September 29, 2012 - 12:36 PM
Marinovich, who headlines tonight's Just Buffalo BIG NIGHT event along with
Buffalo-based poet Nava Fader, is an exuberant, outsized voice in the
transatlantic, poet-as-witness and occasional visionary tradition.
year-old New York City-based poet with family roots in Belgrade--formerly the
capital city of Yugoslavia, now Serbia-- is the author of two much-praised
collections of effusive, witty, linguistically-agile and politically engaged
work, “Zero Readership” (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2008)--which dealt directly with
his travels to Belgrade and through the Balkans for three summersafter the wars
of the 90's--and “And If You Don't Go Crazy I'll Meet You Here Tomorrow” (Ugly
Ducking Presse, 2011), which documented global and personal crises and loves
spanning the decade from 2000 to 2010, including a weeklong meditation retreat
in upstate New York, in Marinovich's cosmically maximalist style.
recently, he has garnered considerable attention as one of the principal poetic
voices associated with the Occupy Wall Street movement, serving in the
high-visibility role as librarian for The People's Library in the encampment at
Zuccotti Park in the autumn of 2011.
describes his forthcoming book "Wolfman Librarian" (some of which he
will read from tonight) as "an epic mythography of lovers in New York City
after the financial crash and during the rise of Occupy Wall Street Revolution,
as well as inquiring into what [Walter] Benjamin means by 'Jetztzeit' or
do the dead feel about their names being used to wage permanent war?" he
elaborates. "The voices of the dead need to be heard and included in any
true Democracy, along with the voices of the living, most of the time I can't
tell the difference, that's how fast time feels."
recent interview posted on the Poetry Society of America website, Marinovich
discussed the inextricably of his politics from his poetics in terms that give
the reader a sense of his world-view and his influences:
It is impossible to write a-politically. If you don't
directly address politics in your work, this is a conservative ideology. If you
do directly undress politics in your work, you at least have a chance of being
awake while you are meditating on what your politics are and what politics is.
What is politics I would like to know. It is the life of the polis, the
Multiverse, all the voices, being channelled through you, and you responding to
them, in dialog with them, one with them, and contradicting them.
We can either choose to examine politics in our
poetry, or politics will define us on its own terms, often prison terms, stolen
presidential terms, or term limits dissolved with money. "I must create my
own system or be enslaved by another man's."—William Blake.
As for the
physical process of writing, he is noting less than beatific in his
When I write politics which is all I am ever really
writing I go out into the street and listen and bring my pocket pad. And three
pens. I go somewhere dangerous that needs to be documented before it disappears
or becomes assimilated into state narratives and I open myself to visions. The
key thing is to breathe to remember. I need to breathe from the belly to blow a
long line and engender a thorough thought process through which I can discover
things, poetry being discovery, not recapitulation of what I already know,
although I know I only know I know nothing, really I know nothing. How one
comes to know is always a question.
A poet writes history, ISTORIN, to use Charles
Olson's translation from Herodotus: "Istorin in him appears to mean
'finding out for oneself,' instead of depending on hearsay." A poet writes
the findings out in a simultaneously packed and empty spontaneously improvised
field of action. Urgency comes from finding out what's going on in a
Benjaminian "moment of danger," which threatens to disappear the
moment mouth is opened or pen is set to paper. Hence the need for spontaneity.
If you don't get what's happening down in the poem, the state will force-feed
you the toxic simulacrab of what's happening in its sweet soft shell. There is
not one of us without food poisoning. There is not one of us without medicine:
awareness, conversation, action.
Marinovich and Nava Fader, whose chapbooks include "Stonesoup,",
"The Plath Poems," "The Rilke Poems," and the full-length
collection “All the Jawing Jackdaw” (BlazeVox Books, 2009), are the
Buffalo-based rock and post-psychedelia band The Cellars. As is the popular tradition at BIG NIGHT
events, BlazeVox Books publisher and Culinary Institute of America trained chef
Geoffrey Gatza will supply an ample spread of his gourmet food creations. The
festivities begin at 8 p.m. at the Western New York Book Arts Center,
468 Washington St. (near Mohawk St.).
Admission is $5, $4 for students, Just Buffalo members, and members of
Just Buffalo's affiliate organizations.