The book fits in your hand: it can go inside the back pocket of your jeans. It is truly portable, and the tactile encounter of the book, I believe, conditions the reading experience. There is that feeling of manageability, contrary to its title, Slabs, that is being invoked by poet Brittany Billmeyer-Finn‘s second collection, released in 2016 from Timeless, Infinite Light.
The book is arranged in two parts. The language is fragmentary—as a reader, it seems as though I am eavesdropping. The conversation has been going on long before the reader opened the book, and now we are entering in and out of the narrative at any given point. What is beginning? What is ending? How do I situate and locate myself in relationship to the text?
The following is an interview I did with Brittany Billmeyer-Finn, an Oakland-based poet whose recent book of poetry the meshes (Black Radish, 2016) features a complex polyvocal/temporal interpretation/dialogue of and against Maya Deren‘s filmography.
Geraldine Kim: When I was reading the meshes, I noticed multiple layers of gazing or “looking” throughout the text—the gaze of the filmmaker, of the author writing about the filmmaker’s work, etc. “looking resists. looking revises. looking interrogates. looking invents, to be stared at. looking at one another. looking back” (p.31) and “having performed seeing. seeing double. seeing doubles. having performed spectatorship. I describe the lens. the film itself. the both-ness. opposition of becoming. soft focus. caught the light. depth of surfaces. multiplications as limiting” (p. 54). Could you talk a bit more about these layers?
Brittany Billmeyer-Finn: Spectatorship is innate to the process of writing this book. An important part of the process is watching films. It also becomes a source of contention and critique that develops in the four sections of the book; “the poems,” “the essay,” “the play,” and “the annotated bibliography.” Continue reading
The following is an interview between Amy Berkowitz and me for her new book, Tender Points (Timeless Infinite Light), to be published this month. A narrative fractured by trauma and named after the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia, this book-length lyric essay explores sexual violence, gendered illness, chronic pain, and patriarchy through the lenses of lived experience and pop culture.
My body is washing dishes and it’s in pain. My body is on hold with California Blue Cross Blue Shield and it’s in pain. My body is dancing and it’s in pain. My body is Skyping Beth and it’s in pain. My body is taking a shower and it’s in pain. My body is riding BART and it’s in pain. My body is politely saying no and it’s in pain. My body is reading a book and it’s in pain. My body is at work and it’s in pain. My body is writing this and it’s in pain. My body is walking to meet you and it’s in pain. (127)