Reading from their recent respective volumes Yeah No and Oil Spell, and introduced by Lyn Hejinian.
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Jane Gregory’s mystifying second collection begins with a “Knock knock,” inviting the reader into a realm where “Everything is a pattern / of yesses and no.” Within these pages we find Gregory constructing a multivalent world—ripe with struggle, prophecy, and, by the end, a resemblance of hope. Using her highly-tuned sensibility throughout, Gregory guides us through the anxieties of this journey by inventing new and enigmatic forms filled with sonic experimentation and polyphony.
Jane Gregory is from Tucson and lives in Oakland. Her first book, My Enemies, was published in 2013. She is co-founder and co-editor, with Lyn Hejinian and Claire Marie Stancek, of Nion Editions, a chapbook press. She recently completed her PhD in English at UC Berkeley.
Claire Marie Stancek’s Oil Spell gathers many of today’s dark energies—US drone strikes, environmental disaster—and asks: what kind of tool is poetry to mirror these violences? The poems here are counter-conjurations, but they also query whether poetry itself might be a violent entrance of language into the world. Oil Spell animates diverse influences—Dorothy Wordsworth’s journals, environmental reports of extinction and endangerment, and the Pakistani government assessments of drone strikes. The poems do not attempt to negotiate or domesticate this diversity, but ask what function poetry might have alongside these various performative linguistic functions. While poetry appears to have a dark function in these connections, Oil Spell also asks whether we might invest language with the capacity to conjure towards other possibilities. Oil Spell performs the ways in which narratives of loss and narratives of everyday joy curl into one another and mutually contaminate. The beauty that results is a troubled reflection, like a rainbow in a slick of oil.
Claire Marie Stancek is also the author of Mouths. With Lyn Hejinian and Jane Gregory, she edits Nion Editions, a chapbook press. She has recently completed a PhD in English at UC Berkeley, where she teaches classes on literature and creative writing. Originally from outside Toronto, Ontario, she now lives in Berkeley.
Poet, essayist, translator, and publisher Lyn Hejinian teaches at UC Berkeley.