Welcome to the OS’s 7th Annual NAPOMO 30/30/30 Series! This year, contributors far and wide were gathered by four incredible curators, who are also our 2018 Chapbook Poets — you can read more about their curatorial intentions, their work, and a little more about the mission of the series here. You can navigate to the series archive, of nearly 200 entries, here!

This week’s curator is Jacq Greyja, author of Greater Grave. Their introduction to this week follows:

The willingness to follow ghosts, neither to memorialize nor to slay, but to follow where they lead, in the present, head turned backwards and forwards at the same time. . . If you let it, the ghost can lead you towards what has been missing, which is sometimes everything.

In Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination, Avery F. Gordon traces the holes in institutional knowledge — holes which become visible through a sensual recognition of that which is both missing from popular discourse and which connects, at times inexplicably, to the echoes of erasure within her own life.

[O]ur encounters must strive to go beyond the fundamental alienation of turning social relations into just the things we know and toward our own reckoning with how we are in these stories, with how they change us, with our own ghosts.

This week, seven writers engage in a like practice of unravelling how the self coincides and grows with poets living and deceased. They will lead us through varied accounts of following and hearing the murmurs of their chosen poets, traversing through both archive and selfhood. The writers present their findings intimately, at times erratically, boldly accessing the internal landscapes through which we come to know and love others: through music, serendipity, childhood, memory, (in)direct address, and waves of longing. The entries for this week move beyond memorializing the work and biographies of poets, instead submerging us within an intimate process of reading that is complex, affected, and without designated points of beginning or end. These entries, at the very least, offer us a glimpse into what Gordon calls the reality of being haunted by worldly contacts.

  1. I write this in ordered sequence, after you, Anna, and after my training as a mathematical logician, which, as I think you would understand, permeates.

2. Ordinal numbers orient themselves in relation to each other, bound together by some organizing function. Most formalized models of counting depend upon a base case and a recursive case; in this way, numbers help us to understand what it is to “coordinate” :: to account for the feeling that comes when events appear to recur, or recede towards a horizon.

3. I tried, first, Anna, to write this as a short essay. The prompt for this piece kindly explains the aim of this series in terms of mood, as follows: 
 “When I explain to participants what it’s supposed to feel like, I say, ‘you know that moment when you realize someone you know hasn’t heard of a poet that blows your mind? It should feel like that: OHMIGOD you don’t know POETNAMEHERE??!!! Wait, wait, I have something of his/hers right here. {reads poem}…oh wow I started reading him/her when I was XYEARSOLD and in THISPLACE ohmigod this happened and oh yeah and then… and then… and then…and oh yeah here’s something I wrote, inspired by him/her’…” 
 And I’m finding it difficult to explain eventfully something quotidian. Since the spring before last, I’ve read at least a page from your book every day — a rhythm of reading that evokes the pace of an ephemeris, and one I find necessary in following the pace of “Paradise (Film Two),” marked as it is by junctures.
 If an ephemeris is a model of recording motion over time by way of noting certain points of incidence, juncture, then crucially “connects the dots” — what’s unrecorded passes as a swath of motion, something live.

4. For Geoffrey Hartman writes also, in “The Voice of the Shuttle,” of “juncture” as a space for breath. This helps, I think, in thinking of the “/\ attempt to triangulate /\ the individual’s coordinates /\/\/\ amidst the group,” in “Flat White (20/20).”
 Starling flocks are best described with equations of “critical transitions” — systems posed on an entropic brink, or, in other words, on the verge of complete transformation. These flocks are known for the extraordinary coordination between the individual birds — producing the question raised in an article on starling flocks published by Wired: “TO WATCH THE uncanny synchronization of a starling flock in flight is to wonder if the birds aren’t actually a single entity, governed by something beyond the usual rules of biology.” The article continues: 
 “Mathematical analysis of flock dynamics show how each starling’s movement is influenced by every other starling, and vice versa. It doesn’t matter how large a flock is, or if two birds are on opposite sides. It’s as if every individual is connected to the same network.
 That phenomenon is known as scale-free correlation, and transcends biology. The closest fit to equations describing starling flock patterns come from the literature of ‘criticality,’ of crystal formation and avalanches”
 as well as metal becoming magnetized, or liquids turning to gas. In other words — on the threshold of a point where form is uncertain. These flocks, I learned, are called murmurations — a word that seems to flex across kinds, to estrange, to form connections.

5. The phrase “the literature of ‘criticality,’” then, startled me. I returned to these shifts, these rapid “turns” in your poems; in part, to remind myself of the possibility of revisiting, of experiencing over and over, the same brink — the same moment of transformation. A move, in your poems, which seems to trope on the notion of a critical “turn.”

6. I remember a Saturday in March, 2016, when you gave a reading at a house in Oakland. You read from “Flat White (20/20)”—it was my first encounter with the work.

To accommodate the space of these empty brackets, you read these moments as a sharp, hissing exhalation like static. The room was warm, and so full that every body touched. I don’t think I’m imagining when I recall that our breathing began to synchronize; the feeling of the bodies around and touching mine falling into the same rhythmic press of air.
 Mel Y. Chen writes, in “Toxic Animacies, Inanimate Affections”: “Standing before you, I ingest you. There is nothing fanciful about this.” This helps, when thinking of

as you write in the poem running continuously along the bottom border of each page in your book. What is happening in the room. 
 “Someone enters a room; before being the eventual subject of a representation of this room, he disposes himself in it and to it. In crossing though it, living in it, visiting it, and so forth, he thereby exposes the disposition — the correlation, combination, contact, distance, relation — of all that is (in) the room and, therefore, of the room itself. He exposes the simultaneity in which he himself participates at that instant, the simultaneity in which he exposes himself just as much as he exposes it and as much as he is exposed in it. He exposes himself. It is in this way that he is [a] ‘self,’ that he is it, or that he becomes it as many times as he enters into the disposition and each time that he does. […] the ‘each’ of the ‘Each time,’ the taking place of the there and as there, does not involve primarily the succession of the identical; it involves the simultaneity of the different.”
 (Jean-Luc Nancy, Being Singular Plural)

To triangulate what has already been said, to make simultaneous the different.

7. Anna, I’m afraid of failure, and I’m afraid that this has branched into a (perhaps related) fear of triviality. Jack Spicer writes in a letter to Lorca of writing that captures the real — of “live moons, live lemons, live boys in bathing suits” — and, as I learned during the time I was learning from you, I’m anxious in desiring real connections, real relationships between things, though as you remark,

More shamefully perhaps, I’m afraid, sometimes, of the easy answer, which makes me feel foolish for being fraught by the question. “Things do not connect, they correspond” — a remark I can’t help but read in relation to your book — so I write this to, and following, you, in hopes that these correspondences and connections might account for something.

8. With this prompt, I was “invited to share work of [my] own that demonstrates [your] influence.” Anna, more often than not, it feels like everything I write is a mode of learning to read you. This, I think, over-literalizes the common experience of affection—in other words, this is just to say, I’ve been affected by you. 
 You write in “Paradise (Film Two)”:

Yours, as ever, 

최 Lindsay lives in Berkeley, CA, where they currently study and work as the editor in chief of Berkeley Poetry Review. Their writing can be found in OmniVerse, Apogee, and Bettering American Poetry Vol. 2, and their chapbook, Matrices, was published by speCt! books in 2017. A poem from this series is featured in the Berkeley Art Museum’s exhibit Way Bay. They are a 2018 Kundiman Fellow, and they are also currently working on editing an issue of experiments in translation and collaboration with the Swedish journal Ordkonst.

Anna Moschovakis‘ books of poetry include They and We Will Get Into Trouble for This (2016) and You and Three Others Are Approaching a Lake (2011), and her translations include books and texts by Annie Ernaux, Albert Cossery, Claude Cahun, Jean-Luc Nancy, Pierre Alféri, Samira Negrouche, and Robert Bresson. Moschovakis is a long-time member of the publishing collective Ugly Duckling Presse, where she heads up the Dossier Series for investigative texts. She lives in Brooklyn and Delaware County, New York, where in 2015 she co-founded Bushel Collective, an experimental storefront space for art, agriculture and action. Her first novel, Eleanor, or The Rejection of the Progress of Love, will be published in summer 2018.