Poetry. "There are writers who don't split head & heart, and there's at least one who works right in the tension of that tension: Stephanie Young. Look for her new book URSULA OR UNIVERSITY to take us well away from the split, even as she is pulled into it. The book works with feeling, fact, and miltant action & reflection."—T.C. Marshall
If I had not been with my friends in the auditorium and bookstore and art space, how could I have known anything about the way they sit in chairs, or lean forward while listening, how could I know the way their hands hold a pen or move across the pages of a notebook? What was my hysterical mode of naming names if not a demonstration of the decisive weakness in my sentiment that the community existed, that I existed within it? What group? What was I, who were you, the mostly leftist poets I am and hang out with? Who do I leave out when I say mostly white? Mostly middle class? Which is it? Is that even true? Is the piece about self-involvement, or is it just self-involved? And shouldn't you be able to tell which it is? Was it always so? In the archive of my enthusiasms? Is it even possible to move the university reading series off campus? Does that sound naïve? Where was I? Was I at work? Was I reloading the page, clicking for mobile uploads on facebook, looking for images from the rally? Was I too tired? Was my heart heavy? Was I watching the news? Was I railing at the screens, the local affiliates, diagrams representing police on the move with white x's, protestors with yellow o's, circled, surrounded, so like the play by play illustrations of football? What did I do in the fall of 2010 anyways? What's real time? I kept getting tangled in these local arguments about the academy that showed up around both conferences, kept shouting stuff about spreadsheets, or muttering to myself, BUT I'M LIKE YOU, in the office 9-5, two things in my job, administrator and adjunct, feet snagged in these arguments, who were they even for? Was that it? I'd sit at the keyboard, hands to my head, what was I doing? What did it mean to take up authority? To slough it off? I called my friend on the phone immediately, did you feel that? Is the joke about misogyny, or is it just misogynist? And shouldn't you be able to tell which it is? What is this failure I'm writing, if not that which partakes of the never-ending self-criticism that the management of avant-garde groups more and more visibly engages in? And then we argued about this, what is and isn't action, how can it be separated from language? Is it really now or never-explosive time? Or deceptive time? Time in advance of itself (rushing forward)? How could it have been otherwise? Had it only been a year?
Author City: OAKLAND, CA USA
Stephanie Young lives and works in Oakland. She edited the anthology BAY POETICS (Faux Press, 2006) and is currently at work on the collaborative website Deep Oakland. Her books of poetry are URSULA OR UNIVERSITY (Krupskaya, 2013), PICTURE PALACE (ingirumimusnocteetcomsumimurigni, 2008), and TELLING THE FUTURE OFF (Tougher Disguises, 2005).
Reviews and Other Links
T.C. Marshall @ Galatea Resurrects