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George Quasha

July 11, 2015

George Quasha is the recipient of the 10th Annual ‘T’ Space Poetry Award. He read as part of the 2022 Synthesis of the Arts Season:
WATCH – Opening Celebration

Quasha has previously performed at ‘T’ Space on two separate occasions. On June 18, 2011, Quasha performed a combination of poetry-reading and axial drumming against the backdrop of Mike Metz’s exhibition, Snared-trapped and Concealed.  Quasha returned on July 11, 2015 to read The First House, a ‘T’ Space commissioned poem responding to José Oubrerie’s exhibition, The Chapel of the Mosquitoes.

gender dynamic -- 2020

Poetry is language willing to get excited not knowing what it is.

In the divine moment the mirror looks the other way.

Only the things never thought can reach us at this distance.

Fixtures of body are depressions of form.

Mirror art is less and less reliable, only where spooked it reflects further.

The poem keeps turning away from itself to escape conditions. 

Pronouns are drifting, feeling unwanted.

When I see myself clearly I’m the echo of my poems.

Contradictions come to light like moths. 

Disappearing shadows guide my reading.

Body patterns depress. Known beauty is parasitic. Buddhas teach nothing. 

It’s tomorrow all around the poem where I hides from aggression. 

There’s discursive hope in confusing pronouns.

You answer my burning question and I cool down inside.

She answers, I heat, the attitude producing the question ignites. 

Mystical union gives off interpronominal pulsation.

The First House -- 2015

(preverbs for José Oubrerie)

1
I’m the architect of any space I pass through waking.
Keeping my zero mind open the world rebuilds me on the go.
The first house is the site of self-opening doors.

The space of firstness lives space further than spacetime.
The first house is not the same from the first.
You still can’t enter the same room twice.

The living house lives first in the mind and then gives birth to itself.
It owns the blood of its architect and that’s how it gets in your blood.
It calls up statements too outrageous not to be true.

It can get claustrophobic in here alone with words, so I open-sesame the syllables.
My arm’s-length peripersonality knows its space by feedback cave breathing.
I’m only 3-D as far as I go. In or out.

Openings I hack let light play its colors.
A hue is a violence with self-control.
My rainbow body is calling me home and I’m taking my time.

Making up a room ends in making up the mind.
Buildings are self-fulfilling prophecies.
Sharp self-shaping life short-circuits the architecture, and space is born new.

2
The sound of feet proves floors are made for listening.
Joints are sense organs for the swing of limbs.
Our jungle genes are preying on time.

The senses talk back to the world.
I further animalize the surround.
Body is the inevitable cosmology.

When we sleep on our bed as we sleep on a problem insomnia self-births us.
When a house is health it sheds disease with ease of free air flow.
Awake architecture keeps you on your toes to keep the brain living.

The house thinks without transitions, here is the everywhere mind finds.

House sets rhythm of walking to tune mind.
This lingual portrait flowing the first house makes its spaces on the run.
The poem house is the house boat of the animate tongue.

House is first in living space at the level of poem.
A room has insight.
A lived house smells of self.

I am with house as I am with book, with child.
It’s always now or never.
The first house retains your ways back to zero-point self.

Torsion Poems, Preverbs, & Axial Drumming -- 2011

Exchanging Intentions

1

a sense arising in matrix unknows

Here I am standing in the mandala of her speech.
We lay together in the right place for the right dream to indistinguish us.

I fear no word will have an ear in it.
The moment comes to rub hands like flame.

Her soul cried her body into a tear.
The place I knew was a dream waiting to happen.

2

aligning on the move

A living line is true like a hand-made angle.
It gets out from under itself at every turn.

Words hold power. Spaces spread power. Times flow power.
Squat on the line. Not long along to have sat down. All the way.

When it moves you move. And vice versa or verse turning back meets midway.
You get to the underworld through undertime sliding down your axis.

3

starting now a world is coming into being

Have you been touched the way she said?
So you know nothing is ever the same.

On track the line chases the ultimate gap to the end of willing meaning.
Listening my feet exchanged intentions with the colors on the earth.

Provisional prayer: Request not to dissolve prematurely.
Retention by beauty—what always can never be denied forever.

4

how a word wants to be

Be wary on surfaces running deep.
An endless work is endless all over.

Is a line a place of incubation?
I would cross it to petition death: meet me half way like a friend.

Healing’s the whole in the hole in donut living.
When you first grasp a word imprisoned being releases.

5

bending back doubles the curve

…The life of feeling outbreaks….
Now for the next possible thought.

I’m pre-vicar of the vicarious who subs this wand for the last wave.
This line is my next world cresting into being—N.B. the point of disappearing me.

Emit me, said the angel in hilarium.
Hand me my torus, the fountain relieving.

6

impulsation

The leaping god describes the tongue exciting between.
Bounding over a long lingual topos ends you someone further.

Time to write our autobiology.
This tracks the time it takes to think living.

All around things are proving their boundless importance.
People name places only to go another way.

7

wedded attention

Today reminds me the poet inside the mind is female.
Playing as if there is no wrong but only next.

The heart expands so far at long last it becomes itself.
The life inside is writing down.

Reading is the later it gets.
From afar she brings you news of yourself.

8

mind of many turns on its odyssey

Thought it, failed to write it, gone? gone beyond?
The slate clears as I move across—no back to turn to.

Impatience is the practice of wanting results and not getting them now.
Is thinking coming back around?

I follow the leaping god through reams of self-disrupting syntax.
The turn out is in the middle.

9

in the deep polytropic valley of appearance

I’ve been listening up a storm.
It tears the throat out of the trees.

When the time comes read the signing leaves.
You can only say what you see.

Crack! and the leap!
Midway in the journey of its span the core sentence is self-remaking.

 

 

Following a reading by Carter Ratcliff, George Quasha reads poems including Torsion Poems and preverbs (sounds right & things done for themselves), accompanied by axial drumming (acoustic snare with kalimba on drum head) converting the underlying rhythm of single-line preverbs into open percussive patterning. Following reading was the second performance of RADIO MINDS, including preverbs both on digital LED sign and sampled onto a Roland SPD, along with axial drumming on a Roland Octapad using 8 drum sets in sequence. (LED preverbs design by Susan Quasha.)

Biography

George Quasha is a poet, artist, musician and writer working in diverse mediums to explore certain principles (e.g., axiality, ecoproprioception). For his primary medium poiesis he has invented the genre preverbs as a medium of axial language and “linguality at zero point.” There are thirteen books of preverbs to date of which seven published, most recently Not Even Rabbits Go Down This Hole (2020) and Waking from Myself (2022). Among some thirty published books is Poetry in Principle: Essays in Poetics (2019).

Soon to appear is Zero Point Poiesis: George Quasha’s Axial Art, a collection of writings on his poetry, art and thought by sixteen authors, edited by Burt Kimmelman, foreword by Jerome McGann.

Quasha views his work as principle based (in contrast to Conceptual). The axial principle emerged from several decades of t’ai chi, bodywork, drawing, sculpture, and body/voice-centered performance (collaborating with poet Charles Stein & artist Gary Hill). His axial stones, drawings and video have been exhibited in various venues, including the Snite Museum of Art, the Baumgartner Gallery, White Box, the Samuel Dorsky Museum and biennials (Poland, Switzerland, New York). Axial Stones: An Art of Precarious Balance (2006) represents his sculpture and underlying theory.

His ongoing video work (Guggenheim Fellowship, 2006), art is/music is/poetry is (Speaking Portraits), has recorded over a thousand artists, poets, and composers in eleven countries saying what art, music, or poetry is (art-is-international.org)—represented in the book art is (Speaking Portraits) (2016). Other books of his poetry include Somapoetics (1973), Ainu Dreams (1999), and Glossodelia Attract (preverbs) (2020). He co-edited with Jerome Rothenberg America a Prophecy: A New Reading of American Poetry from Pre-Colombian Times to the Present (1973/2012). He lives in Barrytown, New York, collaborating with Susan Quasha on photos and preverbs, and together they publish Station Hill Press.

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