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Rae Armantrout, 22 November 2018

... To convey great effort and mild reluctance, one groans briefly when sitting up in bed. This is sometimes known as prayer.             * Ignore the wind chimes. They’re a bad example.             * To stand beneath or walk behind – to comprehend! – to grab wildly at surrounding objects.             * Some grab at attention by quipping, ‘I don’t care ...

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 4 July 2019

... Value Added The way orchid splits the difference with hot pink, say, in the hanging plastic crystal – how an increased level of saturation can come across as reticence or even as retraction. There, where it changes tack – the as in the ‘come across as’ – put your tongue on that. ‘A Child Is Being Beaten’ Sign in car window: It’s not about us, it’s about Him ...


Rae Armantrout, 24 February 2022

... 1It could have started like this.My mother took me to fabric shops when I was a kid.I would wander through the tall bolts dazed, readingfortunes in the colours.2Whitepapier-mâchéof the mock-orange floweron its many stems.Lavender, as an afterthought, necrotic –carried interest.Ochrelike sunset in LA,like dehydration.The popular mauve-greywhich blendsindifference with innocence ...

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 6 February 2020

... InstructionWere you surprised to learnthat you could swapan ‘i’ for an eye,and ‘a’ for an apple?That’s the lure.Later, you maywant to pray.*You may be leftto think your wayfrom moment to momentwithout being toldwhat a moment is,if it’s something solid.*The mad hear languagespeak itselfand are humble before it.They receive instruction.*The child in her cribturns her head restlessly,says, ‘aaah, aaah’like an engine left running ...

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 19 July 2018

... Pretty Little I’m not lonely because I have secrets; I’m lonely because words can’t bring the past into the present (which amounts to the same thing).         * Jack Rabbit and the Lonely Present is the title of a book I almost wrote         * I’m lonely because you’re sure you’ve heard something like this everywhere before ...

Too Much Information

Rae Armantrout, 22 April 2021

...                         1Dears,the backwards-facing S,a decoration in the iron rail,was here when I came,with its extra curlicuesat each end,and a miniatureversion of itselflike a foetusaffixed to its middle.I’m telling you more, perhaps,than you need to know.The sun on the rail’sinner curvesis a private matter,something like love,despite the roarof the nearby freeway ...

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 8 October 2020

... FinalistNothing to see here.Pine cones litterthe gutters.Whose turn is itto blow on the mirror,mama?*Each pushes forwardin her wild eagernessto take partin a ritual.‘Is this that thingabout fireflies?’Maybe.*We use similes to showthings are connected –and they are,just not in the ways we say.*A hole in fresh dirtsurrounded by orange conesinto whicha crow peers,hops sideways,then peers again ...

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout, 8 August 2013

... Keepers 1. On ‘Buried Alive’, possessions can’t be lost or found. They can’t be exchanged. They’re negotiated as one negotiates a landfill. 2. In the militarised evening, Boeing touts its service to ‘our troops’. We’re shown soldiers pinned down. One is strapped to a pallet – ready for take-off? 3. In the currency market, I’m the judge of a talent show or beauty pageant in which the contestants are moments of my life ...

Where Things Get Fuzzy

Stephanie Burt: Rae Armantrout, 30 March 2017

Partly: New and Selected Poems 2001-15 
by Rae Armantrout.
Wesleyan, 234 pp., £27, September 2016, 978 0 8195 7655 2
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... By​ 1979, when Rae Armantrout published her second book, The Invention of Hunger, with Lyn Hejinian’s Tuumba Press, she was already what much of the literary world would soon learn to call a ‘language poet’. Like Hejinian, like their Bay Area friend and ally Ron Silliman, and like the writers from the East Coast who ran the magazine L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, Armantrout sought a recalcitrant, even opaque, way of writing that could get out from under the assumptions, conventions and restrictions of (among other things) capitalism, patriarchy, Romantic lyric, transparent exposition and prose sense ...

On Rachael Allen

Matthew Bevis, 5 March 2020

... those who look closely, there are gradations of stillness). Reading these lines, I’m reminded of Rae Armantrout, whose influence can also be felt elsewhere in Kingdomland: ‘Being able to look at water soothes the anxious emptiness between thoughts.’If the act of noticing offers a momentary distraction from inner turmoil, it also seems to adumbrate ...

On Fanny Howe

Ange Mlinko: Fanny Howe, 5 October 2017

... in effect from the Language poets published by Sun & Moon (she taught at UC San Diego alongside Rae Armantrout) or others in her generational cohort, like Michael Palmer or her sister Susan Howe. But one senses that the intention is different. She never rejected first-person experience as a basis of her lyrics; Robert Lowell’s Notebook poems were an ...

Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language, 10 May 2012

Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... became known in the 1980s as a champion of the language poets: Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, Rae Armantrout, Steve McCaffery, Ron Silliman, Susan Howe, Bruce Andrews and perhaps a dozen others, who first published during the 1970s in a brace of little magazines, one of which bore the all too catchy name L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. Often – too often – seen ...

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