by on Feb.15, 2011

There have been a couple of interesting posts about Joyelle’s “necropastoral” recently.

Here is Christopher Higgs’ from HTMLGiant.

Here is Michael Leong from BigOther.

Probably most people missed it because it was buried at the end of my long post about theatricality, but this is what I wrote about Joyelle’s “King Prion” possessions:


Someone told me they had overheard another publisher saying: “I’m glad we don’t read with Action Books this year, they’re always showboating.” I.e. theatrical.

Which reminds me of all these instances where well-meaning friends of mine email me and tell me to tell Joyelle to “tone it down” in her readings because it seems “unserious.” I remember a discussion following Joyelle’s reading at St Mark’s back in 2001 or so (before I was married or even seeing Joyelle), where these young poets were complaining that she was too “showy.”

In a related matter, Joyelle performed some of her “King Prion” poems at the AWP this weekend, despite having barely any voice.

Here’s from the Wiki entry on Prion:

“Prions propagate by transmitting a misfolded protein state. When a prion enters a healthy organism, the prion form of a protein induces existing, properly-folded protein to convert into the disease-associated, prion form; the prion acts as a template to guide the misfolding of more protein into prion form. These newly-formed prions can then go on to convert more proteins themselves, this triggers a chain reaction that produces large amounts of the prion form.”

The thing about the “King Prion” poems is that they’re not poems, they are possessions.

To “recite” them is to be possessed by them.

You can find them in the latest issue of the journal 1913, a great issue full of fine writing. But you’ll want to read them aloud.

1 comment for this entry:
  1. Michael Leong

    That’s curious…was the Greeks’ conception of the muse (i.e. possession) “unserious”?

    I’ve been flipping through Jed Rasula’s great essay “Poetry’s Voice-Over” again: “Poets have lost touch with the archaic parables of voice-over, which instruct us in the ways in which inspiration always divests us of that security we so desperately crave as the sign of an empowerment we forever wish was ours alone, and not a sport of the gods or a bewitchment of the Muses.”

    The prion sounds really interesting — with much Deleuzian suggestiveness.

    Thanks, Johannes, for the link.