Susan Pensak was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1955, and grew up in Fairfield. Her work in print includes translations of prose poetry by Alejandra Pizarnik, in Sinister Wisdom, 13th Moon, Sulfur, and Woman Who Has Sprouted Wings (L.A.L.R. Press, 1987), and a first novel by Iris M. Zavala, Chiliagony (Third Woman Press, 1984). She lives in New York City.
Working Notes, Susan Pensak:
The poem is about stand-ins, purporting to sing along -- from memory -- sounding like quoted matter, learned by heart, recited by rote. Three poems by Gertrude Stein, "Patriarchal Poetry," "Susie Asado," and "Preciosilla," suggest approaches to my sense of what is at work here: does a reader get the chance to define the speaker with equanimity? Derrida, in Glas, writes, "All the examples are thus cut out and cut across each other. Look at the holes, if you can." In the Bunraku puppet theater the man chanting on the dais to the side of the action tells a story while one unhooded man and two hooded ones operate puppets on the stage. Does the chanter read a text, provide a commentary, or put words in the puppets' mouths?