172.1: Steven Alvarez:: 1992 / 5th sun / our present & Bat
26 May 2014
The eclectic selection this week from Steven Alvarez reminds me of William Carlos Williams' Spring and All. Not the famous parts from that book. Not the contagious hospital, not the antagonistic farmer, not even the white chickens (which, ironically, DO get a reference in Alvarez's "Bat"). No, this selection from Alvarez reminds me of the prose sections in that book. These are moments when Williams is irreverent and brilliant at the same time, the voice of a poetic revolution. The two pieces in this issue, "1992 / 5th Sun / Our Present" and "Bat," combine untranslated Spanish, regional geography (I've had to make the drive through Gila Bend many times), and futurist techniques to evoke a mosaic of sounds, textures, conflicts, and desires. "1992 / 5th Sun / Our Present" reads like a wonderful combination of The Cantos, concrete poetry, found writing, and kitsch. "The Bat" is Alvarez's wonderful response to mythic method, a story involving gods, incest, cannibalism, colonialism, humor, and loss. These two pieces honor the dust and beauty to be found throughout the Southwest. La Frontera and All.