This issue has more fiction than most previous installments, since AY has been primarily a journal of poetics captained by Johannes Göransson, Joyelle McSweeney, and John Dermot Woods. You'll find a piece by Amina Cain. And two more phenomenal stories by Blake Butler that, as usual, inspire awe and envy in me with the language, image, the movement. Here is the opening of "Year of Weird Light", which I believe is from his as yet (shamefully) unpublished collection SCORCH ATLAS:
I began to try again—and yet in want of nothing, as there was nothing I could taste. The hall outside my bedroom had grown engorged with dirt frittered full with raspy holes threaded by tapeworms and aphids, eating. I’d crack the door to let the looser dustings shake in so there'd be something I could chew on also. It didn't do much good. My tongue took to the texture of grass but my belly would not stop screaming, and the bug matter hung like gristle, my stomach so weak it couldn't grind. I could feel them moving elsewhere. I could feel the crawling behind my eyes. The old ceiling sat around me. The new ceiling: a smudged sky.
I have a piece in this issue entitled "Today the Smell of Worms and Wet Pennies", a rosary with beads named Martin Heidegger, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Rene Descartes, Claude Debussy, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Samuel Beckett, and Georges Bataille. The Bataille fragment is a short prequel to my piece entitled "Fiction with Teratoma Preserves" which was published in the latest issue of Phoebe. Re: my pieces in the first issue of NO COLONY featuring Antonin Artaud, Charles Darwin, and Franz Kafka, this piece in Action Yes is their mother. Here is the opening of the first node:
Martin Heidegger wore hearing protection out on the tarmac at JFK. The runways were broad and he danced and leapt with the freedom of a Cats performer while he guided planes to the terminal. Martin Heidegger pulled double shifts: he covered for co-workers whenever possible: anything to continue his dancing. He felt electric grace gather in his hands as he handled the batons under the midday sun. Martin Heidegger disliked sunsets, though, because they signified the end of the day, the end of his dancing on the tarmac. Martin Heidegger sought a seeing for which the sun did not set.
This installment of Action Yes includes essays by regular contributor Per Bäckström, Robert Archambeau's "The Avant-Garde in Babel: Two or Three Notes on Four or Five Words" responds to Bäckström's essay “One Earth, Four or Five Words: The Notion of the Avant-Garde Problematized” from Issue 7. Poetry includes work by María Baranda, translated by Joshua Edwards, Jon Leon, Kate Schapira, Mike Schorsch, and Mark Tursi. The issue has a lot of different media. I like Vernon Frazer's collage poem "from Emblematic Moon". Again, the fragmented nature with space and isolation drawing blood from the words.
THE NEVER-ENDING QUEST
FOR TAXIDERMIST FRONTAGE
I also really liked Bruno K. Oijer's poetry "from c/o Night". They're all excellent, but here's "Seduced Again", though I don't know how to reproduce the format:
Once You Jotted Down
The Word "Winter"
On Your Sheet
Now You Have
Something New To Offer Me
I Called Your Name
Outside The Door
You Turned Up The Music
Politicians & Other Corpses
Swing From The Coat Hangers
In Your Hallway
You Hold The Globe
In Front Of Your Face
& Put On Your Make-Up
The Blood Suits Your Mouth
I know it means something different, but that last couple of lines reminds me of the quintessential David Lynch moment where one character or another smears red lipstick around their mouth. Öijer poems are translated from Swedish, but even rendered in English every line is small, hard, and potent like a bullet.
Also, there is an audio piece that was written by Noah Eli Gordon and read by Eric Baus, Noah Eli Gordon, and Sara Veglahn. And check out Emily Hunt's "from Um Um: A Novel to Lips", which is an erasure of Tom Phillips's erasure entitled A Humument. (On an 'about me' side note, I think an erasure of Beckett's How It Is may work into the story I've been working on; I was amazed at how with a little erasure it seemed like Beckett had laid down a core sample of my story.)
And: a performance of integrated text/video/image/sound by Joe Wenderoth and Gibby Haynes.
I am proud to have been a part of this excellent issue of Action, Yes. Thanks to Blake Butler and John Dermot Woods for doing what they do.