Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Herso: Staff Pick at SPD

Susana Gardner's Herso: An Heirship in Waves is a Staff Pick at SPD -- 40% off!

Carrie Hunter and The Incompossible this Saturday on POET AS RADIO

This Saturday, 9-am-10am, join POET AS RADIO for Part 1 of an interview with Carrie Hunter who will read from and discuss her book The Incompossible (Black Radish). Listen live at

For more information about POET AS RADIO and to listen live to archived shows go to

Hunter's The Incompossible was an SPD BEST SELLER for August 2011.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Jill Alexander Essbaum responds to Susana Gardner's Herso: An Heirship in Waves

I am a formalist-ish poet.  Therefore, all I read is seen, interpreted, discerned, and valued through the eyes of a writer concerned chiefly with exactly how the words that appear on a page process themselves.  To what end.  In which manner.  For what reason.  In what direction.  For how long.  And more, and more, and more.  This is a long way around saying that I cannot divorce a poem or a book of poetry’s shape from its…hmmmm…I’m going to write ‘meaning’ even though I’m pretty sure that’s not the right word (what does it mean, anyway, for a thing to have meaning?).  And should we ever try and separate the two?  I think no.

I’ve known Susana Gardner for awhile.  We were a single mile apart from each other when I lived in Switzerland.  One single, silly mile.  We should have been at each other’s houses every day.  But we weren’t.  I was trapped in the drama of an unraveling marriage and that preoccupied about 97% of my available resources.  BUT.  If I had spent those days with her, what I think I would have learned is this:  that all shorelines vary unbelievably.  That I, too, am of Ifs and possibility.  That some nightships MUST be drowned.  That the body, when it cannot swim, must walk.  That sentences are made of words, and what is a word but a collection of letters?, and each collection of letters contains every word that can be made of it. Everything intends everything else.  That there is a Before Me and there is an After Me.  That a stranger is always a stranger.  And the sea is the strangest creature of all.  Investigate. Venture out.  Open thou-self to an unknown road.  I inhabit my inhibitions. 

If I had spent those days with her I might have learned these things.  But I didn’t.  So I learn them now.  In this lovely, discerning, impeccably heart-sore book. 

The formalist in me—again, ever present—deems Susana’s experiment in contra-form a success.  There is nothing tired or shabby or olden-timed or dull in this book.  The form always follows the function; it never works the other way around.  An engineer I used to be married to taught me that.  The shape of this book is dictated by the sea itself: mutable, vast, by turns black and cavernous, willing, empty as a bucket full of water. 

This is what HERSO: An Heirship in Waves means to me.

Jill Alexander Essbaum is the author of Harlot (No Tell Books), Necropolis (NeoNuma Arts) and most recently The Devastation, a single poem chapbook (Cooper Dillon). She is an instructor at the UCR  Palm Desert Low Residency MFA program. 

Herso is available from SPD.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Susan Gardner's Herso: An Heirship in Waves -- a response by j/j hastain

Susana Gardner’s herso an heirship in waves is an investigative beast-- “an endless seaming conquest” (not seeming conquest, not typical conquest at all) wherein non-traditional investigations of the pronoun and the place and the presence her occur. Note please this book’s acts of tonal seaming.

(  “the female as an index”/“a saint her”  )

I feel this book as an application. A “throated proliferant”—strengthening the places in readers that have perhaps become loose or fatigued or inverted.  This is subliminal coax. A coming to through. Oh how I believe in this method of engagement!

I think that this work is only proportionately autobiographical. Becoming “self-important [to itself, to herself] again.” “Things still scattered about as always, scattered in a pattern only she could recognize”—then it becomes somehow autonomous to itself. “Beautiful in grandeur, awful in its form.”

I really enjoyed feeling like I could get lost in this book.  Lost like one can get lost in music. I appreciated the literal, figural presence of sound. I so enjoy being conducted! The waves of herso got into the waves extant in my own brimming body.

Is the sea and is my body itself not a “secluded wildness?” “In so coming to be born gauntlet of” “overwhelmingly rested halfnotes.”

Now I would like to mention the resting periods in this book. The space between curves of text. The entire pages of visual/textual pressure. These held me into the book. Made me feel like a density interacting with the inter densities of the document. The further and further in the more I felt “her wayward deity”—this book--these movements “an inevitable creational turning.”

“What strange [and lovely] beings” these pages are. Oh “salt. Resurrection”

Susana Gardner’s Herso: An Heirship in Waves is available from SPD.

j/j hastain is the author of numerous full-length cross-genre works such as asymptomatic over // thermodynamic vents (BlazeVox Books),  our bodies are beauty inducers (Rebel Satori Press), and ulterior eden (Otoliths), as well as many chapbooks and artist's books.  j/j's manuscript Let was a finalist in the 2010 Kelsey Street and Ahsahta book competitions.  In 2011 j/j's book we in my Trans ws nominated for the Stonewall Award.