February 16, 2017

Norman Fischer, Jeanne Heuving, & Alicia Cohen

Thursday, February 16
7:00 pm

Mother Foucault's Bookshop
523 SE Morrison

Norman Fischer is a poet, essayist, and Zen Buddhist priest. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop, his latest poetry titles are Magnolias All At Once (Singing Horse, 2015) Escape This Crazy Life of Tears: Japan 2010 (Tinfish, 2014), and The Strugglers (Singing Horse, 2013). Just out from Chax: any would be if (tanka). His latest prose works are What Is Zen? Plain Talk for a Beginner's Mind (Shambhala Press, 2016), and Experience: Thinking, Writing, Language and Religion (University of Alabama Press, 2015). He lives with his wife Kathie on a cliff overlooking the Pacific in Muir Beach, CA.

Jeanne Heuving's The Transmutation of Love and Avant-Garde Poetics is just out from the Modern and Contemporary Poetics series at the University of Alabama Press. Her other books include the cross-genre Incapacity (Chiasmus Press), Transducer (Chax 2008), and Omissions Are Not Accidents:  Gender in the Art of Marianne Moore (Wayne State U Press 1992). Her long poem "Miss Lonelyhearts" appears in Hambone 20, and she has essays and reviews in Twentieth Century American Women Poets (Cambridge), The Fate of Difficulty in Contemporary Poetry (Northwestern), American Literature, and Modern Philology. Heuving directs the MFA program in Creative Writing & Poetics at the University of Washington, Bothell, and is on the graduate faculty in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Alicia Cohen is the author of three books of poetry: Bear; Debts and Obligations (a finalist for the Oregon Book Award); and Coherer. Her critical writing on poetics has appeared in journals including How2, Ecopoetics, and Traffic. She collaborates on the ecological transition project Radio Hopes and Dreams with, among others, Norwegian artist Margrethe Kolstad Brekke. Presently, she lives in Portland.

Poem Written in Paris

Not sated yet with power

To do what to whom

For whatever reason suffices

Unter den Linden

In turn a squeamishness abandons me I am cruel in my cruel art

More severed body parts not a pretty

Poem. Here in this poem

No one dies yet

Because everyone's yet a song

Floating up and off on wind that shakes treetops and grass tips

And rolls far off and onward across from sea into night -- this is personal --

I am that song all its severed notes

Coat my lyric tongue

Words fail me so I fail them in retaliation 

I am here to stay and say

This or that not to frighten myself with my sheltering song --

Only my best friends know but even they miss the measure of my love

Yet cannot disregard the friendship of this poem's several words

Now I grasp the pen

In this lively Parisian scene

Full of pleasure, far from meaning

Norman Fischer


    from Transducer

How all is a fertile field ever threatening
Plowed too close like an ominous sky
Earth ever opened the possibility of 
Into the plowed furrowed lined earth
A fertile plow into the staid forestation
Into the silvered peat moss lined with
A jewelry box felted with diamonds


seeds with their hooded black jackets
carapace of insect left to wither in the wind
to mash with a mallet to get the insides out
a round hole bored in the seed by a weevil
seeds of the penstemons and the mulleins 
are easy to remove by the crushing method
to remove the seed heads the cones must be 
split open washed inside minute stuffs


the possibility of light falling onto his face
the possibility of walking into a sunlit alcove
the sunlit alcove fitting rippling like a glove
the glove moving from finger tip to forearm
silky on flesh receptive to being touched
harvested when a light brown will turn black
deadening hollow black seeds refusing


What does not go away this 
Mascared eyes, Cleopatra
Charcoaled Marlene Dietrich
Wanting at the grave as it
Leaks light

Jeanne Heuving


the world is fat
a beautiful fat
zero for nomads

Alicia Cohen