September 30, 2007

Michael Kelleher & Kathleen Fraser

New American Art Union
922 SE Ankeny

$5.00 suggested donation

Kathleen Fraser has published seventeen books of poems, most recently W I T N E S S , a letterpress sequence with linoleum prints by Nancy Tokar Miller (Chax); Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling (Apogee); and hi dde violeth i dde violet (Nomados). Her collected essays, Translating the Unspeakable, Poetry and the Innovative Necessity, are part of the Contemporary Poetics Series from University of Alabama Press, and her Selected Poems, 1970-1995, il cuore : the heart, is available from Wesleyan University Press. A recent interview with Fraser can be found at Jacket magazine online.

In 1973, Fraser founded The American Poetry Archives during her tenure as Director of The Poetry Center at San Francisco State University. Between 1983 and 1992, she published and edited HOW(ever), a journal for poets and scholars interested in modernist/ innovative directions in writing by women -- updated to the current electronic journal How2.

Fraser currently teaches in the graduate writing program at California College of the Arts/SF and lives for five months of each year in Italy, reading and lecturing widely on American poetry and actively translating work by contemporary Italian poets.

Michael Kelleher is the author of two collections of poems from BlazeVOX: the just-released Human Scale (2007), and To Be Sung (2005), as well as the chapbooks Cuba (Phylum), Bacchanalia (Quinella: Three Poems Series), and The Necessary Elephant (Ota Molloy). Kelleher's poems and essays have appeared at the Poetry Foundation Website, and in Brooklyn Rail, Ecopoetics, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Kiosk, Rampike, Queen St. Quarterly, verdure, murmur, The Transcendental Friend, Lagniappe, and others. With Ammiel Alcalay, he runs 'OlsonNow,' a project (including events and a blog) dedicated to the poetry and poetics of Charles Olson. He lives in Buffalo, NY, where he works as Artistic Director for Just Buffalo Literary Center and edits the artist book/poet's press Elevator.

Hotel Classic

The interior stress of a leaf was forming its own new section

when the hotel came under renovation. Steps led downward

to a drawing of trees, at least in the early draft pinned to his light box.

The architect described in his notes what he thought they wanted,

the clients equal to stargazers or foreign diplomats and wives of

officials from Milano, and he felt that something should happen

on the stairs, an event or motion, as if to rush towards

that noise of the entire tree in stress.

   —Kathleen Fraser


Noir, noir,
The night has come,

The human scale
Is tipped, the rut,

The groove, the frame
Of mind forming

Out of themselves

Out of the heart’s
Dark corners

A single tolling note --
Clouds drift overhead

Slow, white --
In these moving shapes

A hidden ultimatum
Moves. One looks to

And listens for, say,
A future, in which

One imagines what is
Spoken has meaning, is

Carried over, as over
A causeway to a city

About to be sacked.
Around him now

The temple starts to burn.
He is singing.

What is he singing?
He is singing.

Why is he singing?
He is singing.

>From lowered eyes
A touch of malice

Twinkles. In lips’
Trifling tremors,

In cheeks’ checked
Bloom -- a word,

A tone, a measure.
It might be true

The thing I hunger for
Is here in all its fullness,

Slightly obscured
And just out of reach.

Only give me
The name that

Calls it forth
To frighten and amaze

By the spectacle
Of its own privation.

The invisible sun
Within flickers still.

It burns. Let it burn.
For no one.

   —Michael Kelleher