Readings in Contemporary Poetry

Tonya Foster and Marcella Durand

Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 6:30 pm, Dia:Chelsea

Event Details
Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 6:30 pm

535 West 22nd Street, 5th Floor
New York City 

Free for Dia members; $10 general admission; $6 admission for students and seniors 

Advance ticket purchases recommended. Tickets are also available for purchase at the door, subject to availability. 

Tonya Foster is the author of the bilingual chapbook La Grammaire des Os (The Grammar of Bones [éditions joca seria, 2016]), the author of the poetry collection A Swarm of Bees in High Court (Belladonna, 2015), and a coeditor of Third Mind: Creative Writing through Visual Art (Teachers and Writers Collaborative, 2002). Foster is an assistant professor of writing, literature, and creative writing at California College of the Arts in Oakland, and is also a poetry editor at Fence magazine. Her work has been published in Callaloo, Hat, MiPOesias, NYFA Arts Quarterly, Poetry Project Newsletter, and Western Humanities Review, as well as on the Poetry Foundation website and elsewhere.

from Etiquette
           In collaboration with Alice Notley’s Descent of Alette

Toddler-head tilted, fore-finger pressed against
the side of his tender jaw, M. poses, looks like he’s thinking,
looks like he’s looking at me looking at him;

in the photo, looks like he’s looking through the remnants
I’ve made, at each you who holds the photos before your face
no matter how long after you’re looking at the him in this looking out.

You see in the looking out and your looking in something of the self
that you, years later, will come to know, will come to be, and to know and to be are
forms of loving, are forms of holding a body and ideas of looking,
of bodies in a mind like a prism.

To say “Light falls” or “Night falls” is to speak of space, the curvatures
we navigate. Blood-bound, we are at B.’s Las Vegas wedding before you are you, 
and M. has just learned that a camera assembles and refracts. I point. He points. Each shot a we

In-a-would-be-drowned city, what one girl saw
of grief was the war-lost father and a baby brother laid out like expanses
of water we, even as we stand on far shores, must cross.

And the girl and M and you and I are blood-bound.
It is sassy to say, “I see”; sassier to say, “I see you”;
sassiest to say, “I see you looking at me,” to call out
what we are looking for.

For a time, grief politely organized the water-logged girl politely.
In a family photo, she sits center, hands folded in her lap. I hear that she
was for a long time largely quiet, holding her grief-strung tongue

the way a proper lady is meant to. A woman watches her p’s and cues
“woman” through the delicate clearing of her bangs or the smoothing of her skirt,
value “biologically determined,” “socially performed.”

In some corners, to ask “What are you looking at?” is another way of saying
“What do you want?” Is another way of saying, “Keep that shit to yourself.”
Is another way of saying, “I’m not available for the viewing.” 

And a wake is another kind of viewing, a view of the surface of darkness
overfocused and announced, before underground.
But laid out, he is still a young man. Laid out, he is always but a boy. 

And you and M and the girl-come woman and I and they are blood-bound,
are, of course, an iteration of we that wills out.
“Endlessly endless” will…

Marcella Durand’s most recent books are Rays of the Shadow (Tent Editions, 2017) and Le Jardin de M. (The Garden of M. [éditions joca seria, 2016]), with French translations by Olivier Brossard. Other books include: a collaboration with Tina Darragh, Deep eco pré (Little Red Leaves, 2009); AREA (Belladonna, 2008); and Traffic & Weather (Futurepoem, 2008), written during a residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. She lives in New York, where she is working on a long piece for two voices titled Mirror Lines and completing her translation of Michèle Métail’s book-length poem Les horizons du sol (The Horizons of the Soil, 1999).

from Rays of the Shadow

There are two words: leaf and reflection. We could all
parlay via these words and grow conversation.
Lights find their end in waves as ocean flowers to
land under rain. Amorphous water, when will you
take shape and line? Like life in a like square. Within
it is the already seen and said. Reflect says
water and leaf says light. Ardent over the land.