Kim Rosenfield - Using words and phrases culled from linguistics textbooks and language-learning manuals, Rosenfield invites the reader to experience everyday vernacular as dislocated affect. What happens when language acts as organ donor?

Kim Rosenfield, Lividity, Les Figues Press, 2012.


In Lividity, poet Kim Rosenfield works within the outskirts of language, draining it of connotation and excess. Using words and phrases culled from linguistics textbooks and language-learning manuals, Rosenfield invites the reader to experience everyday vernacular as dislocated affect. What happens when language acts as organ donor? When language, the conveyor of our vulnerability, is transposed into new and often failing terrain? Are expressions of meaning vital enough to keep the organism functioning? What happens when meaning loses its moorings?
Lividity compels the reader to navigate through language that sinks, coagulates, empties out, and becomes a forensic tool to determine linguistic/poetic cues of movement within or towards a concept of meaning making. Rosenfield’s poetry unsettles and disorients, but ultimately examines. It is an analysis, a scientific picking apart of communication and the limits of self expression.
Lividity is mind and body enmeshed in its own traces.
Lividity is published as part of the TrenchArt: Surplus Series, with an introduction by Trisha Low and visual art by Klaus Killisch. It is Kim Rosenfield’s second book to be published by Les Figues, along with re: evolution.

“Language in Lividity pools in interstitial spaces of not-not-myself. Faced with the extreme everyday, with already-emitted notes we yet melancholically cling to, Rosenfield ignites the awareness that we can never be seamlessly located in our own shell casings, fleshy or otherwise. If, as Robert Creeley so famously asserted, “speech is a mouth,” here its lips are boiled red.”— from the introduction by Trisha Low

“With Lividity, Kim Rosenfield taps glacial glossa to palatial palate, as ‘this endpoint of language comes very close to touching the hard palace.’ Penetratingly wry, sensual, and self-reflexive, it entrains the mind with a sculpted spatiality that re-construes and hallucinates all manners of articulation and interlocution. ‘They have made it with a richness and expression that we must pay homage to like we pay homage to the indispensible devotion attached to our laboratory of creation…’
One other thing. I think it rips through your clothes when it takes you over. Windows found some shredded long johns, but the name tag was missing. They could be anybody’s. Nobody…”— Lanny Jordan Jackson

In the Victorian fashion of a high school second language class, anyone who reads Lividity is interpellated by its disciplining clarity—one becomes complicit in its reformative action upon one’s own subjectivity. In reading Rosenfield’s poem, like an act of recital, one puts one’s own brain and mouth through a re-performance of the lesson—as a repressive self-disciplining intended to level out language into some kind of proper English in the (dis)guise of colloquial conversation. The relations between poet, book, and reader become a network of simultaneous and unequal colonizations.— Nick Thurston

Nick Thurston on how Kim Rosenfield’s Lividity and Steven Zultanski’s Agony both convert the long form poem into an act of hyper-objectification, and how both do so to brutally contemporary effect:
In an age of acceleration and over-production, wherein the very ontology of published language has been transformed by its reformation through and as principally-digital data, the most intelligent and imaginative poetic responses seem to have come from the field of so-called Conceptual writing. Basically this is because conceptualist approaches to cultural production demand that “makers” consider what they make in the context of their field or community at the level of social epistemology as well as that of the projective imaginary. That is, the maker-subject recognizes herself as just one producer within a specific community and history of possibilities that are united by some shared concerns (technical, political, economic, geographic, sexual, whatever), and which are in turn embedded in other communities and histories of production. Those maker-subjects re-imagine those shared concerns by holding them together, often in dispute, which means that they don’t have to agree on what those concerns “mean,” but that they do privilege them as a/the problematic(s) for their community of production. The job, then, is to develop that shared problematic(s).
Conceptual writers are writing beyond other communities of literary practice because they’ve taken the risk of advancing the problematic(s) of poetry, whereas other communities of poetic practice (at least the ones who are producing textual fields that we would currently recognize as “poetry”) are failing to even at least sufficiently develop the problematic(s) of poetry in our age. At present, the conceptualist approach to writing (which is something that expands before and beyond so-called Conceptual writing) seems to be exploring what it means for poetic writing to be “contemporary” in the most interesting way right now. And the contemporaneity at stake in this contemporary moment seems to be being shaped by the unprecedented tension between a pair of facts that are perfectly articulated in Kim Rosenfield’s doublet “THE BRUTE MATERIAL OF WORDS. THE BRUTAL MATERIAL OF WORLDS.” (Lividity, p. 165), partly because of what it says and partly because she makes no claim to having said it first.
Rosenfield’s doublet is just one brutally eloquent moment within her sixth book of poetry, Lividity (Los Angeles: Les Figues Press, 2012). The slim volume format that frames Les Figues’s TrenchArt series is engaged, typographically, by Rosenfield’s composition, which literally descends through and down the book. It starts with a sequence of short corrective aphorisms, each set to the top baseline, one-per page, that begin, “The naturalization of vowels and syllables are atoning for an encore” (Lividity, p. 21). Its second section drops eleven lines down the page and explains, in textbook prose, how said corrections can be implemented through five phases of workshop learning. The remaining 120 pages of the poem do exactly that, implementing the corrections, enacted through the re-enactment of “micro-conversations” (Lividity, p. 45), figured as a five-part assemblage: a systematic explanation of the structuring of speech; a repetitious vocabulary list that enfolds consonance and assonance into an elocution exercise; a stuttering transcription of one or several sample interlocution(s); a “giving to the republic” (Lividity, p. 163) of what has been learned, converted or put to use in an all-too everyday Anglo-Saxon language act (i.e., a shopping list); and closing with a lesson plan or presentation about the relationalities that might now be established or re-negotiated by the newly conversant, proper speaker within a community of like-speakers. The inherent aggressiveness in the very concept of “implementation,” as something taught-learnt and insisted-internalized, is the central tension throughout Rosenfield’s poem. In creating that tension she presents proper-ness as the root conviction of colonial literary development:
Each of our 25 micro-conversations will become easier to put in place while forming a chronological suite that is solidly enchained. Each one constitutes a step closer to a sojourn in an Anglo-Saxon country. (Lividity, p. 164)
The whole poem is typeset in the blandly informatic Futura font on chemically sterile white paper. Its dual movement through and down the book is supposed, paradoxically, to lead us through a progression, a linear learning experience. In the Victorian fashion of a high school second language class, anyone who reads Lividity is interpellated by its disciplining clarity—one becomes complicit in its reformative action upon one’s own subjectivity. In reading Rosenfield’s poem, like an act of recital, one puts one’s own brain and mouth through a re-performance of the lesson—as a repressive self-disciplining intended to level out language into some kind of proper English in the (dis)guise of colloquial conversation. The relations between poet, book, and reader become a network of simultaneous and unequal colonizations. All three parties are changed conceptually by this inter-relation (the book in this case being the site or length of the long form poem) and yet remain lumpenly, corporeally, morphologically, the same; reminding us that conceptualist work produces, first and foremost, conceptual affect.
In this sense, the book functions like the livid corpse of one processual, accumulative language act; an act that was an act of capture registered on a restless palimpsest; a palimpsest understood as a material matrix that is somehow restlessly corporeal and somehow confused by its own restlessness. Here the long form disjunctive poem, as a book format and as a genre of poetry, has been put on the slab, still alive but strapped into a stasis, like the Condemned in Kafka’s “Penal Colony,” as a site for a polyvocal inscription, but one that willfully collapses or augments its different stances, tones and voices as if the poet wants to witness their collapse into endless encores. As Tricia Low alludes in the title of her short preface, Rosenfield’s book is a kind of autopsy. And whereas the poet’s will-to-collapse, to enfold voices, to same the different, will still be seen by some as an aggressive perversion against subjective difference, I would argue that it is exactly this calculated objectification that marks the book as so seductively and brutally contemporary.
From its opening aphorisms the rhythm of Lividity works on a principle of “Constant Sufficiency” (Lividity, p. 171). The constancy that it benchmarks couples a clinical tone with a covetous kind of bodily-ness: it is constantly about the physicality of “saying the right thing” in speech or in writing about speech. Although long, the poem is sparse and intense, precise and concise. In a different but equally considered way, Steven Zultanski’s third book of poetry, Agony (Toronto: Book Thug, 2012), also uses a conceptual license to hyper-exaggerate objectifying affects. Structured into two untitled parent sections, Agony refines a method that Zultanski played with in his first book, Pad (Los Angeles: Make Now Press, 2010). It involves making comparative measurements to taxonomise something(s) that are overly close to the poet, in body or mind. Riffing on Daniel Spoerri’s Annecdoted Topography of Chance (1962), in Pad Zultanski listed everything in his apartment according to whether or not he could lift it with his dick, and this quasi-autistic impersonalizing of the personal (his organ and his place) made absurd the masculinist formal showmanship all-too common to the avant-garde tradition that Conceptual poetry has inherited.
In Pad everything is measured one-way, against/by his dick. His dick is, if you like, the fixed, and his relationships are the variable. In Agony, the benchmark or units of measurement change figuratively for each section—different things, or at least different aspects of one thing (the poet’s body), are compared against different things in “Lives,” “Mouths,” “Hours,” etc. What is more, within each section, the “measure” and the “measured” establish a disfiguring, mutually affecting relationship, rather than a one-directional “holding up to / with.” This comparative method is transposed from statistical analysis and Zultanski uses it to make improbable comparisons between really different materials in the world. By hyper-extending the quantifiability of the fixed he manages to unfixes it, in turn unfixing the understanding(s) that he had pegged to it—of other things and of the method itself—as a kind of bizarrely logical negation. As a consequence, Agony performs a relentlessly intelligent deformation, through over-exaggeration, of the genre of confessional poetry, reaching an apotheosis in the second section of “Self Portraits”:
If all of the strawberries in the world made up only 100 strawberries, then each of those strawberries would weigh 44,092.452 U.S. tons.

Given that the total world production of strawberries for one year is around 4,409,245.243 U.S. tons.

And that the average weight of a single strawberry is 2.59×10.5 U.S. tons.

So each of the 100 big strawberries would be equivalent of 1.70×1011 average strawberries.

Given that the average volume of a strawberry is .75 cubic inches, we can assume that the average volume of a big strawberry is 1.1275×1011 cubic inches; very big.

My very biggest personal fear is of dying of cancer.

The invisibility of metastasis leads me to believe that the process must have already been underway for some time now, for who can say how long.

For cancer cells can break away, leak, or spill from a primary tumor.

Just as juice can break away, leak, or spill from a big strawberry, as it becomes squeezed or rotten.

If one wanted to squeeze a big strawberry between two fingers, say the index finger and the thumb, which are good fingers for squeezing, one would need fingers that were, say, 6.375×109 times bigger than they are now, if one were using my own hand as an example of the average width potentially spanned by the thumb and index finger.

It’s possible, if I were to have a cancer of the thumb and index finger, that my fingers would grow so big, though in all probability I would die before reaching such an ambitious goal.

Given the way I feel about cancer, that its invisibility is a sign of its presence and malignancy somewhere in my body, let’s assume that I already have cancer of the thumb and index finger. And that it’s spreading outwards, stretching my fingers toward their eventual monstrous proportions.

And by proximity and necessity, my hand is growing bigger too.

I can’t see it, so I know it’s there. My big hand, that is.

                    (Agony, pp. 121-3)
More often than not it is explicitly the poet’s own body or self-perception that is measured, quantified, and disfigured in drawn out informal paragraphs. And those paragraphs are topped and tailed by remorselessly short, single, framing, spoken statements:
Let me see.

Given that the average female breast protrudes about two inches from the chest, we can assume that the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, is 16,104 breasts tall.

Taipei 101 is 10,026 breasts tall.

The Shanghai World Financial Center is 9,684 breasts tall.

The International Commerce Centre is 9,528 breasts tall.

If the Petronas Towers were stacked, one on top the other, they would be 17,796 breasts tall.

So. Let me see now.

We would know the exact height of the five tallest buildings in the world, measured in breasts, and, additionally, the exact height of the tallest twin buildings in the world, if they were stacked, measured in breasts.

The average single-family two-storey house in the U.S. is 144 breasts tall.

The avergae U.S. man is 34.95 breasts tall.

The average U.S. woman is 32.15 breasts tall.

Given that the average height of one story of a house is 48 breasts, we can assume that when the average U.S. man stands in an average U.S. room, there are 13.05 breasts between him and the second story, if there is one, and that when the average U.S. woman stands in an average U.S. room, there are 15.85 breasts between her and the second story, if there is one.


                    (Agony, pp. 43-4)
I have no idea if the calculations are correct, which is in part the point; but they quickly become mazy and unfathomable, which I also suspect is part of the point. The inadequacy of all of this averaging starts off a glitch or oscillation between the categories of fixed and variable, which unfolds much like a Google Map over-processing too much detail. The narrator’s hyper-clarity becomes unwieldy, “his” syntax clunky and calculations impossible to follow, like a Google Image search that condenses representations of the actually real within the space-time of the virtually real. Like Rosenfield, and like Samuel Beckett at his best-worst, reading Zultanski’s poem out loud makes your jaw ache and your brain strain. In the case of all three poets and both modes of reading their work, this production of strain is perfectly measured and relieved just before the breaking point:
Look at me.

My right hand index finger is 3.4 inches long, whether pointing at myself or not.

If I sliced two inches from it, it would be 1.4 inches long.

I could still point at myself or anything else. For example, this flowerless vase, with a circumference of 15 inches, at widest, which I used to be able to more or less comfortably grip, but which now if I’ve sliced two inches from all of my fingers slides right out of my hands.

Given that the two-inch slice would cut directly into the knuckle of my index finger, I could then fit the leftover stub into the vase, until my half a knuckle’s stopped up by the lip, as a cork is stopped up by a bottle.

This stopping is due to the knuckle’s width, and not to the fatness of the finger. Thus the further slicing of my fingers would free up their essential thinness, and allow for a greater versatility with regards to fitting into holes.

The pinky finger of my right hand is now .8 inches long.

The ring finger of my right hand is now 1.4 inches long.

The middle finger of my right hand is now 1.75 inches long.

The thumb of my right hand is now .45 inches long.

So if I sliced two more inches from my fingers, I’d end up cutting jaggedly into my palm, which would thus retain the same asymmetry that my hand already retains with all its fingers in full.

But my arm, if measured from shoulder to scar, would only stretch for 23.75 inches.

With no chance of holding this vase, in any usual sense of holding.

                    (Agony, pp. 91-2)
Even knowing that Agony is only the first in a planned trilogy makes feel a stressful kind of excitement. The sheer scale of Zultanski’s project and the force of intention needed to actually realize it are part of the performance. The weight of conviction and the kind of labor necessary to construct something like this trilogy both put pressure on the way that we think about the doing of doing poetry. These poems are totally controlled and totally controlling—wholly unapologetic and brutally seductive—obsessive and yet disinterested.
It is on these levels, of control and performativity, that Lividity and Agony problematize the project of conceptualist poetry in a newly demanding way. Both books tell you what they are going to do and then do it, but do so through demonstration rather than explanation: They enact what they are, hence their all-too present thing-ness and their self-reflexive performing-of-the-book (understood as a site and context for knowledge production and literary reproduction). Both books also speak at the reader not with the reader—they don’t invite a conversation, in any sense—and they both refuse the reader any illusion of ambiguity. One might misunderstand or just not understand either poem, but not because they’re unclear. Both use prosaic and instructional modes to be brutally clear and materialistic, even corporeal and invasive, via a narrated, quasi-objective stance—talking to the outside about the inside of the body, its constitutive spaces and functions—prodding, poking and explaining from the outside-in—talking to themselves in the mirror yet consciously demanding all of our attention from the sterilizing distance of printed type on a mass-reproduced page. The brutal curiousness of both Lividity and Agony is brain tingling.
What both poets construct are intensities and densities of spoken language and/or language about speech. Yet their constructions form a literary texture that is not verbal nor simply written nor even the familiarly poetic. Rather, they imagine the crisis of speaking, of being a body that speaks; and they both project that imagination in styles of textual acuteness that could only ever be written—that are linguistic beyond speech. They at once obsess over and deny speaking—they write the unspeakable, and in doing so differently re-imagine what it means to speak about the self. - Nick Thurston

Kim Rosenfield, USO: I'll Be Seeing You, Ugly Duckling Presse, 2013.

USO: I'LL BE SEEING YOU is at its core a parable of performance and service. How does one perform/serve issues of identity, race, politics, and the essential vulnerability of what it means to be human? What is language in service of and when does it go too far? What degrades? What supports? What is heroic? What does it mean to put oneself at risk or in harm's way? This book speaks via the poetry of stand-up comedy to the U.S. involvement in the Middle East and the difficulties of naming the unnameable.
This book treats themes of race, politics, religion, gender, power, sexuality, and trauma within appropriated, amalgamated frames of stand-up comedy and comedians entertaining the military via USO performances in war zones. As Freud theorized, humor, like dreams, carries unconscious content that makes the unspeakable explicit. The idea of this book is to investigate undigested collective cultural taboos that have historically only been able to be metabolized through vehicles of popular culture, especially comedy. Ideas of personhood and sense of self within the abovementioned themes is challenged through multiply subjective iterations, non-narrative structure, and appropriated language systems.

Reading this text is a full body experience. Breath and heartbeat shift, speed up and slow down. Kim Rosenfield sets this text somewhere between prayer and vaudeville shtick. A reader cycles through laughter and something like incantation. Between. Perhaps that’s the point. Limenal. Written to be read at the busy intersect of overlapping Venn diagrams, pulled many ways. A workout. —Adrienne Harris

USO: I’ll Be Seeing You situates poet Kim Rosenfield’s fascinating ongoing performance of language’s late capital war on itself in the troop-entertainment industry. What better place? If in her last brilliant collection, Lividity, words from everywhere issue forth from a single loose fleshy mouth, in USO language laughs in long skinny lines like tears down the snout. It’s a “comic” performance of “nothing [i.e. memory-avoidance]” for mutilators or the soon-to-be mutilated that suggests no trace of thought is allowed to rise above the stench of disintegrating flesh in the war zone. Rosenfield’s riveting acting out of “finding the funny” once tragedy’s certain/volume/of/time/contingency/passes can be taken as a trope for a major issue facing the culture in our time. —Gail Scott

Just when you thought no book or nonprofit organization could ever attain greater heights of hoakiness, USO bursts into true reveries of lyric transcendence—offering a devastating critique of American imperialism at its most off-color. This may be the most important exposé of the off-duty American military since All In: The Education of David Petraeus. This is a pageturner—and a major contribution to conceptual writing in the twenty-first century. "for most/ tours/ we fly/ the categorical/ leg/ of the outing/ blurb/ thereafter/ it’s time/ to/ “soldier/ up”/ on the single/ trip/ the blurb/ moody/ had/ problems/ as good as/ we got" Need I say more? —Paul Stephens, co-editor, Convolution: Journal for Critical Experiment

Kim Rosenfield, Tràma, Krupskaya, 2004.

Kim Rosenfield's TRAMA is her first book since the award-winning GOOD MORNING--MIDNIGHT--of 2001. TRAMA is both a festive and a frightening book--Rosenfield has the quiet tones of Gepetto's workshop, the mummery of harlequinade, and the terror of the giant swallowing fish. "TRAMA," she says, "embodies a child's tale but redesigns it to pit the mistranslated circus of personal ambition against public episodes of wronged military might." "Kim Rosenfield narrates the trajectory of 'an unluxurious piece of wood' in a unique language whose inflections have an exhilarating effect. Her TRAMA is a dance of the elements charged with a keen sense of the absurd" - Rodrigo Rey Rosa

Put this on the shelf (oh but please take it off again) next to Ashbery’s Girls on The Run, the book-length proses of Carla Harryman and Stacy Doris, and your DVDs of Guy Maddin, L’Atalante and Wladyslaw Starewicz’s The Mascot—fairy tales creepier to adults who know a thing or two about “ammonia and advice,” and perhaps less about keeping balance in a world of eternal, Buffy-style recurrence. Rosenfield’s part collage, part suede and suave therapeutic technique creates a “voice” that wavers, furtive yet spikily resonant in the amplified tick of the second hand, as the carnal “self” is further contaminated by the freezer-burn of a world run by patents, portents, and hawkish impatience, yet begs to extend its lease with the mirror stage. Read this book for its honey and ash, and sleep easier. — Brian Kim Stefans

This deceitfully comedic tale is one of terroristic proportions, like a Cocteau film sent through the tortuous digestives of a black widow's belly… “Was it borne of someone?” While the “poor little guys” and “little dear ones” act steadily to sublimate the violently enchanting surroundings, the scene somehow becomes all the more de-sublimated. How does this happen? What a predicament! Kim Rosenfield’s narrative circuits take us on a romp through the psychic forms of our “civilian” lives. “Dear men, my lines.” Dear reader, step lively!— Laura Elrick

Verbal exploits mimic narrative ones in this nuclear-age version of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio. Rosenfield's previous book, Good Morning—Midnight, winner of Small Press Traffic's 2001 Poetry Book of the Year Award, offered a multi-faceted examination of feminism in a media-driven world. Here, she draws us deftly into the fairy-tale's primeval darkness to reveal the glow-in-the-dark fears and dangers of a world at war. The New York-based Rosenfield lived a number of years in Florence; the title is Italian for weave, conspiracy, and plot. A patchwork of voices, by turns philosophical, psychoanalytical, lyrical, and technical, urge, scold, and pester one another: "no guys, you are wrong and have to be sublimated," says one. Forest, village, marmalade, rich cream, and pieces of gold mingle with gasoline, Plexiglas, and bodegas—and with famine, welfare and unemployment. In the book's longer second section, the pseudo-narrative bursts its britches with chaos and violence. Characters named MOAB ("Mother of all bombs" in weapons parlance), Fatwah, Rambo, Dr. Nitrate, and Ms. Missile menace our hero, "Poor Little One," as makes his way through an apocalyptic History City, eventually to be tortured by the sinister Leader of the Camps ("On this night, said the Leader, you will really learn to cry"). These encounters make for a terrific careen through "the heart of the furor that produces such insurgence." - Publishers Weekly

Kim Rosenfield, Good Morning—Midnight—,Roof Books, 2001.

"For those trying to understand the relation between innovative writing and feminism, Kim required reading"-Juliana Spahr. By sampling and blending the languages of science, money, beauty, and fashion, Rosenfield presents a critique of how these languages define and limit women. "Kim Rosenfield's long-awaited Good Morning-Midnight- is a rollicking expose of twenty-first century custom, superstition, procedure.An olfactory must for all time capsules and poetry shoppers alike"- Stacy Davis. "A Japanese-made little flight-attendant-esque scarflette// I don't have much of a waist/ This will give me a waist.// Prada citizen!/ Vote the party line/ The Slim Skirt party.// This isn't brain surgery/ it's a skirt" (from "Wisdom Frost").

“New York poet Kim Rosenfield finds the pivot where body image, conspicuous consumption, self-esteem, and ‘dome parties at Vassar’ form a crushing day-for-night in Good Morning—Midnight—. With withering linguistic looks and razor-sharp wit, Rosenfield deconstructs the sets of beliefs that hold media-created women together.” ...From the "Cool Clean Chemistry" of "Maximum Sapiens" to "The Acquiring of Frisky" and "Eurowarm" ("I am woman I am not demented"), New York poet Kim Rosenfield finds the pivot where body image, conspicuous consumption, self-esteem and "dome parties at Vassar" form a crushing day-for-night in Good Morning Midnight . With withering linguistic looks and razor-sharp wit, Rosenfield deconstructs the sets of beliefs that hold media-created woman together, "Novel hormonal status, household of spells MGM spectacular You know, something to do with her own life." The book's four serial works produce their own spectacular brand of "SHA-din-froy-dah," by which "Fashionation" victims might recognize themselves and "Jump! It's Argyle Day!"— Publishers Weekly

Kim Rosenfield, re: evolution, Les Figues Press, 2009.

Delving into the fissures of language as an opportunity to create something new, Rosenfield appropriates texts from various fields of knowledge (evolutionary theory, psychoanalysis, advice on the science of living, and feminist theory) to rewire ideas of authority, subjectivity, and expert opinion. The resulting re: evolution is part text-book, part poem, part song-of-science, part feminist guide-to-living. Presented alongside research and analysis from a literary critic (Sianne Ngai), a poet/academic (Diana Hamilton) and an evolutionary biologist (Jennifer Calkins), and coupled with images by poet/artist Yedda Morrison, re: evolution begs the question: what moves around what?

“[…] Viewing the instability of language as an aesthetic opportunity, Rosenfield fuses appropriated texts from different genres (including evolutionary theory, psychoanalysis, and feminist theory)to create a radically disorienting textual topography.”

“Rosenfield has created a poetics of anti-fetishism that is, remarkably, just as pleasurable, funny, and creepy as the kind of fixation of obsession it critiques […] No small or hairless feat, this is the same queer anti-fetishism which we see in the writing of poets like Mina Loy and Stacy Doris.”– Sianne Ngai

“re: evolution takes evolutionary theory and reconstitutes it, reinterprets it, illuminates, deconstructs and critiques it. re: evolution transfers the theory of evolution into historical context and breaks it open.”
Jennifer Calkins

Kim Rosenfield, A Self-Guided Walk, City on a Hill , 1996.

Kim Rosenfield, Some of Us, Quija Madness Press, 1982.

Recently in Berlin, Kim Rosenfield the conceptual poet presented a paper on “poetics in the invitational mood.” ☼ This invitational mood as described by Kim Rosenfield the occasional essayist involves multiple subjectivities, multiple objectivities, multiple temporalities, and many Kim Rosenfields—including “Kim Rosenfield the arena” and “Kim Rosenfield the perfect hostess.” The invitational mood as enacted by Kim Rosenfield the clinical psychotherapist is the understanding that Kim Rosenfield the conscious subject is, like all sentient subjects, an objective set, and the set of Kim Rosenfield is an incomplete set insofar as it does not include not Kim Rosenfield, and the set of Kim Rosenfield is an unsettled set insofar as it alludes to Kim Rosenfield the audition. ♫
For, according to Kim Rosenfield the oral history, the invitational mood invokes “try-on” language. “Try-on” language is language that “unthinks” its otherwise static associations and syntax. “Try-on language is like the best adolescent, or Jackie O., the fashion icon, able to occupy multiple mes in a life that is au courant and à la mode. According to Kim Rosenfield the building inspector and Kim Rosenfield the fun-at-parties, every now includes a then, and every then is replete with the to-become. If Kim Rosenfield the as-if knows anything, it’s that I = me + them sure as this way = that way = this way + that way.♫ And thus, Kim Rosenfield the prime number makes poetry that is an ode to telemachus, to the transmigration of souls, not in the dubiously optimistic here-to-come but in the more cobbled here&now, for Kim Rosenfield the imparfait is present-tensed and stuffed with plums of sadness and great glee, scientific disambiguation and corporate pep-talks, common sense from common people and shoes that shine gold and silver and never say Stop!♣
True to her absolute rejection of absolute truth, Kim Rosenfield the definite article allows for a field of definite articles: “the” is always many: there are only local truths. Kim Rosenfield the store locator also knows, just as Kim Rosenfield the tear-stained-face suspects, that each definite article is in this way an article of real faith, to be had, even temporarily, at the price of some other mark of oneself, equally personal, equally precious, equally degraded, denuded and netted in the same thin web. Giorgio Agamben writes about “life’s subjection to a power over death and life’s power over death and life’s irreparable exposure in the relation of abandonment.” The terribly tensile “thes” of Kim Rosenfield the vice principal constitute the awful ongoingness of us, that part where abandonment meets resistance meets a well-turned ankle and a hole in the Wall. Alain Badiou observes that the state is founded, not as a social tie, but as an untying that binds: the ability to exclude from the state is what constitutes the state. Kim Rosenfield the tool box praises the pathos of the personal liaison and the historical enchaînement, poetic practices that are feminist politics to the felt beat of the tambourine, O yeah.♫ Because Kim Rosenfield the you-can-jive has abandoned the divide between inside and outside, that false comfort which is so comfortable for poetics of the ironic gestural and personal polemic varieties.{∞}
Meanwhile, Kim Rosenfield the true story is to Vanessa Place the jurisdiction as Kim Rosenfield the loss is to not Vanessa Place the sentence whereas Kim Rosenfield the whatever is Vanessa Place is the Kim Rosenfield. And we are all of us the better for it.☺


[My Feminism is Near (Yay!)
(Based on the Transition Revolution Franchise Model)]

Feminism in my work is about building resiliency. Feminism, I say, depends on working together, not building bunkers. Feminism is about reducing the impact of what comes out of the tailpipe of society, putting new systems in place to help it withstand the shocks that come so we can plot a path of elation rather than of guilt, anger, and horror. My feminism is a kind of coming-out party meant to engage the public in my work. It’s like any other civic organization. My feminism can harness the “power of human energy,” and address the world’s gloomiest challenges without shoving them into denial or depression. My feminism is located in the Panida Theater, a classy old movie house in Sandpoint, Idaho. “Sandpoint, are you ready?” My feminism is deeper—more radical—than mere greenness or sustainability. My feminism gains heat from my neighbors and they from it. It isn’t a very romantic notion and maybe achieving status so easily is a sign that its not really talking the level of paradigm-busting work needed to be awakened in us. Maybe it will turn out to be regrettable, but maybe it could be unusually constructive. My feminism already lives a scaled-down life. It is quite tall, with a ponytail and moustache. It’s already bartered, shared, and canned together. Tradesmen, workshops, cultural institutions, and farmland surround my feminism. I make my feminism as self-sufficient as possible. For a generation, feminists have told us to change our lifestyles to avoid catastrophic consequences. My feminism tells us those consequences are now. My feminism can be a bridge to carry us over the terrible time ahead and into a world we long for. It is a force somehow outside us. My feminism emphasizes hopefulness over fear & focus over messiness. I like having a dishwasher. My feminism might topple governments, alter national boundaries, incite wars, and challenge the continuation of civilized life. Feminism is inevitable. But this is a feminism that could be fantastic. My feminism came to me in a dream in which there’s no problems, there’s only solutions. My feminism is starting to career down the other side of the hill, which hill, specifically, is up to you. But it’s the shadowy side, and none of us can see the bottom. My feminism is the mottled product of a century of migration. My feminism is going to journey into 2030 and see what’s there for us. My feminism is trying to look on the bright side of an America with less. My feminism is a good tool for the job. I can pick it up by whatever handle I grasp. I can swing it as earnestly as I can.

Eight discourses with Kim Rosenfield

Kim Rosenfield.

Discourse 1.
Divya Victor: As the epidermis opens a body, the epigraph opens a book. Your choice of epigraph to the first section of Tràma takes from Natalia Ginzburg’s The Little Virtues. Ginzburg is an expert taxonomist of the domestic remnants, the civil debris, the uncivil de-ballasting of National reconstructions, and an archivist of the things that remained buried after “we” rummaged through the debris of wars, of traumas, of losses great and small. In this, she is also like a gravedigger and her work is never done. Your Tràma, like her work, often excavates, devours, and inverts that pleasing Anglican claim “All things bright and beautiful, / All creatures great and small, / All things wise and wonderful, / The Lord God made them all.” In Tràma, the treatment of cultural memory, fable, mythology, and childhood appear equally invested in cures as in casuistry, in curation as in curiosity, in dreams as in demonology — the latter in the sense of Frankenstein warning Walton that what is created will become a myth, and thus more dangerous than the act of creation itself. What the Lord God made includes these things in the argument moving through your book.
The movements of Tràma’s body musculate, like all good physical activity, provoking the sphincters that emit and excrete — generating waste and wonder in the same convulsion by digesting and rehearsing the texts that are passed down from mouth-to-mouth to record the trans-historic journeys of “Poor Little One,” the “guys,” the various scoundrels, orphans, assassins, the “Beautiful Child with Turpentine Hair,” unnamed Little Match Girls and boys of fairytaledom, and the texts that are buried in the earth to form “History City.”
I read an archive of small things treated as if by a lepidopterist: spread, pinned, boxed, and gazed at — except the lepidopterist is also a mighty historian and an amateur storyteller with a terrible memory. The narrative Father, cultural memory, the “proper place,” are usurped repeatedly by an angry mob or miffed Möbius that twists and continues the tales. Even as the epithets march forward briskly (“Some people bust with violence because they are sensitive to rumor and take big breaths to fan themselves against persecution”), they are immediately assaulted by their own skidding on the banana-peel-syntax and prosody of these prose pieces.
Could you say more on the musculature of the book? What went in, what came out, and to what processes of appropriation and excavation did you devote your writerly lepidopterology? What of the species interests you?
Kim Rosenfield: First of all, Divya, I want to thank you and Jacket2 for giving me this opportunity to delve with you so deeply into my own work.
The musculature of Tràma was based on Winnicott’s idea of “the mysterious middle” in which the infant takes in nourishment, excretes it, but there’s this magical strange thing that happens inside the infant’s digestive tract that is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat — I guess one covered in shit! Tràma’s exists in an infant-like state in which there are fragments of a self and disjunctive experiences of self and experience, but coherence or how the world is navigated has to come from an outside organizing subjectivity: the mother, the reader. Also, there are no brakes on fantasy — fantasy is magical and terrifying at times. For adults and small children alike there are often many blurred spaces.
I wrote Tràma shortly after the 9/11 attacks, when we’d just moved to Florence, and my daughter was three and synagogues in France were being bombed and water in the Tibor and drinking water in Rome had almost been filled with poison, and trains were being exploded in Spain and my Italian neighbors said to me “welcome to the world.” I was like Poor Little One in a spoiled state of wonder, naïveté, and pure shock. Tràma moves like the larvae before it is caught as the specimen, before it looses hold on “potential space” — Winnicott again.

Discourse 2.
Victor: I’m enjoying the way you are playing with the metaphors of the questions. Particularly that of digestive processes and lepidopterology, and I must thank you for indulging my whimsy. The shit-covered Rabbit that represents the “mysterious,” “magical,” “potential” processes of an infant’s digestion — that space which both inundates the economy of the drives, but also floods categories of what is and is not abject and worth ejecting, and the larvae that pre-exists the lepidopterist’s fancy: these both, excrement and butterfly, are specimens par excellence. We’ve relied on them foreva to tell us more about ourselves. This makes new things, by the way, of Alice going down the Rabbit hole — something quite appropriate for how I feel when I read Tràma — except, the timelessness of Alice’s fantasy world is, in your work, something that resembles the emerging history of a subject in the context of (psycho)analysis.
This leads me to wonder about the role of speech, voicing, the circuit of listening in Tràma and your mutual participation as poet and psychotherapist. Consider the following:

page 49, snip snip, from Tràma:
I am speaking to you, Poor Little One. You who knows the sweetness of salt, who believes that money can be gotten from seminaries, and who recognizes the right to camp as a last Will and Testament …
I don’t understand you — said Poor Little One, who began to tremble with fear. Patience! I will speak better: Sapiens put all their errors into their Cities.
from “6 Valentines,” snip snip, from Object 8:
Sacrifices may not result from
recognizable diseases
The girl retains the figure of her
hears a noise: a tick, a knock, or a tap
A woman should protect herself
against the sin
of sexual exploration
The instincts and their vicissitudes
the genitals being one’s real self,
they must be protected
Two little girls in a closet
from the “boy struck” period
Didn’t you ever shimmy down a pole?
Or rupture that bubble? 
Dora the Oral Explorer, aka Dora La Exploradora Oral, is adventuring all over the Freudian landscape of the latter piece, and I sense too a working through of constructions of subjectivity around the mouth, the genitals, the orifices of edification, if we’re talking Old School. This seems to emerge later in Tràma as well — I recall, especially, one of the characters suffering a “night kaka” when he falls into a bear trap? In Tràma, it seems like the history of a subject, say Poor Little One, is a dossier or confabulation that builds around the kernel of an allegorical narrative between the ego and what he says — except, what he says is never clear, formally. The shuttle between speech and narrative forces a double listening, like an auricular double-take — as you say, because there are “no brakes on fantasy” — so, what moves us is the slip of the tongue. I am thinking too of Lacan’s reminder that the analyst “takes the description of an everyday event as a fable addressed to the wise.” This seems like a great and reversible description of some of the processes in your prose. I believe your work as a psychotherapist is in a different vein, but would you say there is a circuit between the speech-based work of psychotherapy and the project at hand? How does your own faith in a circuit between audition and vocality relate to how you work as a poet?
Rosenfield: I really don’t think that we can ever express anything very well through language but it’s (sometimes) the best or only thing we have at our disposal. So much happens outside the aforementioned circuits that is transmitted “unwittingly” in both writing poetic texts and being involved in a co-constructed therapeutic matrix. Yes, emerging histories of a subject in the context of psychoanalysis, but psychoanalysis as its own “sobject”[1] is also one of the histories in the room. What reflects off what?
Like the discovery of mirror neurons that help us understand the meaning of actions as well as actions themselves — this is a neurological function, well outside the limits of language. I think, in my writing, I’m trying to channel my own mirror neurons or at least some collective societal ones. In my clinical practice, I’m trying to do the same while also incorporating someone else’s hard and soft wiring into what organizes me, them, and us. In my poetics, so much more of this can come through in a live reading.
I haven’t seen those Object poems in one million years. I hope I didn’t come across in them as Old School, although they feel very old. I was trying to illuminate the limitations of the Old School. I was trying to enliven constructions of subjectivity through orifices of thinking. Right now, if you were here, you’d see me tweaking my mouth and clenching my buttocks to illustrate this point.
Next discourse please …

Discourse 3.
Victor: The critique of Old School — what a strange phrase now that it also refers to a Will Ferrell movie! — is apparent in several texts in your oeuvre, Kim, from the older poems from Object to more recent work like 10 Perfumes put out by Belladonna, and poems featured in the Gurlesque Anthology, and so on. Your poems from Good Morning — Midnight —, like “Excelsior Reflector” and “Maximum Sapiens,” appropriate, cite, and mangle a wide range of cultural texts from scientific treatises and medical brochures to archaic now “bankrupt” biological theories of race, psychological case studies, pop magazines, cephalic indexes, anthropological texts, canonical literatures, and so on. In “Excelsior Reflector,” for instance, I spot references to William Langland’s Piers Ploughman. In 10 Perfumes, the thematic movements from the ephemeral fragrance of essences towards the putrid stench of political and materialist critique pulses with citations of/to F. T. Marinetti’s work.
These citations suggest ways of reading and attention as classification — but of failed or partial classification, which is very compelling. The intricacy of the network of references certainly multiplies, as you say, “the histories in the room.” But these histories reject the total bankruptcy of some of the documents they are built around, while also eyeing them suspiciously. This is the position that echoes both the shock and naïveté that you referenced earlier — the potential, blurry space of encounter with texts that precedes ideological judgment/acceptance/dismissal that are the symptoms of a (ahem, ahem) “Proper Education.” The larval engagement with many of these cultural materials, prior to pinning them down in the lepidopterist’s archive, is routed so as to return us to questions of gender and the semiotics of gender performance within the contexts of reading. So, to return your question: “What reflects off what?”: would you consider appropriation a way of reading, or re-reading a gendered cultural education?
Rosenfield: Yes, I would, but more as yogic counterbalance — moving opposing forces simultaneously in divergent directions engenders (pun intended) new flow (associations to this word welcome). Please see eloquent discussion above for a fuller answer to these questions. Also, I was raised with an extremely airtight and problematic relationship to authority — respect it at all costs, even if it might harm you, so therein lurks the tension or “blurry space” of my encounters with the Old School. Sadly, some of these archaic theories are not as “bankrupt” as they should be — think Sarah Palin or see Sue Grand’s essay on Sarah Palin — “Strange Vaginas: Us and Them.”[2]

Discourse 4.
Victor: Arielle Greenberg, one of the editors of Gurlesque Anthology, makes an interesting claim about your poems featured in the collection: “Here, as elsewhere in Rosenfield’s work, fashion is made central, adored and fetishized while criticized and deconstructed. The two attitudes coexist in ragged harmony.” I think she’s spot on in claiming this “ragged harmony” — it’s another kind of “blurry space” that we keep returning to in our conversation between the “fetish” and its “deconstruction”; it’s another way of thinking of those erotic zones posited by the difference between a hem and a sock, a sleeve’s end and the hand’s beginning, a lash line and an eyeball, a stiletto and the coy ankle. These raggedly (arbitrarily) demarcated zones of the imaginary body are flayed open as spaces of critique in your poems.
The work takes what we misname “superficial,” like fashion and the semiotics of gendered performance, to its critical end: as an absolute surface for social projection and identity formation in the citation of codes. These codes appear as commodities in your work to crowd every girl’s “own Blueprint for Heaven” as she performs the “unwitting burlesque of base female crime” as an “ever ready & waiting Xerox machine.” Could you say more about your interest in surfaces of projection — the fumus of perfume, the mirrors of fashion, the glad cladding of appropriated robes? How do you imagine the “unwitting burlesque” of the feminine and feminized? How does it relate to your participation in this anthology and your participation as a female poet?
Rosenfield: The work featured in the Gurlesque Anthology is older and very specific to themes of fashion/gender that I was working with at the time. This “ragged harmony”(I really like Arielle’s explanation here) of toggling between both an adoration and critique of these topics was really being sorted out in that text, Good Morning — Midnight —. I was also working out my position in the community as a young female poet who was interested in all the complexities of fashion, makeup, perfume, adornment, and personal/physical aesthetics that I felt were somewhat taboo subjects in my community, or at least considered insignificant. Stacy Doris was the only other writer I knew at that time also investigating these themes. There was an implicit rejection — I felt — of the feminine then, and, being so femmy myself, I had to find a way to work through what I perceived as a gender barrier.
I’ve since shifted my thematic focus less on fashion and more toward science — see re: evolution — and a psychological, linguistic, yoga zone that I can’t really describe — see Lividity forthcoming from Les Figues in 2012. I’m applying the same ragged harmony in that work to blur up a dominant discourse or to carve out a more interactive field that has always been the organizing principle in my work, both as a writer and as a psychotherapist.
Lately I’ve been thinking about this structure as an “as-if” or “invitational” space. When language becomes invitational, posited as a “try-on” rather than “this is so and has always been so,” we begin to experience it as a realm of possibility in which we can consider our most cherished personal and cultural assumptions to be tentative — as if — rather than unchallengeable truths. The as if stance of language helps us accept responsibility for our own belief systems and assumptions. 

Discourse 5.
Victor: Kim, at the end of my interview with Vanessa Place, I asked her to ask one question of the next interviewee, and I will ask you to do the same when we approach the end of our conversation.
Her question to you was this:
Quel est le point de basculement? [3]
What is your response?
Rosenfield: Le point de basculement implique certaines conditions:
Le prix du petit déjeuner comprend un boisson (café, thé, chocolat) servi dans la chambre tous les jours avec du pain, des petits pains ou des croissants, du beurre et parfois de la confiture.
Il ne comprend pas le service dans la salle commune ou au comptoir, le breakfast à l’anglaise (avec oeufs, jambon, gruau …); il diffère généralement du tarif “voyageur” ou “courrier.” [4]

Discourse 6.
Victor: I enjoy the way you’re linking the tentative “trying on” and the responsibility that one does/does not/must/must not assume “for it,” and I am particularly fascinated by what you’re calling an “invitational space” — I was just talking to my students about gender roles and performing dominance, and we got to discussing the current obsession with vampires as upsetting certain ideas of sexual dominance (their argument, not mine) and the issue of the invitation, in which the so-called “victim” must invite (“let the right one in” etc.) the so-called “perpetrator” into a zone in which she can be nominated as such. New vamp/ire ethics. Though the analogy fails here because the reader and writer are more neck-to-neck than necking, imo … anyway. This is perhaps the fanged inverse of your notion of the invitation, but it’s the risk that’s interesting too — that difference between hospitality and hostility has, perhaps, “ne s’entend pas pour,” it is, perhaps implied as, a certain condition.
This praxis of “trying on” does lead me towards your re:evolution more directly — the dialectical somersault between adaptation and maladaptation of forms and “truths” towards the “as if” of creaturehood. There are fantastic mutations and malappropriations in this book, where taxonomic relations between art and the cosmetic are smuggled into Picasso’s studio in Helena Rubenstein’s handbag, where “molecules hang like dinner lamps,” where the exhibition of organs in formaldehyde with furs, bones, and skeletons conspires as a “small collection of deaths,” where vocality is troubled and everything speaks in tongues. The varieties of discourse cited and the types of address to the reader within the poems, as well as the multiple authors “present” in the form of the book, confabulate and fraction out polyvocally.
The book is part of Les Figues Press’ Trench Art: Tracer Series, and in keeping with the tradition, features an introduction by Sianne Ngai, an “analysis” by Diana Hamilton that follows your poems, and a “Research Paper” by Jennifer Calkins. But these genres are parodied even as they are mimicked — imitation as camouflage? These writers respond, collude, conspire, and discuss your work, but seem to do so in a temporality quite different from other book-forms that contain forewords and afterwords. They seem to talk alongside, or with, or over, evolving, mutating, and adumbrating the possibilities of the poems, rather than concluding them for us. How would you describe the process of putting together this form of the book? Do you see it as a collaboration? Other than these writers who are you presently colluding, conspiring, and in conversation with?
Rosenfield: The invitational mood has little in common with the vampyric coding of domination/ submission, victim/victimized, as I understand it (or don’t really understand it at all). But I like this idea from your students that permission needs to be granted, consent must be established before the ultimate takeover. It’s all so titillatingly S/M. I don’t think my work has that kind of direct play with power but is more blurry or muted.
The invitational mood is about this idea that language and ideas are a “try on.” In re: evolution I’m attempting to invite the reader in to formations of history, to shop theories of science, gender, etiquette to browse and see what fits or what doesn’t. My aim is to offer an invitation to break from inherited ideas of “truth and meaning” by offering multiple constructs of language and ideas. Language can thus become an open system of “accumulative fragmentism” (George Kelly) challenging ideas that language gives us access to the way things are. I’m very interested in Irit Rogoff’s work and her ideas of “without.” Without is a frame that encompasses knowing we have a vast array of theoretical models and histories to work from. But what happens when we’ve come to the edge of what they have to offer? We don’t turn our back on them but find ourselves in a new place that does not yet have a form or definition. Without doesn’t operate through lack, but rather through an active attempt to make way for something else to emerge. In re: evolution I was trying to work from that space.
Putting together re: evolution was a very collaborative process. Me, Teresa Carmody, Vanessa Place, Sianne Ngai, Diana Hamilton, Jennifer Calkins, Yedda Morrison, Ken Ehrlich, Susan Simpson — we each contributed a piece to shaping the book and taking it outside the nucleus of the text. Like literary lysosomes! The images and accompanying texts both articulate and mess up further the “authority” of the form and content of the text. Or as you so evolutionistically put it: “mutating” and “adumbrating” the text.
Currently and always, I’m collaborating, conspiring, colluding, and in conversation with my family, my pets, my patients, my study groups, my poetic community, my neighbors, my neighborhood, my city, my state, my country, my race, my gender, my sexuality, my socioeconomic class, my DNA, etc. But I would like to make something with the Mulleavy sisters if they’re listening, and the newly minted ghost of Benoit Mandelbrot.

Discourse 7.
Victor: A question sprouted up today: I was reading a new essay by Judith “Jack” Halberstam and was suddenly reminded of something you had said earlier in our conversation about authority and behavior, something that I too feel quite acutely. I know we are not talking about this, per se — but I am very curious about what you make of this.
We need to craft a queer agenda that works cooperatively with the many other heads of the monstrous entity that opposes global capitalism, and to define queerness as a mode of crafting alternatives with others, alternatives which are not naively oriented to a liberal notion of progressive entitlement but a queer politics which is also not tied to a nihilism which always lines up against women, domesticity and reproduction. Instead, we turn to a history of alternatives, contemporary moments of alternative political struggle and high and low cultural productions of a funky, nasty, over the top and thoroughly accessible queer negativity. If we want to make the anti-social turn in queer theory, we must be willing to turn away from the comfort zone of polite exchange in order to embrace a truly political negativity, one that promises, this time, to fail, to make a mess, to fuck shit up, to be loud, unruly, impolite, to breed resentment, to bash back, to speak up and out, to disrupt, assassinate, shock and annihilate, and, to quote Jamaica Kincaid, to make everyone a little less happy! (from “The Anti-Social Turn in Queer Studies”)
I was raised with an extremely airtight and problematic relationship to authority — respect it at all costs, even if it might harm you, so therein lurks the tension or “blurry space” of my encounters with the Old School. (Discourse 3)
Query: Is there a place in art, as you see it right now, for disobedience, for being a total and excellent bastard, for this claiming of the “anti-social,” for this examination of the fetish of happiness, for the “monstrous”?
Rosenfield: First of all, I love this passage from Halberstam and think her work is extremely important. What I gravitate toward here is the idea of failure, messiness, “disobedience,” as you name it. All these ways to speak of the “anti-social” in poetry offer an attempt to open a new window of discourse (most notably in Flarf and Conceptualism). There is some meta-overlap with queer theory (and we really can’t say this about mainstream poetry that is defined by a long history of lyricism and modernist tradition) in that both are not widely accepted discourses and both certainly do not aim to make everyone happy. I think my work attempts to create that space by fragmentizing subjectivity and trying to do away with the frame that values something as either inside or outside, high or low. I think claiming the “anti-social” always demands roughing up what is culturally considered smooth.

Final Discourse.
Victor: You said that your next book, also coming out from Les Figues, will continue your thematic interest in science as in re:evolution and will move in a “psychological, linguistic, yoga zone.” The title of the book, Lividity, is provocative: it recalls the centrality of the intersection between affective, ethical, and biological responses to the environment that is taken up throughout in your work. I’m thinking especially of “livid” stemming from “bruise” or that bluish blackening of the flesh that suggests both the stagnation and the circulation of blood upon psychic or physical crisis/impact. “Lividity” also suggests “vividity” — both stagnation and exuberance of life forms — and usually refers to expression either of the countenance or verbal forms. But I know nothing else of the project. Could you say more about it here? Is/was this book built around the collaborative model of re:evolution?
Rosenfield: I first heard the term “lividity” in a description of a murder trial in which a body was determined to have been moved based on an assessment of its “lividity,” or way in which the blood had drained and pooled in the points of the body that made contact with the ground. I thought this was an amazing way to think about language and I wanted to make a book in which it felt like blood was draining out of the text, hence a few words/lines per page. I’m not sure if I really pulled this off as I’m prone to excess, so we’ll see. I also like this idea you bring up of “vividity” or “exuberance of life forms” and “expression of verbal forms. The book also deals with language as acquisition, and as a transactional medium, like money — necessary and functional, imbued with power and emotional. I think of Lividity as more of a lone wolf and it won’t be constructed as communally as re: evolution was.
Victor: Kim, talking with you has been an incredible experience, and I am so grateful for the time you’ve spent with my questions. My only wish is that we had face-to-face conversations in addition to this.
Rosenfield: What a pleasure to talk with you vis-à-vis your astute interpolations of my work. I learned so much! Thank you for your unwavering attentiveness.
Victor: At the end of every interview, I request one question from the interviewee for the next interviewee, as a way of generating continuity and conversation between poets, and also as a way of constructing a series of questions that the interview process might have generated for you. Your question, should you choose to provide it, will be put to Myung Mi Kim, verbatim.
Rosenfield: Question for Myung Mi Kim: What is the role of poetry in your personal life and how do you see poetry’s function in the social/political sphere?

1.  For more on “sobject,” see Rob Fitterman and Vanessa Place, Notes on Conceptualisms, published by Ugly Duckling Presse.
2.  Sue Grand, “Strange Vaginas: Us and Them,” in Psychoanalysis, Culture, and Society 2009.
3.  “What is the tipping point?”
4.  “The tipping point implies certain conditions:
The price of breakfast includes a hot drink every day (coffee, tea, hot chocolate) served in one’s room, with bread, rolls or croissants, butter, and sometimes jam.
It does not include: service in the common room or counter service, English breakfast (with eggs, ham, porridge …), and it generally differs from the “traveler’s” or “postman’s” menu.

Kim Rosenfield, Excerpts from “Verbali”
Recuperate krylon cocoa
Recipe brindled aromatics
Predisposed to sensorial schedules daily kaka
Diffusion of disgust
Creation of a network for each agent who participates
in rotting cocoa (pleading of tasting).

The marriage must be celebrated.  I unite 1/2 oleo with the Noble Old!  The Noble

Let me lead you to the base of the brain of the cocoa.  Distilled 100% in mother-bath and limbic ram.  Each time a stoppered bottle comes to penetrate the plantagenates of cocoa, from that thing in the memory, to a time when the earth will be perfumed with cocoa.
The Cult of Cocoa
The cult of Cocoa signifies a belief in gusto and
1) Information of consumerism
2) Conservation of our biodiversity

DON’T SLEEP but combat the logic of the marketplace which has produced a uniform taste and almost extinction of cocoa.  DON’T SLEEP but rise up from the forest and press on the art of respect and patrimonial genetics of each variety borne on an ecosystem complete and delicate.  The noble and oily seeds of the Ancient and New Worlds.
DON’T SLEEP but be a protagonist in this romance of the knight of cocoa”
DON’T SLEEP – bear the logo of cocoa – the rose of cocoa – the corsair flag, all integral ambience.  The forested heritage raining commercialized national genes
DON’T SLEEP but be recognized throughout the world for cruel originality
92% of the harvest of the world will be less pregnant (a bottom taste of razzmatazz and astringency, a grade of superior fermentation)
In this great centennial year, cocoa lives in a salvaged state, declining the best from a vital circle. Interdependent, needing the shade of the banana tree and humid earth
Give me mud, parrots, and small meatballs which are the favorites of cocoa.  Gas, abandoned and gushing from the decomposing fruit of the brain.  Safeguards signify the extinction of pocket-space from the hands of men. Durations of tonsillitis materializing in a war in which we can’t loose our heads.  Undesirable dispersions of viscosity
DON’T SLEEP but be natural and rich like a fruit in season 

Why are secondary aromas so important?
Because there exists a certain + correlation between aromatic traits on the one hand and persistent sweetness and roundness on the other

Esmereldas, warm tropical scent.
The freshness of spring foam, the strabismus of Venus, aftertaste of golden tobacco.

Frankness, the synthesis of the 3 balances of elegance thanks to a soft, fine brush stroke
Porcelana – the pearl of elegance, ricotta in its elegance

(Grazie per pensare)
Best Wishes to all you enamourds
Love is an aspect of perfume splendour lacquer
baking soda ocean ferns air song

Venus cleanses and tones people who take by the hand their kisses 
Walk through the door of this here night 
But people who lead, they are not next
they never will be the people who are next

(The weasel with a branch of rue)
Victory loves care
(The oyster opening in the sun)
Deservedly precious, she came forth from the sky and the sea

Like every year, you risk to create a speculative.  One of the major curiosities will be the presence of the subconscious of Luciano Pavorotti (and Caroline of Monaco who milks her son with love)
Another year and the pharmacy becomes indispensible.  Panorama of medicine.  After having mated a giraffe’s head with a woman of the world and three months before the state proclaimed him the sexiest man of the year, this fascinating actor crescendos (contrary to fathers, doting, and steely auto-controlled)
No.  A woman with propane in the dreams of her desires emphatically adds acid to the presence of another woman and of a child.  The public feminine, a night of underdog love
Napoleon is happy anywhere

What estate becomes a city of the world?
Impaired, strange language, important for your tomorrows 
Important to keep you gassed and also experienced 
Unforgettable, to bring a dove who has a tongue and speaks to us 
A local, international dove, consecrated ragamuffin of 50 Easters 
The spy who studies becomes peaceful and also diverting!

I am woman
I am not demented
extravagant, singular, extracted, curious, counter-current, nor of a volcanic and electric nature

I will continue on this road to master my passions
Fishing for allure, style, and fascism of man
What body do you want?
Marvels have allies

(A proverb recited each night, with every scandal, will ensure 3 days of marvels) 

In this region, in this world of ours, rich in grain and rubbed evidently with emotion, is truly the marvel of our fugue. With its negative and positive polarities like a manifesto of all animal states complete and befogged, resuscitated from memorabilia.  That is to say, from the most beautiful person that can provoke admiration and joy, in a word, blitz 
Marvels are not a simple surprise. Nor a co-payment for closure in time.  An alabaster core with something that we cannot visit but evaporates into quasi-existence.  Many volts to treat a funny piston


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