Meet Our New Poetry Editors

AN INTRODUCTION TO AN INTRODUCTION

What do traditional artist’s introductions tell us? Biographical information, starting with current location. A list of publications, and if we’re lucky, an artist’s statement. The partners, dogs, parakeets, and children the artists might be living with in the previously mentioned current location.

When we asked our new poetry editors Natalie Mariko and Crista Siglin to introduce themselves, they agreed that this approach might “flatten” them rather than giving readers a “glimpse into their editing sensibilities,” according to Crista. So the two began with the traditional introductions and set out to “extend poetic abstraction/attention to the very boring, self-referential, wanky realm of artist introductions” by “deconstructing each other’s intros into poems.”

The idea was formed in a Berlin cafe, and the process was honed in a series of emails, during which our editors discussed deconstruction as introduction as well as deadlines and sick cats. As for the process, each editor would send over their traditional introductory “blurbs” and then each would “dissect” the other’s blurb into a poem. The discussion of process continued from there, along with more discussion of cats, and produced three poems that “introduce” each editor.

Natalie says the emails are actually the “better half of the two conceptual parts” since they are “the ghost in the machine made visible,” namely: “The process is all in there, not in me explaining why I moved a word to the next line” of the final poems, which are included at the end. Of the “essential” nature of the inclusion of the emails in this article, our poetry editors say:

“The drudgery of the sick cats, the banter – this is sort of @ the thematic heart of what I love to read. There is a cat vomiting on my carpet. The cat can’t help it. It just vomits, w/out want. An act of pure function. Poetry blames the cat. Or draws a connection btwn the cat retch & why the weather has been unseasonably warm. Or &c. The act of poetry is the attribution of intent to function, especially as it originates in the reader (in my example, Me watching the cat vomit). It blurs the definition btwn cat & weather. A type of willful schizophrenia.”
—Natalie

“Poetry blames the cat. This for me has a morphic resonance with ‘Love’s the burning boy.’ An idea inflicting something on a character or object, and through that relationship, the nature of the idea can change alongside the character. ‘Casabianca’ by Elizabeth Bishop (in which the burning boy may be found) is one of my favorite examples of a poem subtly shifting expectation for how one word will defined throughout its course. Love’s meaning constricts and dilates, depending on the perspective and metaphorical highlighting. I always keep this in a corner of my mind. When I am writing or editing, I am looking for some way to expand or sharpen the meaning of a word. Whether it is through spacial means (this is how I approached editing Natalie’s introduction; through erasures and implementing space), repetition, or perspectival shifts.”
—Crista

THE EMAILS

Natalie to Crista:

It’s fascinating to read about a colleague in this way – as if the person I will be seeing @ monthly meetings could be artistically reduced to a sort of list of acco.s & fixed opinions. I don’t know about you, but writing artist statements always made me feel rather pompous. Like sending a court clerk before me to announce my arrival. But perhaps even then there’s an artistry to something so seemingly banal as introduction, no?  My thought is we limit this to no more than 3 volleys/editor, so as to avoid repetition.

Crista to Natalie:

Yes, I agree about both the banality and pomp of writing about oneself in this way. I had to cut a lot of words I was hiding under from mine… as well as graft different statements from different times together… yet I still feel hidden (but I couldn’t bear to start completely from scratch). It feels like writing about myself in this way misses most of the things for which I am actually proud of myself. But I can scarcely include “Crista can complete Jacob’s Ladder in ten seconds with her eyes closed.” It also misses one’s weaknesses. Like how many times I have to Google search the differences between certain words. Regardless, I am enjoying this exercise. Yours was quite fun to work with.

I hope your cat is okay.

Natalie to Crista:

Well, in terms of meeting that deadline, I’d classify this as ‘better late than never’. Now that we’ve given one another a raw rearrangement of the texts, perhaps it’d be fun to edit what the other’s made of them? And then perhaps thereafter combining them? Or? If you have something in mind, let me know. This is the most enjoyable writing task I’ve had in a solid few weeks.

The cats – Keala & Humus, the poor souls – are my roommate’s & the last I smelled they are quite ill. I have to help her give them two pills each every few hours which is painful for all of us.

Crista to Natalie:

I firmly believe in the better late than never philosophy.

CRISTA SIGLIN
by Natalie Mariko and Crista Siglin

ONE

Crista Siglin finds herself living
in Berlin after                   having
 
grown up (as much
               She creativestudied     
She
 
chasing    ghosts playing with other
people’s, food and watching her
 
way slowly but surely
She has shown
her visual                 various Kansas City
 
galleries
                               in . Crista’s poetry has
Sprung Formal Compendium Not Sorry Retro
grade-Craft(ed) Desolate Country Poets, Un-
Against Finding Zen in Cow Town and Prosper
o  
 
She is the author of the poetry
Fleeting Sacred Sparta
n Press(ing). Her practice
                           a body
 
and the mind’s relation
ship to environmentraumatime
phantasm            agoria.
 
attracted: to delve into elements and themes common in theater
and Other                                          dramatic
platforms: to heighten psychological conditions (i.e. how specific
can depict a spectrum                       She also enjoys
subverted folk
loric. Crista admires
the paradoxical aspects of having
a body, and its withstanding
 
She finds the bodymind’s progression through time,
and questions             definition and appearance
in the present moment.

 

TWO
 
Crista finds
herself           living
in Berlin after                   having
 
grown  (as much
           creativestudied     
 
chasing    ghosts
                   playing
other
people’s,
                     food
 
and watching
 
slowly but surely
             has shown
visual                 various Kansas
 
galleries
                               in .
poetry has
Sprung
Compendium (of) Not Sorry
   Retro
grade-Craft(ed)
      Desolate country Poets, Un-
                         Against Finding Zen in Cow Town
and Prosper
o  
 
She is the author of
poetry
Fleeting
 
Sacred Sparta
n Press(ing). Her practice
                           a body
 
mind’s relation
      ship to environmentrauma
time
phantasm            agoria.
 
attracted: to delve
elements
     themes common
            theater and Other                    dramatic
platforms:
 
      to heighten psychological
conditions .
           how specific
                        a spectrum        
also
    enjoys
subverted
                    folk
loric. admires
 
paradoxical aspects of having
a body
withstanding
 
finds the bodymind’s
 
progression through time,
questions             definition a
appearance in the present
 
moment.


 

THREE
 
a finds herself     
chasin    gghosts  
             playing other
             people
and watching
 
slowly
but
surely  
visual various Kansas
in poetry has SPRUNG
                    compendium of Not Sorry
                    retro
                    desolate country poet
                    Un-Zen in Cow Town
                    and pro(s)per
                    (o
 
now) she is the author of
                           
                           a body
      shipped to environmentraumatime
phantasm            agoria.
 
attracted: to delve                    
dramatic platforms: to heighten
 
psychological conditions
           (how specific a spectrum)                       
subverted folkloric paradoxical aspects of having
 
a body
withstanding
finds the bodymind
 
progression through time,
questions             definition a

 

NATALIE MARIKO
by Crista Siglin and Natalie Mariko

 

ONE

Natalie Mariko was born
3rd of 9 children.              After
          Mathematics & Philosophy
African & English               Literature
Film         Cape Town,
     she forfeited
her    (excessively
expensive) place at Cambridge
to move
       
Germany. She studied German
in Munich & Dresden
moved                         Berlin in March
          She is fascinated
90s dark comedy films,      Bantu mythologies,
           witchcraft &
magic(k), post-
                   Soviet visual art, people
who’ve actually read
                  Infinite Jest and the
documentation of
queer experience. She
                            participates
regularly
     Berlin writers’
presents
    her written
              at readings w/ increasing
                                    regularity.
 
Her poetry appeared
                in Whirlwind
all roads
                            will lead you home
Contrast, YES        SUSAN, The Slanted House
                                                 will be included
an upcoming TABLOID is drawn
illuminates
and tarries in the uncanny Language
                         on the brinks — both
deliberate semantic intention & types — most appealing; or
        investigates
           problematises
                 lost silences
& the echoing
             chasms btwn intention
& interpretation.              her interests
variegated
to the point
of whimsy, but the basic
                              thru-line tends to be
                       unexpected.

TWO

was born
3rd      after
          mathematics
     
     she forfeited         her
(excessively               to move
                                  studied
moved                         
                 berlinfascinated
                 darkcomedy
                 film: Witchcraft & Magic K (post-
                 Soviet visual art people
who actually read Infinite Jest and the
documentation
 
of queer experience) she
                            participates
regularly
presents
    her
written
              reading
                                regular
                                      -ity
 
he          r in
             Whirlwind
             YES SUSAN, The Slanted House
                                   will
                                   be included
 
an upcoming TABLOID is drawn
illuminates
and tarries in the uncanny Language
        
deliberate semantic intention & types     most appealing lost
     silences
& the echoing
      btwn
                              thru-line tends
to be unexpected,

 

THREE

born
3rd      after
          mathematics
     
     she forfeited          
(excessively             
 to
move
                                  studied
moved                         
                 berlinfascinated
                 darkcomedy
                
film:
      Witchcraft &
Magic
(post-
                 Soviet visual
 
art people
who   read Infinite and
documentation
            queer experience) she
                            participates

 
regularly
presents
    
written
              reading
                                regular
                                      -ity
 
he          r in
             Whirlwind
             YES SUSAN, The Slanted House
                                   will
                                   be included
 
an upcoming TABLOIDilluminates
 
tarries
in uncanny           
            Language
            deliberate
semantic intention &   
                            appealing
lost
                                      silences
& the echoing
      btwn
          thru-line tends

to unexpect