Joan Retallack

I also found something from Joan Retallack on her poem called “Not a cage”

Joan Retallack discarded some books and journals from her personal library. This act of elimination turned out to be a recycling and archiving in practice, she produced a poem called ‘Not a Cage’ after John cage.
Her poem utilised beginnings and endings of all the books tossed away, using a combination of chance and intuitive composition.
Al Filreis and Danny Snelson (from the show) deemed that such a work was just a further step along the path the poet has already travelled. To ‘assuage’ the guilt of throwing these away, having not read them, she produced something archival. Questions were possibly: “What will happen if I do this?” “What coincidences will occur?” “What sense will be made that I cannot predict?” and now “Where is it from?”

Not A Cage

By Joan Retallack

Scientific inquiry, seen in a very broad perspective may
see Foot 1957, also Wetermarck 1906, Ch. XIII
To man (sic) the world is twofold, in accordance with
that witness is now or in the future
It wasn’t until the waitress brought her Benedictine and she
Villandry, “Les Douves” par Azay le Rideau
mine. Yours, CYNTHIA.
Not a building, this earth, not a cage,
The artist: disciple, abundant, multiple, restless
a forgery: Opus loannes Bellini
We named you I thought the earth
is possible I could not tell
to make live and conscious history in common
and wake you find yourself among
and wake up deep in the fruit
Did you get the money we sent?
I smell fire
1. Russia, 1927
God, say your prayers.
You were begotten in a vague war
sidelong into your brain.
In Letter Three & Four (as earlier) the narrator is
North Dakota Portugal Moorhead, Minnesota
The lights go down, the curtain opens: the first thing we
gun, Veronica wrote, the end.
Tomorrow she would be in America.
Over forty years ago
a tense, cunningly moving tale by the Hunga-
Then he moved on and I went close behind.
Interviewers: What drew a woman from Ohio
to study in Tübingen? American Readers
with this issue former subscribers to Marxist Perspectives
The shadow of the coup continues to hover over Spain
In the ordinary way of summer
girls were still singing
like a saguaro cactus from which any desert wayfarer can draw
as is Mr. Fox, but in literature
Twenty five years have gone by
Ya se dijeron las cosas mas oscuras
The most obscure things have already been said

Joan Retallack, “Not a Cage” from How to Do Things with Words. Copyright © 1998 by Joan Retallack.  Reprinted by permission of Sun & Moon Press / Green Integer.

Source: How to Do Things with Words (Sun & Moon Press, 1998)