Kristin Prevallet - Screw the wisdom of old men, let’s hear about their stupidity. The only sustainable resource left on this planet is humility: humility is renewable

Kristin Prevallet, Trance Poetics: Your Writing Mind, Wide Reality Books, 2013.
Trance Poetics Introduction

Drawing from the fields of clinical hypnosis, neuroscience, energy psychology, and poetics TRANCE POETICS: YOUR WRITING MIND will stimulate your creative and intellectual processes and give you new ways to access the images, memories, feelings, and language that lie beneath the surface of your conscious awareness. A guide into the world of poetry, language, and consciousness this book will bring a freshness and authenticity to your writing process.

Access heightened states of language and consciousness to enliven and expand your creative process.

"Trance Poetics poses neurological frameworks for entering such mysterious realms as divine inspiration, epiphany, metaphor, free association and automatic writing. As Prevallet takes the reader on a wild brain-mapping adventure, she continuously traces a history of language that reifies the power of poetic intelligence." - Marissa Perel

"Trance Poetics is a magnificent guide to hidden sources of linguistic happiness. Kristin Prevallet gives inspiring, practical advice on how to invigorate one's creative practice, and how to rediscover the delight of unfettered play. This book--a magical toolkit--has the power to reawaken dormant verbal resources in all of us. Rapture and gratitude are logical responses to the gift that Trance Poetics bestows on its lucky readers." - Wayne Koestenbaum 

"Is there a more important -- or more necessary -- vocation for poets today than showing others a way to process for themselves the epiphanic possibilities of our beautiful, difficult existence? To experience these beautiful difficulties, as Kristin suggests in these pages, in ways that reconfigure one's most deeply-held beliefs regarding self and world? Trance Poetics: Your Writing Mind is more than just a navigational tool for poets; it is handbook of epiphanic possibilities for absolutely everyone interested in living fully alive."  - Sharon Mesmer

Kristin Prevallet, You, Resourceful: Return To Who You Want To Be, Wide Reality Books, 2012.

The new book from the critically acclaimed author of I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time. This book will teach you powerful and strategic ways to use your creative mind to rewire your brain using metaphor, internal narrative, and the placebo effect. Synthesizing the latest research in neuroscience and mind/body medicine, you will learn how to change habitual patterns and access your inner resources in a refreshing new way. Integrating techniques and ideas from the fields of clinical hypnosis, biohacking, Neuro-linguistic programming, Cognitive, Behavioral, and Energy Psychology, You, Resourceful: Return To Who You Want To Be will help you to open lines of communication with your unconscious mind in a language that it will understand. Melissa Tiers, award winning author and celebrated hypnotherapist, writes: "Kristin Prevallet has written a little book with massive implications. Bringing a poet's eye to the unconscious, she beautifully simplifies the complexities of the mind and makes practical the path to change. This book is an active metaphor we will all do well to walk within."

This book blends over five years of experience and research as a clinical hypnotist with my own personal struggles -- including my daughter’s tics and my life partner’s addiction. I know the emotions of trying to maintain calm in the midst of constant turbulence, and I used to torment myself reading self-help books that seemed to proclaim some ultimate and total relief from all of life’s stresses. When I finally realized that there was no magic carpet that would fly me into the perfect life (and no health insurance to ease the burden), I hunkered down and dealt with my anxiety and depression by using the only resources I had available to me at the time: my inner resolve, creative imagination, and ability to take small steps.
I wrote this book with the intention of passing down the knowledge of inner healing in a way that integrates both alternative and scientific approaches-- to be intellectually meaningful yet soulfully understood.

I, Afterlife: Essay In Mourning Time

Kristin Prevallet, I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time, Essay Press, 2007.

Much admired by her contemporaries for her experiments in poetic form, Kristin Prevallet now turns those gifts to the most vulnerable moments of her own life, and in doing so, has produced a testament that is both disconsolate and powerful. Meditating on her father's unexplained suicide, Prevallet alternates between the clinical language of the crime report and the lyricism of the elegy. Throughout, she offers a defiant refusal of east consolations or redemptions. Driven by "the need to extend beyond the personal and out the toward the intolerable present," Prevallet brings herself and her readers to the chilling but transcendent place where, as she promises, "darkness has its own resolutions." According to Fanny Howe, here elegy and essay "converge and there is left a beautiful sense of the poetic itself as all that is left to comfort a person facing a catastrophic loss."

"This is the quietest and most intimate book by one of our best poets" - Forest Gander

Kristin Prevallet delves into loss and grief in this collection of essays and poems I, Afterlife: Essays in Mourning Time, where a stunning precision in language cracks open the elegy exposing both its limitations and its necessity. Prevallet begins by turning first to another poet, Alice Notley, allowing Notley’s “At Night the States” to function as an echo that reverberates around the edges of this text. Notley’s dedication to poetry and her direct handling of death become a springboard in this book, launching Prevallet into her uncovering of how the elegy performs on the page. Prevallet boldly confronts the reader’s expectations by heading straight into the burning core of this text: how to make sense of the suicide of her father, if such a process can even be approached. “Preface” begins the book with a narrative that outlines the events surrounding her father’s suicide and tries to define how sublimation works in regards to grief: “this is elegy,” the poet announces. In part one, “Forms of Elegy” Prevallet tries to understand the language of grief, exploring how emotion is handled within the form and how solid words try to capture the inexplicable. She even questions the function of poetry to communicate this at all:
There is a connection between the insect and my father that goes
beyond the physical presence of one and the absence of the other.
I know precisely what that connection is.
But you, in reading this, may never know.
I may refuse to reveal the truth of what I am mourning.

This statement forces the reader to examine what exactly is being revealed and what is being withheld; the loss of the father and the violence of his suicide become the surface for whatever murky waters lay beneath. This is how elegy speaks, Prevallet says, again and again throughout the text, but she also asserts that the voicing of grief does little to fill the holes in the story or to bring light to that which remains veiled in mist.
Prevallet’s spatial relation to grief is sharply condensed in this text as the reader is forced to confront at a rapid pace a movement that took the author several years to express on the page. The effect is startling and troubling; Prevallet’s language tears into the body and then seeks to keep the wound from healing. Visually, the layout of the book is jarring as black pages stand out starkly against the white space surrounding her text reminding the reader not only of the traditional Western mourning color but constantly drawing the eye of the reader back to the illusion of black and white interpretations. As well, the images that accompany, “Crime Scene Log” unnerve and throw the reader off balance. The grayscale, grainy images are presented as though they reveal something about the text directly below them, but what that is remains unclear. Are we seeing the crime scene or the lack of the crime, and what can be contained within these precise squares with their varying hues? Prevallet challenges the reader to “see,” and the lack of clarity is as frustrating as the author’s desire to know her father’s mind the day of his suicide. In these squares, Prevallet suggests that there are large spaces that are neither black nor white, and by looking into them the reader experiences the mind’s desire to make sense where there is none. One may discern a square, a grave, an asphalt lot, an ultrasound, a ghostly mirage, but how does the interpretation match the description of the police officer’s report about the crime given below each picture. Ultimately, the images and the words speak two different languages.
“What is the language used to describe a person who has deceased?” Prevallet asks bringing the reader’s attention to language’s ability to create a gap between experience and communication. Words literally are abandoned within part two’s poem “The Distance Between Here&After” as Prevallet tries to talk about the “unspeakable,” but she returns to words acknowledging that these are her tools for navigating through the gaps in her life:
——————————Commence. Again.
One more Time. Start over. Here.

This text is an investigation into the elegiac form and its context within the process of grieving; it offers no solution, but instead circles like a season haunted by loss that turns into another with no pause for the particulars of death. - Megan Burns

More reviews:
Intercapillary/Space (by David Berridge)
Mark Wallace
Selah Saterstrom
Kevin Killian
Laura Hinton
Poetry New York
(by Erik Podhora)

Kristin Prevallet, Alter§Body, Least Weasel Press,

Here is an interview about the book for The Next Big Thing:
What is the title of the book? Alter§Body
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?This is a book about the unconscious mind. Therefore, the form it takes is strange.
Where did the idea come from for the book?I’ve been reading the case studies of the hypnotist Milton Erikson and started paying attention to certain phrases that he was repeating. I realized that these phrases, even extracted and presented out of context, tell the larger story of the patients’ inner struggles as well as of their healing process, which begins as an altered way of thinking. This led me to think about the healing power of language and its effects on the unconscious mind which surfaces in the space between the symptom and the words that are spoken.
What genre does your book fall under? Poetry, psychology.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?I’m reading Nick Flynn’s memoir The Reenactments about the bizarre experience of having his core life traumas reenacted as a film, with Robert De Niro playing his father and Julianne Moore playing his mother. In one chapter, Nick recounts a hypnosis session I did with him the day after he and his real-life father watched the film. Hypnosis is one way to “see” how the movies that are playing in our minds trigger emotional reactions in our bodies, and visa versa.
During our hypnosis session Nick was able to reenact a movie in his mind which reflected his core traumas and his healing process, which reflected a scene in the movie in which Robert De Niro played his father, which reflected all of the people involved in making the movie, and which reflected the movies they were making based on their own core traumas and healing processes. And so on.
Without the eloquence of narrative, AlterBody is a reenactment of fragments from mind-movies. A movie version of this book would have four actresses who reenact the fragments of movies as retold by Milton Erikson, but who also reenact the fragments of movies that are playing in their own minds. Milton Erikson is the only stable character, but even he is reenacting movies in his mind as he listens to the movies of his patients.
This would make for a very complicated film but Robert De Niro would do a good job playing Milton Erikson.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?I don’t write first drafts – books happen for me because I gather together materials from disparate notebooks and sources that only come together because of some kind of catalyst – in this case, Karen Randall who asked me for a manuscript. After that happened, the energetic push into form took around 45 minutes.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?Milton Erikson, Karen Randall, 30 years of thinking about the mysteries of the universe and 2 years being in practice as a clinical hypnotist.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?Karen Randall is one of finest, most elegant, most meticulously creative book designers of the century. I am extremely lucky to be represented by her.

Kristin Prevallet, Shadow Evidence Intelligence,
Factory School. 2006.

Prevallet's third (and boldest) book of poems, SHADOW EVIDENCE INTELLIGENCE, is a fierce and direct confrontation of political insanity and poetic form. Drawing inspiration from the news, these poems seek to create epiphany out of the fallacious, tormented, and violent logic that is currently being used to justify war, injustice, and torture. These poems bring together multiple frames of reference that logically cannot add up to a single thought; they restore to poetry the bold experimentation of form and content necessary to imagine a saner world. - Sandy Schmitz

Shadow Evidence Intelligence confronts political insanity with poetic form. These poems expose  the fallacious, tormented, and violent logic that was used to justify war, injustice, and torture leading up to the War on Iraq.

Some mornings I wake up and wonder what’s wrong.
Then I turn to poetry.
If it doesn’t tell me I turn away.
SHADOW EVIDENCE INTELLIGENCE – these words could be separated by slashes. But I don’t think the anger of the present moments of being alive would permit that. It has to (have that) bite. That sound bite. Or we’re wounded (for life).
Life is obligatory. So is suffering. So is poetry. Get it? There’s space in this (there has to be space in this) for verbs. (I’m writing from memory.)
These texts come back upon themselves in ways that almost erase them(selves). Life cracks / emits poems / so much dust (shadow). I’m paying attention (it might just not look like it to me).
 O I must start building my own life, before we all die!
and –
 O brilliant, burning, amazing youth!
O visionary slogan-makers, still writing dissent on subway walls!
and –
 O Whitman, you never saw it coming!
O my soul! Oh powerless speech!
O infant, speck on the century!

Indeed – there’s no way out of the mind-grit of the negative euphoria.
This is of the kind of spiritual poetry that I’ve come to be able to expect of Kristin. And I’ve always defined spirit as life energy / soul as life source. And this has – both.
I’m missing everyone that isn’t here.
Whitman included everything. This excludes nothing. Are these two approaches the same or different? I leave it for you to decide. Or perhaps I’m merely being clever. The reality is (I think) that only the times have changed (deteriorated). It’s much harder now to write poetry than when Whitman did. When last the church licked the lilac’s groom.
 If a soldier dies while maiming
another person the last
living memory of that soldier’s life
will be in the mind of the
person maimed:
so the last memory of you
is in the mind of the
people who behold you
so be gentle with them lest
they be gentle with your image
in memory
in mourning
in the work of
seeing you in life.
Memory survives
the corporal state:
this is the only afterlife you can be sure of.

We fly away / fly away / fly away home. Responsibility keeps us alive – or it could if we’d listen. Responsibility to life (life (life (responsibility to life))). And then I could stop – here.
The text of hers from which the above is taken – Amateur Order – is divided into sections the way a business plan might be – I / A / 1 (for example) – and as such it stands counter to all business plans but the plan for the business of shared life. A counter plan. Or – a plan counter to all that.
This is a thrilling book in the sense that it can pace us. Give us a reason for being in this place (is there a time (left)?).
And yes – it is all about the fucking OIL – as if there were any left.
In another sense – in a very real other sense – what this country is drilling for (everywhere) is death. Tears come to mind.
There really is nothing left to laugh about these days. Unless we make it up (a very very very very temporary respite).
John Tavener wrote The Protecting Veil (I’m listening to it now) – but we don’t have one (unless we make that (that) up). Can we make it up? Can we make such things up? I don’t know.
We find ourselves engrossed upon the sea. But what of what is happening? To you? To me?
The sad dead palpable insult of a fact.
If we were more cadenced we would be more free.
Poetry is not free.
It costs so fucking much it hurts.
The letters of the alphabet are the most powerful things in the world.
Nobody needs a syllabus to know where they’re going. Don’t freak me out. I love happenstance. Ie – keep it egoless.
We bring ourselves down into the world – in order to cope with it – and it doesn’t help. O well (well! (o well!))!
 (The content of the moment is the act of being continuously present.)

And yet everything is as important as all that.
Actually – there is no time.
 The word force in and of itself does not include a sense of measure; i.e., used on its own, it assumes total and complete power over another body. In the case of a “forced entry,” for example (the use of violence to clear a passageway, either through a doorway, or through a woman) there is absolutely no sense of measure; the entry was completely and absolutely cleared of its obstruction.

This makes me so unalterably sad.
We have only ourselves to pardon for the mess we’re in – and I think Kristin knows it or she wouldn’t write with such passion and forgiveness (which is compassion (after all)). We’re in it with her – and made to feel that – and that’s a good thing – the stuff of ageless lambasting poetry. A sort of satire in a way – but dead (dead (dead)) serious.
 This is the difficulty of poetry.
and –
No one can escape being implicated in the flow: this is the difficulty of poetry.
But the present is the tense of poetry. The present is the only tense of poetry. (Thank god (oof!) for those of us who are tense!)
For all writing is a palimpsest. If only it could be so (and enduringly so) all over the pathetic text written by abhorrent history.
Thank you – Kristin. - Alan Davies

Kristin Prevallet, Everywhere Here And In Brooklyn: A Four Quartets, Belladonna, 2012.

Kristin Prevallet has made a work of beautiful seriousness by her variation on, homage to, shadowing of, and critical intelligence about T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets. Everywhere Here and In Brooklyn re-examines Eliot’s premises about time, eternity, stillness, consciousness, suffering, and attentiveness while intently exploring our world today—its ecological, social, and political disasters, one’s sense of feeling and meaning, one’s grief and hope. This is accomplished with a temperate casualness, in neighborly and local imagery, with wise aphorisms, and an overall meditative intransigence. Prevallet has accomplished something far beyond any quietist resignation or non-secular redemption. This is a moving and rich cultural intervention.Rachel Blau DuPlessis

The strength of Kristin Prevallet’s Everywhere Here and in Brooklyn is in its ability to make waking seem one of the most sought-after, and always ever sought after, experiences. If my memory serves me, I remember T.S. Eliot’s The Four Quartets being about a religious sort of quest. He returns home at the end, and, like Eliot, Prevallet’s book takes us through twists and turns of always returning, always coming back to “here,” where we are, where we could not otherwise be. Prevallet talks a lot about concrete things in the world where she lives, which is, presumably, Brooklyn. The book is peppered with thoughts of wanting to transcend experience, and also to be part of the world, though seeing it differently, sort of like Eliot’s book of poems. This is a philosophical book that lets us in on the thoughts of the speaker as she weaves a tapestry of language around the issues of place and space and time. All things return to the same place, in the end, as Eliot would have written of the fire and rose becoming one, at the end of a journey. Prevallet writes: “We can go this way, or another: both lead to the same place, the same place, we’re not moving (there you are, sitting), you’re ‘not’ going anywhere, it’s the earth that moves, rock of oil, rock of molten, metallic core, sitting still, very still.” She weaves this tapestry beautifully,  in language that is made of the things of the world, with abstractions thrown in for good measure.
Prevallet’s book takes us through the meanderings of place. In the second poem of the book, “Dias Y Flores (The Garden),” she writes about what it feels like to live in a certain place, for her, Brooklyn. But there is a global perspective at work in these poems, too. The poem says:   
The East River quivers as does the wind.
I am here.
Or you are. Or we are, there. Or elsewhere.
Wherever, we are just beginning.  
Each of her poems is a little homage to Eliot in that they circle through images and thoughts much like the Four Quartets does also. Prevallet even weaves her way toward a religious understanding in the following lines, from the second part of “Dias Y Flores (The Garden)”:    
Screw the wisdom of old men, let’s hear about their stupidity,
Their terror of terror and chaos, their fear of pleasure,
Fear of submission to something beyond themselves, call it other, call it god.
The only sustainable resource left on this planet is humility: humility is renewable.
Prevallet continues by giving advice, and much of this book is about the advice that she has for those who may read her words: 
If arrival is your goal, if getting from one place to another as fast as possible is what you want, if leaving one place and emerging someplace else is what you want more than anything else …
You’ll get there when you stop desiring, planning, wondering, waiting, being impatient, shopping, over-indulging, chattering.
Further, she discusses the ins and outs of desire, how desiring is what makes problems for those who are involved in the world, and how a zen approach to not-wanting so much is the answer to resolving these problems. She continues in the poem to talk about the problem of ecology, in a world in which we live with problems that are almost beyond our control. Her meditations on the problems with our world are rendered beautifully. She moves from meditations on what is like to be a poet, a 45-year-old, and a thinker in a world full of problems to a consideration of the Gulf of Mexico, one of the greatest disasters that have happened in recent years. Her poem, “The Gulf of Mexico,” moves through the thoughts of disaster and problematic spills to a consideration of people hurting: “And it won’t stop—the wail of suffering people and animals, / The quiet falling of bark shedding from dead trees, now motionless.” Prevallet moves through her book able to use concrete details but also relies on abstraction to “lift” the reader, in a sense, above the problems of our world. 
In the book’s last poem, “Transmitter Park,” Prevallet writes about the seasons (I confess: one of my favorite topics). She begins with the following lines:   
What can be said of seasons except
    That we think each should be perpetually its own
    Momentum of long days toward sundown
    Riding the meridian between pole and tropic.
She writes about place from the perspective of someone who has experienced many phases of it, many seasons in one place, too. The book, throughout, is threaded with intuitions of what the world is like, and what it is about the hurting that we as a society have done to nature. This is what I most love about this book: it’s not a set of poems that rely on an interior so much as it is a book that weaves the exterior and interior together so that there is a sense of a person, a poet, fully embedded in the world, in a very concrete and real way. Prevallet continues to give advice, through the guise of a character:
    So here’s what I think she was saying:
    There are three states, often confused, because they come from the same place,
    And yet they’re different.
    First there’s being too self-absorbed and attached to things and people;
    Second is being clueless about oneself and other things and people;
    And third is being in between, meaning completely indifferent to things and people,
    Like death-in-life, neither growing nor wilting,
    The dandelions not yet dried in the sun.
She gives stellar advice here, and writes about “Time without the attachment of to-do lists,” and the diffusion of love “Beyond desire”—in religious fashion. At the end of the book, Prevallet revisits beginning and ending, again. This is her theme, and she works on it beautifully as she writes about the ways that she sees the world being hurt and yet also the possibility of redemption within this hurt. She says:
    Here is the end, call it the beginning
    To write the ending is to start the beginning and the end
    Is where it all begins.
    Every line is both here and there.
    Because every line a leaf.
The end of the book takes a somewhat scientific approach to what Eliot is getting at, when he ends with his “fire and rose” thematic: Prevallet writes, “Patterns form the leaf: / The water and the chemical used to disperse it / are one.” This is a fitting ending to a book I can’t find enough good to say about.  If you enjoy the meanderings of a thoughtful poet, check out this book. - Laura Carter

Kristin Prevallet, Scratch Sides: Poetry, Documentation, and Image-Text Projects, Skanky Possum Press, 2003.

Scratch Sides is a series of formal inventions and conceptual projects designed to test the limits of lyric. Includes graphs, charts, and documentary photographs

Harry Thorne (How2)
Steve Halle (Jacket)
Steven Ellis (Big Bridge)


Kristin Prevallet, The Black Dot,

Little chapbook based on William James’ experiments with The Black Dot — the piece was inspired as a response to Mark Sutherland for Volta’s “Vispo” issue edited by Nico Vassilakis. And it was reviewed in Coldfront by Timothy Liu.

Picture a black dot. Now imagine staring at it for five minutes (as William James directs). Picture two black dots. Picture a lower-case letter “m.” Place the two dots under the arches. Now move the dots a bit to the right. What do you think you will see? The mind at work, unable to stop? Mammary glands? That’s one way Prevallet’s meditation on making meaning in somatic space might begin. Don’t forget to breathe.
Disclosures: Prevallet’s poetics is partly informed by her vocation as a hypnotherapist.
Favorites: Repeated readings of this text at random will open up new spaces inside your head.
Read Prevallet on Trance Poetics at Drunken Boat. - Timothy Liu

Kristin Prevallet, Lead, Glass and Poppy, Primitive Publications, 1996.

a riveting work incorporating past and present news stories into a "millennial convergence poem."

About this chapbook, Mark Wallace writes: "Kristin Prevallet's work presents a distinctly modern witchery, a series of spells and counterspells designed to drive us from complacency with a paradoxically generous black magic. In her new chapbook, 'Lead, Glass and Poppy,' Kristin details exactly what happens when human beings take off blithely for the sun; they experience intense heat, destructive fallout, and the debris of deluded dreams. What surprise, then, that they find themselves once more in the chaotic history of misunderstood desires for transcendence." Excerpt from Lead, Glass and Poppy
Review by Henry Gould

Kristin Prevallet, Perturbation, My Sister: A Study of Max Ernst’s Hundred Headless Woman, First Intensity, 1997.

Kristin Prevallet  is a poet, essayist, performer, educator, and hypnotherapist (info on her practice can be found at Recent interviews appear on Brooklyn Poets,  The Examiner and the Best American Poetry Blog. Recordings are available on PennSound. A nice nod by David King appears on The Kenyon Review.
Kristin is the author of five books and nine chapbooks, including most recently her re-envision of T.S. Eliot’s Four QuartetsEverywhere Here and in Brooklyn, published by the Belladonna Collaborative, designed by H.R. Hegnauer, and set to music by Colette Alexander.
Other books include I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time, an experimental elegy designed by poet Jeff Clarke and published by Essay Press in 2007; Shadow Evidence Intelligence, a book of conceptual confrontations with the form/content rift that occurred during the Bush II years, published by Factory School in 2008; Scratch Sides: Poetry, Documentation and Image-Text Projects, a book of form/content experiments written and designed in Quark and published by Skanky Possum in 1998. She is the editor of A Helen Adam Reader (National Poetry Foundation).
Recent poetic documents that blend conceptual and collaborative forms have appeared in VLAK: Poetics and the Arts; Rhythm of Structure: Mathematics, Art, and Poetic Reflections and the anthology I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women. A short story based on horror writer Robert Chambers’ The King In Yellow appears in the anthology A Season in Carcosa edited by Joseph Pulver.
An associate of Bard College’s Institute for Writing and Thinking, she has taught poetry, poetics, and creative/critical writing at Naropa University and Pratt Institute. She has received grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Mellon Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts and the PEN translation fund. Her essay “Blood on the Illusion” was a 2013 notable essay selected by the editors of The Best American Essay anthology, and is now available on kindle.