Thursday, March 27, 2014

introduction to Jamie Townsend, 5/17/2013

Below is Krystal Languell's introduction to Jamie Townsend at the Center for Book Arts on May 17, 2013.

Jamie Townsend's poems give us back our starlets. I feel a particular kinship with his work because he has a poem called "Always be my Baby" and I  have a poem called "Touch my Body," both after Mariah Carey poems.

But what Jamie does for/to/through Mariah/Mimi is to oppose the "Stars! They're just like us!" narrative and offer in its place "Stars! They're from outer space."

Did Mariah Carey invent the selfie? My computer autocorrected to say "Did Mariah Carey invent the self."

Jamie's work enters the mythology of recent-past, even present-moment, stardom by repackaging what we've just started to forget and reminding us of its value. Remember Mariah Carey's falsetto? Now you do. Jamie's work is expansive rather than contained. Other poets are writing about pop culture right now, but Jamie is doing so in a true epic way--Mariah Carey, Barbara Walters, Antony, Mimi from the band LOW, rolling through five or seven pages of fragment and aside--and this is not your MTA Poetry in Motion commodity, this is that rare hot body sitting next to you on the train so that you can't even stare, they are too close, but maybe they are doing an erasure of the Wall Street Journal. You recognize. And Jamie's work gives you back that moment.

Jamie Townsend is the managing editor for Aufgabe, as well as the
co-founder of con/crescent, a periodic hub of creative mumbo-jumbo. He
is author of the chapbooks STRAP/HALO (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs;
2011), Matryoshka (LRL Textile Editions; 2011), and THE DOME (Ixnay
Press; 2011). In 2012 he was selected to be a Millay Colony fellow.

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