by Sina Queyras
I wasn’t involved with Drunken Boat for Number 6, so looking back at it in preparation for this piece I was surprised to find how well it captures my own concerns at the time: thinking about how sound and history might go together, what a poem might feel like as video, or web art. For me, poetry was bursting out all over. I had heard the squishy sexy sounds of Latasha Natasha Diggs, in whose “Channel 9” and “erzulie” are included here, performed at Belladonna. I had been introduced to the urgent and sensual texts of kari Edwards. We had been corresponding briefly online and it was around the time I met her after a reading in Brooklyn.
Aside from the relevance of people like Edwards and Diggs, there were poets such as Mark Bibbins and Lyn Lifshin buzzing through New York. The moment captured. The other surprise was the amazing interview with Norman Mailer.
Recorded in 1987, in the kitchen of Mailer’s Brooklyn Heights brownstone, Mailer’s presence here offers a sense of the arc of conversation—not linear, not ordered or thematic but a seemingly random and inevitable part of the conversation, as much as Nick Fox-Gieg’s video “Techniques for managing Anger.”.
That’s what is exciting about Drunken Boat. How it captures the continuous evolution of discourse, the buzz of poetics and visual art experimentation, the various ways we make our marks.