OmniVerse 63: essays by Elena Karina Byrne and Adam Fagin, poems by Frank Guan and Shira Dentz, review of Valerie Mejer by Erica Mena
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a journal of new work, essays, & interviews
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OmniVerse 63

Photo One: Lung II:

Two men, one accordion, and a pall (palliative!?) of shining electric blue ocean's strip in motion, splitting a clouded teal-grey sky, above a new-mold-green underworld that is both water and not water. Air and water breathed. The man in shorts below, suspended on his side, plays the chords; the shirted man above, floating in a tiny dome-like architectural object torn from its origin to be a tiny boat...that man, holds the other end of the accordion. Three alight empty wine bottles float between the three environments and there is a heavy sense of ill health, held breath, of suspension, the kind we experience before the exhale of loss. There's a disconnect between three things said to you. You know there is music though you cannot hear it. The music is between them, between above and below. The integrity of the spaces has been combined and compromised by opposition. There is asking-in-action. It is the unconscious will. It is aftermath still happening. It is mythical foreboding. It is estranged beauty. 

New Work: Poetry by Frank Guan



You are a friend
And have a way of doing things,
But that is not enough—

A crowded place without
Intrinsic meaning, we
Proceed relentlessly. Since all

Diverges from, in any case
I like the sun, reminding,
Still some glaciers we have only seen


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New Work: Poetry by Shira Dentz


 “To see one’s own sight means visible blindness.”
                                                                        -Robert Smithson

            “I could not see to see”

In 1965, Robert Smithson created his Enantiomorphic Chambers, two steel and mirror constructions hung on a wall next to each other. The viewer would step inside the “chambers,” between the two mirrors, expecting to see her reflection but would be met instead with “spatial illusions, appearing like frames seen simultaneously from different vantage points.” The reflective surfaces were mathematically positioned to “cancel out” one’s image. Instead of the image of oneself, the viewer was confronted with the absence of her image. Here eye and “I” became a revolving aporia thats center was everywhere, its circumference nowhere. The viewer, in other words, was left without her anticipated framing. Instead of seeing herself, she saw her seeing, “crystallize and collapsible.”



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Sometimes I read a book of poetry that is so perfect, that I love so much, I can’t think of anything more to say about it. The poems can’t be summarized, described, conveyed: they are themselves the minimum and only possible expression of themselves. It doesn’t happen very often, one every year or so, and Valerie Mejer’s Rain of the Future, in impeccable translation by A.S. Zelman-Doring, Forrest Gander, and C.D. Wright is such a book for me.

The poems work in a blend of surreal imagery and melancholy intensity, with an uncertainty that is so often missing in contemporary English-language poetry. The willingness to leave things unexplained, uninterrupted, undone. To accept approximation as the act of reverence for the utter impossibility of expression, and to inhabit that approximation in a way that constructs a new reality. That simultaneous loss and gain of a poetry that can never reach what it aims for, and yet hits exactly its unintended perfect mark.



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Omnidawn Staff & Volunteers:

Rusty Morrison & Ken Keegan, senior editors & co-publishers
Gillian Olivia Blythe Hamel, managing editor
Melissa Burke, marketing manager
Cassandra Smith, poetry editor & book designer
Peter Burghardt, poetry editor & book designer
Sharon Zetter, poetry editor, book designer & grant writer
Liza Flum, poetry editor & marketing assistant
Juliana Paslay, fiction editor
Gail Aronson, fiction editor
RJ Ingram, OmniVerse contributing editor
Kevin Peters, marketing assistant & OmniVerse Lit Scene editor
Trisha Peck, marketing assistant
Sara Burant, administrative assistant
Josie Gallup, publicity assistant
SD Sumner, publicity assistant

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