On Post~Twyla (among other things), at Exchange Values
I've been reading your new book, Post~Twyla, and have been struck by some of its diaristic aspects, struck by the variety of approaches you bring to a long series of short but very intense lyric discharges (for lack of better critical terminology on my part). Could you speak to the methodology of this book and what is at stake in it for you?
Lyric discharges -- that's just great expression! It seemed important to have each brief piece add up on its own as tuneful mayhem. And I wanted the pieces to add up together as baggier mania. So that's at stake.
I started Post~Twyla earlier this year. I wanted to spoof a diary via devious inspiration, compressing reactions to every page of John Ashbery's Flow Chart within three-line verses. The aim was mock critique, fake haiku dredged from lyrical prolixity. Problem was it didn't work. I stopped after the fifth page, because I wasn't "reacting" so much as "countering" with extraneous materials, earlier drafts, TV lingo, on-the-spot writing, and other texts, including passages from my blog (which I treat as notes-in-progress). I wound up sourcing dozens of texts, including Flow Chart, but certainly not page-by-page as I intended. I continued a nonsystematic, countering method, arguing with metaphors, vocabulary, that sort of countering. (I do this with everything, including my own notes!) In 346 pages, if you're keeping score, I slipped in one or two specialized lexical items from Ashbery, "chrysoprase" and maybe another.
I thought I'd take P~T to a hundred entries, but the assembly processes spread like narcolepsy and I couldn't stop until I hit 250, a cut-off I imposed before it got tedious. [...]
Post~Twyla is available from Blue Lion Books here. (Blue Lion uses Cafe Press to produce their POD books. Their storefront is here.)
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