MARTHE REED Engages
After projects the resound by Kimberly Alidio
(Black Radish Books, 2016)
“My language bitten out of me”
When Hoa Nguyen suggested I consider publishing the work of Kimberly Alidio, I was excited, as perhaps any new discovery excites: I had not yet encountered Kimberly’s work. Once I entered the writing, however, here was an entirely different excitement. Her attention to forms and methods, their manifold possibilities, the insistent pulse of language’s rhythms and alliterative capacities, the heat of her voice moving through history, emotion, the unseen and ignored, her love of the unloved—these drew me in. I could not stop reading, I wanted to follow these lines, this voice, wherever it took me.
Unflinching in her attention to how the paradigms of late-capitalism/colonialism deceive and betray, Alidio puts her reader square in the midst of the dilemma, the slippages between intention and action: “Does public vulnerability count as a brand?” How does one speak into this abyss?” Affirming the pressures to produce or perform, how these distort—“Some days we should read nothing. / Some days just one sentence.”—Alidio attunes her reader to how the outsider invisibility increases in the midst of cultural and existential crisis: “The chronic indebted finish no programs possess no degrees,” “The exhausted object have no body of work”: “All the Pinays are straight and all the queers are Pinay some of us” “hold our femme gaze straight into the cosmos / behold a supernova of fat negation.” Writing through/around/in the-midst-of erasure, Alidio’s voice, insistently present, queer, Filipina, attends to the edges of the world, pulling her readers with her.
our ugly grief
our helpless beauty
this very moment of utterance incarnate in an absent brown body
alive painfully so
strand us alone together
Where love and self-love most forcefully resist cultural-political erasure, the poems become incantatory, invocations against overwhelming loss, the language alive in its vivid particularity and nuance. In “Our lady of the banana ketchup”, Alidio anticly composes a list marrying Philippine history to the ingredients of banana ketchup, a haphazard collision of war/colonial occupation/international capital/free trade and the memory, or taste, of home, homeland. Into those tangling intersections, she induces joy and grief, making English dance to her tune, her rhythms, wordplay, and irony a wonder and delight.
a guava jelly a food scientist
a Maria Y. Orosa a world war # 2
a gut sucking a powdered soybean
a concentration camp a claypot oven
a lime-ash soap a rice-bran cookie
a cassava flour a green banana flour
a heart twice hit by shrapnel
a sodium benzoate
a heroine of soyalac
a sauce for the succulent belly
a saba a banana a yellow # 6
a red # 40 a sugar a vinegar
a UFC a jufran a Mother’s Best
a torta a hipster a hotdog spaghetti
a hater a sweet tomato
Against “The disorder on the part of those the historical record only suspiciously considers human” Kimberly Alidio draws the intimate losses that hold her--“I am dissolved, not dismembered and so of course I / re-entered”, grief made benediction: “Strung up crumpled together a sea of sound.” Black Radish Books is very pleased and excited to be publishing Alidio’s first full length collection After projects the resound in August 2016.
Marthe Reed is the author of five books: Nights Reading (Lavender Ink 2014), Pleth, a collaboration with j hastain (Unlikely Books 2013), (em)bodied bliss (Moria Books 2013), Gaze (Black Radish Books 2010) and Tender Box, A Wunderkammer (Lavender Ink 2007). She has published chapbooks as part of the Dusie Kollektiv, as well as with above/ground press and Shirt Pocket Press. Her collaborative chapbook thrown, text by j hastain with Reed's collages, won the 2013 Smoking Glue Gun contest and will appear in 2016. She is co-publisher and managing editor for Black Radish Books and publisher of Nous-zōt Press chapbooks.