Maureen Alsop

often create visual art as a memorialization to the closure of a written work. However, many of these visual pieces arrived as a trajectory while writing a larger 'work-in-progress.' The text within the visual poems do not speak to the content of the larger work but are autonomous, acting as bridge between the written and visual bodies. The original text draws upon ghosts in the hall of battles. It is a glittering solar analemma, an unattested revolution, an infinity reflected in ellipses, omissions, and disintegration. A full collection representing many of these images came to fruition recently in Tender to Empress (Wet Cement Press). Yet the act of creating from text continues, as the digital collages here also include newer works based on miscellaneous notes, old emails, and most recently a short story, "The Unnamed Woman of Mary River" (forthcoming at South Dakota Review). The title to these are based on cargo ships which I pass on my daily commute from island to mainland. These small cities of people, afloat for weeks on end out at sea, are a looming story that embarks and disembarks in my imagination.

The visual poems are crafted under the mechanics of "Écriture Féminine," literally "women's writing." These principals advance a feminine perspective. I write from parallels, cyclical slips through stream of conscious and fragmentary processes. The writing exists as rough erotic. As talisman. Interpersonal in their ruptures and syntax, soft in their discomforts; a splintered narrative. Through writing, I can go anywhere and never be found.

These visual poems give a physical means by which I am able touch the text without betraying the unrestricted prose which runs in a subterranean current, raw, and unformed. Thus, the collages allow the imagination to stay open and simultaneously suture the language into a new arrangement.

My increasing interest in Écriture Féminine mechanics arises from a resistance to traditional constructions and a personal understanding of writing through intuitive procedures, sublimation and surrender. People are often uncomfortable with ambiguity, experimentalism. Anything too contemplative can be confronting or exhausting in our current culture of "urgency" wherein digestible answers arrive upon immediate demand. These visual poems/digital collages embrace interrupted lines of thought. The collages provide momentum. Each architecture is embraced as a unique resolution. Conventional narratives rely on plot, character, linearity, but these prescriptions avoid conjuration. I live with the illegible, the lawless. I wade through the brittle grass at midsummer. I divert from the line. I come seeking. If an intersection exists, a trinity of place or time or incident, it lives just under the skin. I touch it. I lose it.

Sensuality is a moment of recognition: the self, the and the subconscious communicate, the moment one's eyes open in the dark for the sake of the dark.

When I work, the body surrenders the mind. It is without trauma, without betrayal. A city I once lived in surfaces . There is an otherness which appears as grief. The ghost of the one who went missing was the ghost I found. My city is a ruin. Grief too is an inconclusive process.

Absence repeats absence. I'm housed in an accumulation of text to pressure myself into the earth, to become physical, to examine the body's conclusion. You disappeared here. I follow you into fractured spaces where consciousness merges, this unity is a both flood and dissolution where there is no "he" or "she" or "they" or "I" or "we;" What remains is you.

I imagine the medium into which you appeared.

I go seeking, not through experiment, but through somatic integrity, a kind of surge through the body that I may land upon, live within, elaborate. As a means to pursue image and language, these digital collages allows for illusion, engage in the restructuring of time. The images allow for invention during the processing of language, the unfinished, and allow for movement, breath. Collage is a means to pursue image and language. Overlays give consummation to time as a form of physics, wherein time itself is an illusion to be flattened. These visual pieces give air to the prose by which they were branded, yet they

independently and simultaneously establish a separate domain.

Compassion is the mantle for healing through art, to treat oneself with compassion is to treat oneself remorselessly with love. To be compelled by words, which become my own language, of my own nature, as steps into splendour, into solitude gives way to self understanding. The will to write is an the act of the body which is also the action of mind, the touch between eye and finger and throat, the invisible the instantaneous, intangible.










Maureen Alsop , Ph.D. is the author of Tender to Empress; Pyre; Later, Knives & Trees; Mirror Inside Coffin; Mantic; Apparition Wren (also a Spanish Edition, Reyezuelo Aparición, translated by Mario Domínguez Parra); and several chapbooks including Sweetwater Ardour; Nightingale Habit; and the dream and the dream you spoke.

She is the winner of the Tony Quagliano International Poetry Award through the Hawaii Council for the Humanities, Harpur Palate's Milton Kessler Memorial Prize for Poetry, The Bitter Oleander’s Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award, among others. Her poetry was recently shortlisted for Montreal International Poetry Prize.

Her poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Laurel Review, AGNI, Blackbird, Tampa Review, DIAGRAM, Action Yes, Drunken Boat, Memorious, The Kenyon Review, Typo Magazine and featured on Verse Daily.

She has a debut short story forthcoming with South Dakota Review.

Her translations of the poetry of Juana de Ibarbourou (Uruguay, 1892-1979) and Mario Domínguez Parra are available through Poetry Salzburg Review.

She teaches online with the Poetry Barn. She is a Book Review Editor and Associate Poetry Editor at Poemeleon. She holds a MFA from Vermont College.

32 Poems
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