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George Quasha

poetry reading

July 11, 2015

George Quasha has 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.

The First House -- 2015

(preverbs for José Oubrerie)

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.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.)


George Quasha, artist, poet, and musician working across mediums to explore principles in common within language, sculpture, drawing, video, sound, installation, and performance. Solo exhibitions of axial stones and axial drawings include the Baumgartner Gallery in New York (Chelsea), the Slought Foundation in Philadelphia, and at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. This work is featured in the published book, Axial Stones: An Art of Precarious Balance, Foreword by Carter Ratcliff (North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, 2006).

In 2006 awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in video art.

Video installation & single-channel work art is (Speaking Portraits) records over 800 artists, poets, and composers (in 11 countries and 21 languages) saying what in their view art is. This ongoing work (art is/music is/poetry is) has been exhibited at the Snite Museum of Art (University of Notre Dame), at White Box in Chelsea, at the Samuel Dorsky Museum (SUNY New Paltz), and in several other countries (including France and India), and has been featured in several biennials (Wroclaw, Poland; Geneva, Switzerland; Kingston, New York). Further extensions of this work in speaking portraiture include myth is and peace is.

Other work in axial video (including “Pulp Friction,” “Axial Objects,” “Verbal Objects,” “Axial Landscapes”) has appeared internationally in museums, galleries, schools, and biennials. A 30-year performance collaboration (video/language/sound) continues with Gary Hill and Charles Stein.

A new work in poetry (first of six volumes of preverbs), Verbal Paradise (preverbs), from Zasterle Press (La Laguna, Spain: 2011) (distrib. in US by SPD, Berkeley, California)

A new book in art writing, An Art of Limina: Gary Hill’s Works and Writings, Foreword by Lynne Cooke, Ediciones Poligrafa (Barcelona), also in collaboration with Charles Stein (distrib. D.A.P. in US).

14 other books include poetry (Somapoetics, Giving the Lily Back Her Hands, Ainu Dreams [with Chie Hasegawa]); anthologies (America a Prophecy [with Jerome Rothenberg], Open Poetry [with Ronald Gross], An Active Anthology [with Susan Quasha], The Station Hill Blanchot Reader [with Charles Stein]); and writing on art (Gary Hill: Language Willing; with Charles Stein: Tall Ships, HanD HearD/liminal objects, Viewer).

Awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in poetry. Taught at Stony Brook University (SUNY), Bard College, New School University (Graduate Anthropology Department), and Naropa University. With Susan Quasha, founder/publisher of Station Hill Press of Barrytown (New York).

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