Ave.

Kristen Gallagher has a Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo, where she studied in the Poetics Program. She currently teaches Creative Writing at City University of New York. Her most recent book We Are Here is due out in December 2010.

Chris Alexander's work has been described as "selective large-scale appropriation" that focuses on the presentation of cultural artifacts (fan writing and promotional materials, novels and soap operas) and on technical and sub-technical discourse (phone books, US Patent Office documents, machine translations). Most recently, he was involved in the production of 七受控詞表和2004年訃告 (EDIT, 2010), a four-volume series of machine translations that rendered Tan Lin's Seven Controlled Vocabularies in fractured Chinese and then returned it to English. His first book of poetry, Panda, is forthcoming from Truck Books. You can view an online distribution of the Panda archive here. Alexander's current work, 68826567857665, involves using a computer program to translate Bram Stoker's Dracula into ASCII code. He works as an Assistant Professor of English at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, NY.


Nature is not natural and that is natural enough.
                    -- Gertrude Stein

collect features
collect surprises
collect yourself
like stones and hills

on the website it is
"a living museum"

variety is
the timing
of the park
shrubs                     demarcated

pulling the tensions that animate
the plant
shape its
radically de-natured

O Nineteenth Century --
Is the timing
of the botanical
garden plants
and shrubs really
more pleasing
than the room full
of stuffed dead animals

  [a bus pulls off]

A voice from nowhere:
"You can't sit over here on this grass."
[security guard approaches]
"Where can we sit?" "Cherry Lane"
"You're not allowed to sit on this grass."

nearby neighborhood park
trash and dog shit
the city presents so many hard lines and rigid structures
it is very important to experience the city
the garden does that too but the visibility of that is not as immediate
presenting the natural but by virtue of the city
it is very important to experience the garden
the collection of softening features
as long as you mostly only look at them
the security guard points us out
it is very important to experience the gift shop

Kristen Gallagher

from Panda

A panda who embarks on a "hero's journey" à la the Shaw Brothers classic "Master Killer." A Panda who has a goose for a father. A rude panda barging in and demanding to learn kung fu. A panda who trains hard to become wise, fearless, and talented--not to lose weight. A panda whose fatness is not represented in a body positive way. A panda who can pull himself up by those good old Horatio Alger bootstraps and do it all by himself. A panda who, when he saw cookies, he did whatever he could to get to the cookies--he acted, he didn't think. That action is what makes the difference. A panda whose whole ancient China thing worked really well I thought. A panda designed to capitalize on a growing Chinese-world marketplace with a story set in an uncontroversial ancient China and featuring the one uniquely Chinese export that Westerners love--acrobatic martial arts. A panda who brings a profound free market message that I could not only relate to, but actually almost choked me up. A panda who expresses the Buddhist-Eastern surrender to fate and acceptance of powerlessness. "You can plant a peach seed, but no matter what you want it to be, it will be a peach tree." Fine. A panda who's pretty much a washout. A hopeless panda loser that goes from zero to hero in about one day of intense training. A panda doing Kungfu, very mediocre. A panda who fails when he tries to adapt to the accepted forms of Kung Fu. A big fat panda who treats it like a joke. 一只又肥又笨的熊猫,根本不把功夫当回事 。 A panda who the villian could have turned into paste. A panda who is rooted in our I-wish-I-were-that-cool society. A panda who is a lazy emotional eater. 那熊猫永远无法完成自己的使命 。A panda who is mocked by his condescending peers. A panda the other animals badger into giving up. (That panda will never complete his mission.)(It is not a panda.) A panda who is not even modeled on a live panda.

Chris Alexander