by Myung Mi Kim

NOTES: Before this talk bearing the title ANACRUSIS, I would presence the talk that cannot be delivered, the talk that seeks to dislocate (or dispense) formulations. If the talk cannot or does not declare its "point," (its exchange value), is it relegated to being unrecognizable?

I am the perpetual foreigner at the door of the demand to specify the purpose of the talk (what is it good for?). How to evoke a poetics that does not capitulate to terms sanctioned and policed by the prevailing, dominant discourses invested in the "point of the talk." It is not the certitude of truth-content but its permeations that attract, avulse, and engender acts of speaking. The talk, if in relation to the task of writing, cannot proceed by argument; it proceeds by enactment–the something made and the process of something being made.

Perhaps I am proposing this occasion as one in which poetics may be addressed as chiasmatic–where the rehearsals of the bound and the radicalizing constantly circulate.


by Myung Mi Kim


The twitter, the mishap, scattered phoneme, a glitch of sound in throat, a lodge in between ear and tongue and the barely formed–the blurt–[anacrusis: the one or more syllables at the beginning of a line of poetry that are regarded as preliminary to and not a part of the metrical pattern]–This talk is an anacrusis.

Inchoate. Anacrusis–the attempted, the guttural, the tenuous –pitches or tomes preceding the poem–consternations of sound not linked with any single system of language. The poem arrives, not established through regularizing, maintainable "pattern" but brought into possible articulation through multiple, polyphonic tracking. The recursive and the contingent carry sense.

Allowing for the floating materiality of matter that "does not fit" or "is not part of a metrical pattern" asks urgent questions about the terms under which ideas of the metrical pattern (that is, ideas of authority and maintenance of the superstructures that support these mechanisms) emerge and are validated. What is under consideration: the poem as investigation, the poem as action–the poem embodying points along a fragmentary axis that factor in, layer in, and cross fields of meaning, elaborating and multiplying the means of sense making. To encounter and to problematize the political and economical terms that function to determine and codify legibility. Say: a poetics through which to come into legibility without delimiting the range of what is possible to be uttered.

A poetics–alert to the practices of writer and reader who form and formalize the contexts the embed them both–both released into an engagement with our moment marked as it is with mass migrations, social fissures, and geographical and cultural displacements.

A poetics–to acknowledge the intratemporal nature of event. Social and human practices scored to the scale of vibrations per second.

A poetics–as that activity of tending the speculative.

What I am attempting to address is a poetics or notion of the poem that even in the midst of (or perhaps especially in view of) a fully entrenched commodity society, might make possible a rendering of the infinitesimally divisible moment. A study in markings of time–not to report, or narrate, or categorize–rather, what is the poem’s potential for registering a correspondence between speed of perception and word, for allowing a complex nexus of variables, temperings, and modulations to take place at the instant of writing.

The meaning of becoming a historical subject.

The meaning of grappling in the interstitial mark between abrasion and adumbration.

The velocity, the exultant and transitory glimpse of encounter.

To unravel and at the same moment more vigilantly wend through the rhythms, speeches, dictions, deformations, and cadences presenced in the poem.

To practice the gestural, the rogue–transposition and approximation–the ellipses.

To envision the poem as constituted through cycles of erosion and accretion.

The poem undertakes the task of deciphering and embodying a "particularizable" prosody of one’s living.

And in that process, inside the procedures of work and of work proceeding, note: node and pressure point, song making and song gesture. Track: descant, sedimentations, tributaries in any several directions. Show stress, show beat, show changes and alterations in pitch and accentuals. Syllables or tempo stored, ruptured, emended. A valence of first and further tongues. A fluctuating topography, a ringing of verve or nerve–transpiring. Elements of the lyric and its mediations. The duration of the now, the now occurring, that is necessarily expressive of a time before. Differentiation as it negotiates complications of temporality. The poem as tending measure.

The poem as interpolation of meter and perception, a line’s shape, vector, and motion that sounds lived time. The roaming, attenuating and simultaneously precise measure–one that might relate–wage earning, care-giving, ice sheets and biodiversity, the exact inflection of the child saying, "Watch this, watch this–", export crops in the midst of local starvation, the Princess Flower’s singular purple–

As a poet arrived at an uncanny familiarity with another language–or more precisely, as a poet transcribing the interstices of the abbreviated, the oddly conjoined, the amalgamated–recognizing that language occurs under continual construction. A model of the poems as enfolding, thus enabling, indicatives of time (the living instant and the acuteness of history). The poems shot through with crossings, hybridities, prolapses is one poised at attention. The poem may be said to reside in disrupted, dilated, circulatory spaces, and it is the means by which one translates and notates this provisional location that evokes, prompts, and demonstrates agency–the ear by which the measure by which the prosody by which to calibrate a poetics that augments the liberatory potential of writing, the storehouse of the human–


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BIO: Myung Mi Kim is the author of Under Flag (Kelsey St. Press), The Bounty (Chax) and Dura (Sun & Moon).


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