For Adeena Karasick, Multimedia Is the Message

Poet Walks the Fine Line Between Theory and Performance

By Jake Marmer

Published November 22, 2012, issue of November 30, 2012.
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This Poem
By Adeena Karasick
Talonbooks, 128 pages, $19.95

New York Transit system’s Poetry in Motion series are coming back, and commuters are able to stretch their necks towards the MTA-curated chance of momentary transcendence amidst the array of newspapers and magazines, flashing screens of iphones and all manner of other unnamable devices. Adeena Karasick’s recent book, “This Poem” does not promise this sort of transcendence. Rather, it attempts to beat the information overcrowding at its own game. Karasick’s work proclaims itself to be “sick of your unzipped files / your empty typologies // (your references, preferences, profiles all pulsing / and compressed) - /// and just wants you to be its / bloggy woggie google boy / at Avenue C”.

A Touch of the Poet: In her writing, Karasick walks the line between academia and street art, between theory and performance.
Courtesy Adeena Karasick
A Touch of the Poet: In her writing, Karasick walks the line between academia and street art, between theory and performance.

“This Poem” is Karasick’s eighth collection. A professor of media studies at Fordham University, she walks the line between academia and street art, theory and performance. Karasick is well known for her multimedia work and electrifying live shows — and so even on the page, her poetry tends to reach toward other art mediums and sprawl across categories and dimensions.

In general, poems are thought to be something of a bridge between writers’ and readers’ imaginations — a device used to evoke an emotional or mental space, a multilayered experience. But what if, as Karasick’s latest book seems playfully to suggest, a poem is an independent being of its own — with its own opinions, moods, sass and wide array of attractive hang-ups? After all, a result of a collective experience often turns out to be something beyond the sum of its elements. That’s true for anything from a regular conversation to your Facebook feed, from the stock market to religion — and it is especially true for language, which is perhaps what Karasick is driving at in her composition. “This Poem” is about itself as it is coming into existence:

Celebrating its curves
getting all buff-
ered up, and
wants you to know
it is lexically
flexible, fierce
and feels amazing, internally
It is fingering its text box
Filling its fun bags
while smacking its ass-
symmetric ruckus sallow spigot stuttered caesura
spewing its bonnet honeypot


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