The Parts
by Loss Pequeño Glazier

Buffalo, NY: Meow Press, 1995. 22 pp.
Small Press Distribution, 1814
San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702

Review by Kenneth Sherwood

past--the link--here perhaps elec-
tronic--sense of the musty rolling
hills (who would have thought such
in 'there's no there there'--but of
course, where there's smoke
there's someone about to cough

Loss Glazier travels, traipses his way from near to distant parts, the four corners--the central crossroads in some western town, the local geography of mountains, the borderlands, the edge where one's language dissolves into a foreign music.

maritiming et equipage of canal
parlay aphasiac noon knew no
intrepid lips so in transitu
salm as saguaro-chiseled "send

Glazier's ear is fairly dripping, though otherwise not Dali-like, with acoustic residue of Tejano slang, French patois, Indian mantras, Arabic rahil. In an attitude of openness to conditions outside the self which Spicer described as "dictation", Glazier courts overload, he tunes to cyberspace and shortwave like the poet in Cocteau's Orphee, acting as a powered-up receiver who also does snail mail.

Glazier's most recent book, The Parts, with its allusion to Robert Creeley's Pieces, further locates him. Pieces . . . parts . . . "P-slips" are the librarian's scraps on which Glazier dashes off notes to himself, unconcernedly, while sharing an elevator or over coffee, filing them away in one pocket or another, later to enter them in his massive computer, filing, processing, arranging entries among the accretions of memory. That these are parts of a life, read:

Like the note passed in the row ahead
these men's books are the whole of language
how we navigate only--piecemeal

When one thinks of Clark Coolidge's "Fragments are our >wholes," it seems a proposal to poetry. Glazier's writing continually engages the partial, less as proposition than as fact of condition.

unsound cross-stitched a piece
its improvisation of afternoon

Like the aeolian harp with wind playing through it, these poems above all show a writer engaging the conditions of his and our media environment, breathing it, tuning in to the radio waves that bombard us and so marking his part of that net enfolding and confining us.

Since Louis Zukofksy's extended "A" (Zukofksy incidentally detested television and movies), everyday conditions have been 'allowed' into the poem, playing through the writing by way of intelligence and ear. The home's domestic tranquility now has to confront the interference of its wiring, the various clamoring coaxial cables, antennae, and lines-in from the outside world. Exactly these conditions of confusion frame Glazier'sy poetry: talking on the phone while doing dishes, while coaching kids on homework, while downloading Netscape 2.0 through the other phone line.

Mainly that the 'poem' cannot stay such confusion. And as the world obtrudes into it, the poem responds with new forms and by engaging the new media. I take it, by the way, that this is not polemic but, again, simple acknowledgement of the condition of a generation of writers that is happily or unhappily married to machines.

Does the ghostly quality that these marks are
not impressions but literal absences in a
blue background replicate a mimeo master? . .
. There is an urgency since flukes occur and
if the connection cuts its image evaporates.

What Glazier and others working in electronic writing see in the blue background is the potential for the salvage if not the enlargement of the possibilities for poetry.

printing it out is only parts of
it, sections somewhere framed
and amenable to being scribbled on

so that perhaps it's a matter
of clippings you assemble
scrap book fashion strings

Poets and critics increasingly recognize the scored copper plates of William Blake and the hand-sewn fasicles of Emily Dickinson as integral to their poetries. The materiality of the work is read as a relation or even as a partial function of its meaning.

In the chaos it wasn't blake
surprised its cavity among
shards undo shreds of moon
predicate of tern's erratic
night-latent methaqualone
bred amid wild cactus spurs

The net, all of it, (in writing contemporary with its technological conditions) becomes a field of potential citations, another wing of the extensible geography of place, tradition, language, and music to which poetry has always been tuned. Writers not averse to extracting the techne (art) from "technology" are engaged in their own parturition.

...If I had ordered
you the coffee when you said

you might have gotten to the
point that Poetry does not
gain from mummified speech.

Not that present conditions represent only gain-- there is also the danger that our poems or ourselves become simply "concatenations of technical parts" whose "scatter deflects the work." Whatever risk wrapping one's arms around a technopoetics involves, Glazier favors it to the more certain erosion following from mummified speech. Gertrude Stein made the argument quite closely:

The business of Art . . . is to live in the actual present, that is the complete actual present, and to completely express that complete actual present.

To complete the actual, Glazier's poems perform a screening--in the double sense of putting on screen and "surveying" or taking account--of the changed dynamic of reading and living where concentrated attention is difficult, and attempt to make music out of the distraction that is increasingly our shared condition. His optimism should be heard more as a statement of character than a recruitment of cyber troops--that poetry can engage the world in its present condition, lock arms with it, and not end up a survey of losses, a retrospective shoring of ruins.

...Kin to 'living' in a period
of adapted measure. There should only
be one book; texts weave through that.

Kenneth Sherwood