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Ready yourself for the Stubbing Out of a Cigarette on a Nightingale. This ungodly event will be happening sometime soon. From a preface to the preface:  

“Weedgenstein was dead wrong. In Stubbing Out a Cigarette on a Nightingale the notorious American Poetry Preface writer Dale Houstman sets a new standard for the entire preface writing Industry by creating The Ultimate Tractatus of Prefaces, an inscrutable nefarious highlight in the history of poetry prefaces that wipes out an entire Philomel of Industrial Incompetence in the field. Never before did anyone attempt the impossible: write a preface that a book simply does not deserve, no matter how you look at it. To illustrate the obvious, Dale appended his preface with a few poems by some Dutch bloke. Stubbing Out a Cigarette on a Nightingale should be on every serious art theorist’s nightstand.”

A selection of sections of sections:

YOU ARE THE NEURASTHENIC ELEPHANT!©

To get there from here, to here from there, or even to get here from here, we must provide some direction, a common vocabulary, an indoctrination…

Beauty: Suffering as viewed from the perspective of a pygmy pack animal. A living substance transformed into a geo-politics. The witnesses all fell in the river. Where’s my breakfast burrito, Juan Valdez? Aerodynamic lines roughly containing a crude nutrition.

Confession: Blurt out that you once saw an outstanding collection of unwashed fruit, quite touching and the basis for a four score and seven of bad romantic comedies indistinguishable from police reports. I don’t care who you screwed, but mother is sleeping in the spare bedroom. Tell us what you did but keep it short. 

Content: The head waiter who once refused to serve Napoleon now has that “lived in” feeling, and must find a new country to infest with his servitude. Tears…disdain…rage…whatever. Throw in a stanza-length description of the surrender towel. Do you know any lullabies?

Eloquence: A handsomely packaged commercial hair product made from the spittle of a neurasthenic elephant.© The hallway in which you are sleeping is slowly widening into a lake, but we are going to drown ourselves in the bourbon of blabber. Give it up. YOU are the imperialist your mother warned you about, Pericles.

Emotion: We shall eventually be forced to gaze through a Berlin accountant’s small window as things travel toward other things, all very significant, and we shall call it entertainment. Order is best pickled if you are going on a long trip. Drink gasoline from the hand of that beautiful [vide supra] pelican, and stay away from birdlike women.

Enjambment: You came to buy candles but you will settle for a moth.

Epigram: “Across the white arm…Sleep!”

[… ]

OUR SHOES, BLUE NONETHELESS

We must believe that biography is the tallest woman in any garden,…

[Baron Vetchcaul, “Mustard of Belief”]

 …yet today one also uncovers ancient apartments, decorated with flower pots, and through the high windows we might spy those rhythmically [vide supra] positioned semiotic trees; these always butted up against a columned balcony, (I almost wrote “baloney,” but then again I am always almost writing “baloney”) that lamppost beneath which you always lose your passport, a plaza where hipsters die, and so on; but also one insultingly white parapet from which you are required to disappear once a day, clutching a railway ticket to a boring recital. Beyond the barricades of your Absence, there shall begin a revolution of Presence.© So…after all the poetry has become load-bearing, we can live beneath the new arches, immortalized in our departure. Contentment reeks. Poetry writes the history, obscuring the facts with aesthetic figures. I blame it on the food industry. Creative itches turned to mere dermatitis.

[…]

STALKING THE CONSUMER WHILE CONSUMING THE STALK

Like all obsessions, Poetry will chase you down a long dark street to an empty house, and you get to consider yourself lucky for the free ride, although what waits inside is murder. And then you made the reasonable decision to fall asleep upon the lawn, your ear against the outer wall, listening to every forkfall, the perturbation of digestion, the bourgeoisie undulating in their dinner-ness.© Made you crazy. The Word [vide supra] had its elites, and you weren’t one of them.

[…]

FLAMES IN FORCED PERSPECTIVE

A burning Rolls-Royce is a natural metaphor for all those lovely, lovely assholes, so bring a medical support technician who can breathe roses through those beautifully manufactured windows. Stand back! There will be thorns.”

[Terence Tearaway, We Are Not Not]

Poetry first appears as a story that is begun around a campfire which halfway through the night turns out to be an uncontainable forest fire, so that the listeners thought to sacrifice Homer to the flames. This forces him to create an object that is both terribly urgent and suggestively incomplete, hoping to forestall the fate he richly deserved.

That you are older than the wind is unbearable.”

[Homer ]

…looking much too old to be old”

[Timus Reese, “Of Mice In Evening Gowns”]

§ § §

Martijn Benders (1971) is a Dutch poet, essayist, publisher, editor, graphic designer, polemicist, satirist, interventionist. Benders’ first collection of poetry was the critically acclaimed Karavanserai (2008, Nieuw Amsterdam), for which he was nominated for the C. Buddingh Poetry prize. Since then Benders – similar to American poet Bill Knott – has chosen to self-publish his work, in large part as a principled stance against nepotism, cronyism, narcissism, and ineptness that he argues prevail in the subsidised and publicly recognised literary world, institutions, and festivals.

Much of Benders’ work combines not only literary styles, such as lyrical, conceptual, satirical, and absurdist influences; his work also moves across genres, media and modes. Some examples are: his Laibach-inspired performance at a poetry award including an Anti-Prize poem and choreographed chants from within the audience, and a fake moustache; several submissions to poetry contests intended as playful self-referential critique of poetry institutions and contests as such; Wôld, Wôld, Wôld! (2013) a personalized poetry book, including dedications and assignments to the reader, poems in Dutch and English, concrete poems, images. Stubbing Out of a Cigarette on a Nightingale will be Benders’ first English language poetry collection. More writings, information can be found on Loewak

Martijn Benders’ books include

  • Wôld, Wôld, Wôld! (2013, Loewak)
  • Wat koop ik voor jouw donkerwilde machten, Willem (2011, Loewak)
  • Karavanserai (2008, Nieuw Amsterdam)

———

Jeroen Nieuwland, 10 January, 2014

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