Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poem, poetry, Poets/Writers, Video

The Book of Lumenations — Interview with Adeena Karasick

Introduction to Eicha—Adeena Karasick

Particularly speaking to this “Covid moment,” Eicha (איכה) comprises 5 videopoems which takes as its jumping off point, the Biblical Eicha, The Book of Lamentations, which laments the destruction of Jerusalem and through reflection, deflection, refraction and the fracturing of language, homophonically re-situates the original text to the horrors and hope of the present moment. Tracking through “the city” as a desolate weeping widow overcome with misery, and moving through desolation, ruin, prayer, and recovery, it explores ways that in rupture, there is rapture.

As transpoesis it acts not only (in General Semanticist terms) as a “time binder” but through a luminous, voluminous threading of light, it highlights how darkness is a form of light, how text itself is, in essence, black light on white light, and thus opens up new ways of seeing and the cyclic nature of meaning and being.

Text written and performed by Karasick and comprises the first section of her forthcoming book, Ærotomania: The Book of Lumenations. The music is composed and performed by world renowned Grammy Award winning composer, trumpet player and Klezmer giant, Frank London. Eicha I includes Vispo by Jim Andrews and Daniel f. Bradley with Titles by Italian filmmaker Igor Imhoff. Eicha II and III, music by Frank London and video by Igor Imhoff. Eicha IV and V are still under construction and will be launched for Tisha B’Av.


Eicha I–III

Text written and performed by Adeena Karasick
Music Composed and performed by Frank London
Eicha I: The Book of Lumenations
Adeena Karasick ©2021
Music composed and performed by Frank London
Vispo by Jim Andrews and Daniel f. Bradley
Titles by Italian filmmaker Igor Imhoff

Eicha II: The Book of Lumenations
Adeena Karasick ©2021
Music Composed and Performed by Frank London
Video by Igor Imhoff

Eicha II: The Book of Lumenations
Adeena Karasick ©2021
Music Composed and Performed by Frank London
Video by Igor Imhoff

Adeena Karasick—Interview

Michael Dickel: Your theoretical frame for this work takes us from The Book of Lamentations to General Semantics developed in the 20th C. to the present moment of pandemic. What intrigues me about this is something I have thought about for some time. Before I heard of Alfred Korzybski, I had begun to think that cultural products—specifically but not only visual arts, music / dance, and writing—formed a sort of socio-cultural DNA. The “stories” or “meanings” they convey shape socio-cultural formations much as DNA shapes life forms, but outside of the body of course. And as such, they are apparently uniquely human. This is how I understand Korzybski’s “time-binding.”

In this framework-metaphor-analogy, would you agree that “reflection, deflection, refraction and the fracturing of language” could resemble RNA / DNA dividing and recombining? Perhaps I’m asking if your work introduces and “recombines” the DNA of light (luminosity, lumen) into the sorrow of loss and darkness (lamentation)? Or is the case completely different?

Adeena Karasick: So many interesting questions, Michael. First, if we think about “time binding as a kind of recognizing of pattern recognition—how cycles emerge in conjunction with the zeitgeist, aesthetic and political and social orders of the day and bound by semantic environments and spacetime contingencies to a past which is ever  re-articulated in an ever contemporaneous present; as Korzybski might say, by abstracting nutrients, growing subsystems, which over time re-orient the narrative, language, “meaning” —  in this way it is in a sense a recombination (or in Abulafian terms, a permutation and recombination), restaged into something new.

So, yes between the layering, the looming of the lament and the lumen i’m interested in illuminating the way the present re-presented through an ever-shifting past pinned to a future that is ever-fracturing; how darkness and light are always already embedded in one another – and we see this through our very rituals. For example, on Tish B’Av, when we read the Book of Lamentations which mourns the destruction of Jerusalem, it’s followed by the kinnot, the liturgical dirges that lament the loss of the 1st Temple, the 2nd Temple, reminded of all the other major calamities, the murder of the Ten Martyrs, medieval massacres, the Holocaust. Everything gets bound in these cycles of language of time of repetition and reproduction a simulacric spiraling that bleeds into the prescience of this very moment. A moment that itself (due in part to the weight of cultural memory) fractured and re-reflected, deflected, where limerence lamentation and lumenation emanate: When life gives you laments make limnade ; )

MD:  A liminal moment. Your discussion of darkness being a form of light, or the light in the dark, reminds me of Carl Jüng and also of Robert Bly’s A Little Book of the Human Shadow. Both of course metaphorically could be seen as responses to the concept of yetzer hara (יצר הרע). However, the quantum optician Arthur Zajonc perhaps more literally addresses this light in the dark idea in his book, Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind.

Zajonc points out that the night on Earth is not an absence of light. The sun’s light is still in the sky, as can be seen by its reflection from the moon. He describes a demonstration he uses to show this of a box that has a vacuum inside—no dust, nothing. The inside is all painted flat black that is totally non-reflecting. There is an eyehole on one side to look into. There is also a light that shines from a side 90-degrees to that. And a mirror or flat object inside that is black on the back but can be rotated. The box looks “dark,” that is pitch-black, until the object is revolved and reflects the light. Then it is clear there was light in the box all along.

It seems that what you are doing is showing us that the dark / night / shadow always contains light. That darkness or shadow provide the contrast and form to reflected light. And that the light we see, as Zajonc points out, is only the reflected light. Even the sky reflects dust to become blue.

With this other, different framework-metaphor-analogy, does this seem a reasonable way to understand your hybrid title, “Lumenations”, which of course plays homophonically with illuminations…?

AK: So important particularly in these troubled times to shift the perspective, change the channel, shift the diorama, “peepholes, eyestreams” and recognize the light in the darkness; to revel in the white space, between the letters, the long silences, the emptiness, the shudders / shutters, suspensions and remember that as in the Zohar, the darkness contains the light.  Or the absence contains the presence – thinking about maybe Heidegger’s translation of Heraclitus preserved by Hippolytus (which i quote in another section of The Book of Lumenations), that even in the presencing of all things present, itself remains concealed from being present, “not as presence presently absent or an absence absently present but as the absent present that continually withdraws in the spectacle of its present absence”[i] Acknowledging how it’s so important to complicate these dichotomies, uncover its fabrication, and analyze the violence this initiates and sustains.

And like the flash of primordial letters clothed in the nothingness of being enshrouded in the disquiet of dissembling – letters, like desire itself, embodies all that is to come; comes and keeps coming in an ever-arriving future. So yes, it’s both a reflection defection, deflection, confection ; ) playing with ways all is simulacric and thereby produces a kind of co-sanguinity mirroring how like in the 2nd C. Sefer Yetzirah (Book of Creation), primordial creation is ever re-created through the articulation of each letter – which contains all the future within it[ii]

MD:  Now, how does all of this fit in your thinking with the Time of Coronavirus / “Covid moment” we find ourselves living in?

AK: Well, we’re living in dark times. And in many ways like the word COVID itself which homophonically can be transliterated in Hebrew as Kavod כבוד, which (as you know), means glory, honor and respect; ie when we congratulate someone we say Kol HaKavod, ‘all the honour’ (Good job!), or close a letter with the word V’Kavod (‘with respect’) Yet — ironically, COVID kaved is also “heavy. And throughout Exodus, the presence of God in the tabernacle is symbolised by the word ‘Kavod’ ((which is also represented by a cloud!)) So, like The Book of Lamentations itself which is mired in darkness, heaviness and cloudiness – a masking of the light, like you mentioned earlier, with reference to Zajonc, it’s so important especially now to recalibrate how we see, what we see; displace our usual systems of spectrality. Through this homophonic translation, this transpoeisis, it displaces a sense of language belonging to a particular moment but marked by chasms, folds,  paradoxes, turbulence and desire, highlights the Other in language, coveting and foregrounding its caveats.


[i]. Elliot R. Wolfson, Heidegger and Kabbalah: Hidden Gnosis and the Path of Poiesis, Indiana University Press, 2019, p.5.

[ii]. See Sefer Yetzirah, 2:2. Wesier Edition, Trans. Aryeh Kaplan, San Francisco, 1997.


©2021 Adeena Karasick and The BeZine
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poem, poetry

~ The Will of the Quill ~

(( wrote this after an extended blog conversation with another talented poet friend of mine about the limits of the written word and language. As good/succinct/clear as a writer strives to be, there always exists the possibility of misunderstanding, and that can be very frustrating! She inspired it (Thanks again, E!), and rather than use an image for this one, I think it's more appropriate to let the words do the talking this time...)
Thick as the speed of clotted thoughts,
This language suffices;
A cumbersome tool.
Experience sought (and bought)
The sacrifices
That made wiser men
From ignorant fools.

Words escape.

You. Me.
They cannot be caught,
Yet aren’t quite free,
For every one comes attached to a thought,
And for every action,
It was birthed in naught but
Electrical energy --
Brain waves of….what?

Symbols understood, with meaning,
But none can accurately catch the dreaming,
Teeming shores of what it means to live.
Sensation lingers in the mind’s mouth,
Tasting phrases.
Sifting variations of description,
Through this medium’s sieve.

It still lacks
The richness of the moment’s impact.
In fact,
It’s amazing communication takes place.
Limited as we are,
By our lack
Of (understanding)
The rigidity of moving back
And forth,
Through
Time
and
Space.

Seeking to capture a feeling,
A sight,
To explain human nature --
Thus, stealing it, right?
We take from experience,
And categorize.
We label our labors,
And ceaselessly prize the “Hows“,
And “Whys”,

But Language,
The bridge of the written word…

*sighs*

Though inadequate,
Sometimes succeeds,
And we’re “heard”.

©2009 C.L.R.
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poetry

Kelly Kaur — Two Poems

A Singaporean’s Love Affair

I utter in clandestine code 
Nasi lemak, mee rebus, mee siam 
Paratha, mee pok, char kway teow, 
Biryani, nasi padang, rojak, char siew pao, 
Roti john, mee soto, popiah, putu piring 
Embedded in my genetic soul 
Ravenous for the familiarity of 
a satiating sustenance
a childhood defined
a hungry rebellion usurped
a displaced gluttonous immigrant 
lost in a gumbo of new worlds 
a legacy of bewilderment
longingly relishing fuel
that coursed through my veins
I prattle my mindless mantra 
Durian, satay, ice kacang, kaya, teh tarik 
Ketupat, laksa, lontong, dosai, agar agar 
Putu piring, wonton mee, chili crab 
Bak kut teh, chendol, gado gado
A foreigner
Forever famished

Untitled III
Photograph
©2021 Miroslava Panayotova

Exist

sometimes it's arduous 
being colorful 
in this white world 
 
sometimes I stand out 
in the forest of humanity 
 
sometimes I fade 
in the landscape of dirt and mud 
 
sometimes I become invisible 
in the shroud of possibilities 
 
sometimes I crave to be  
a shade of nothing 

sometimes I yearn to be
simply monochromatic
 
Then you see me 
For who I am 

In that blind understanding

phenomenal love 
makes intricate connections

our disparities
fervently celebrated
by our equal residency
on this universal concourse
of life

and we all
simply
exist

©2021 Kelly Kaur
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in interNational Poetry Month, poetry

Guerrilla Poetry plus 2 more from Lorraine Caputo

A poetry reading
Digital art from photographs, ©2021 Michael Dickel

Comments on a Reading

You create images
	with words you’ve carefully chosen
		& modeled into verse
But in your droning monotone
	they fall lifeless
		before my ears     my mind

Breathe the fire you felt
	when you wrote that poem
Let the words escape from your mouth
	the way they escaped from your imagination
Let me hear the laughter       the groans
	the serenity       the anger

Your words sputter out in a constant stream
	to stop
			dead
		before reaching my Spirit


GUERRILLA POETRY

The idea ….

Take the poetry out of the coffeehouses & classrooms
	Take the voice to the streets

Small groups       3 or 4 voices united
Guerrilla strikes       poetry readings
Hit with the power of poems
		& disappear, then
	into the mundane life

		laundromats
	speaker’s circle
shopping malls
	convenience stores
		police station waiting rooms

		wherever people are
	sludging through the mud
of rutted life

Strike       with the word

Then       vanish

DO IT!

BANQUETE CULTURAL

On a ball court
in Barrio Edén
we set chairs around
the stage-buffet
we are laying

creating a different space
from the bar on the corner
blaring tropical rhythms,
from the traffic going
some place
some place else
this Saturday night

Families & neighbors
take a seat, their hungering
souls, hungering minds
feasting on the songs & stories,
poetry & mime—the visions
we serve at this 
Cultural Banquet,

a now & then breeze
softly wiping away our
sweat, softly swaying palms
to our rhythms
in this different space

©2021 Lorraine Caputo
All rights reserved


Lorraine Caputo

Wandering troubadour Lorraine Caputo is a documentary poet, translator and travel writer. Her works appear in over 250 journals on six continents; and 14 collections of poetry – including On Galápagos Shores (dancing girl press, 2019) and Escape to the Sea (Origami Poems Project, 2021). She also authors travel narratives, articles and guidebooks. In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada honored her verse. Caputo has done literary readings from Alaska to the Patagonia. She travels through Latin America with her faithful companion Rocinante (that is, her knapsack), listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth.


The BeZine Spring

Posted in Art, interNational Poetry Month, poem, poetry

Somewhere a Whirring Fan

                         “With this beginning, the unknown concealed one created
                           the palace. This palace is called אלוהים (Elohim), God.
                           The secret is: בראשית ברא אלוהים (Bereshit bara Elohim),
                           With beginning, _______ created God (Genesis 1:1).”
Zohar (I:15a)
                         “…She knows that her beloved is searching for her;
                          so what does she do?  She opens the portal to her
                          hidden room [in the palace] slightly and reveals
                          her face for a moment, and then hides it again.”
Zohar  (II.99a)
 Somewhere, a whirring fan
 in an open window spins
 possibilities into threads.
 I heard a rumor that the
 Oleander flowers shed
 their pink and white grace
 for poisonous reason.
 A car slinks down traces
 of a melted tar road.

You like to stand by the window,
 and want him to see you there,
 behind a curtain. He doesn’t
 know you or you him. He walks
 the span of street, infrequently
 catching a glimpse of blue
 eyes, a reflection in cracks
 of the cotton-hued skies.

The crow calls from a tree.
 Another day, green parrots
 screech louder than the
 traffic flees. The heat lays
 like a corpse upon our city.
 Bougainvillea bracts spot
 gardens with false hope,
 colorful arrays of forgotten
 pain turned to sweet honey.

He forgets you, though you
 never meet. And you, also,
 forget—window, curtains,
 the desire for a stranger's
 glad glance. Someone wants
 this to be autobiography, a
 short recollection of moments
 actually lived. That person never
 dreamed, does not exist anymore.

 And I never existed because I
 don’t stop dreaming. Poetry, like
 a god, provides code for an image,
 keying it to suggest a revelation-lode
 from your past. You want it to be
 my past. Parrots screech.
 A crow calls. A beautiful Other
 by the window waits. This all
 happens to you while I write

 these scenes tangled in dreams,
 whirring fans—the poem unable
 to light any form, your reading,
 this page; unable to discover more
 than bare wisps of  meaning in the
 vibrations of words—your song longing
 for someone in the infinite void. Wanting
 a mortal to read you into this, to see you
 alive, you seek a new beginning—genesis.
Asemic Writing Crab / Self-portrait
©2021 Michael Dickel

Note: Zohar refers to The Book of Splendor, one of the main texts of Kabbalah. Translations are from Daniel Matt’s work.

Somewhere a Whirring Fan is from Michael Dickel’s collection, Nothing Remembers.


©2019 Michael Dickel
All rights reserved


The BeZine Spring

Posted in Volume 8 | Issue 1 | SustainABILITY

The BeZine Spring 2021 | SustainABILITY

The  BeZine

Volume 8                  March 15, 2021                  Issue 1

Cover art: Sadness of Water
Kat Patton

Colored Pencil, 11″ X 14″