Gale Batchelder, Susan Berger-Jones, and Judson Evans
Using Werner Herzog’s extraordinary documentary film, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, about the discovery of a cave full of Paleolithic art, three poets–Gale Batchelder, Susan Berger-Jones, and Judson Evans–decided to collaborate. Together and individually, they worked over time, with comments and revisions by the others, until the poems in Chalk Song began to take shape, the inimitable weaving together of three voices guided by sonic reverberations, time travel, and Frank O’Hara’s understanding of movies as that “glamorous country.” This is an extraordinary book full of gorgeous music pulling you into its deep and fantastic crevices. Read Chalk Song and get lost on its many paths, where the “jars are on fire” and “you are the opposite of Orpheus.” – John Yau, author of Genghis Chan on Drums
Chauvet-Pont-d’Arc I am dark and near dying I want you to tell only the light in my fur, bright as fire Cut as with teeth in char and blood spooning shapes, a defile between hills, side by side on both or all feet at once in steps that cannot be mistaken across the crumble of sheaves Red palm alone with crooked finger an abrupt shiny echo, the color of snow Combed Horses What may be said if we break our colloquial winds into violets like trade pillows (here) or the baffled dawn under (no, inside) celadon dust with lard & vent pole telegraphs have contrail fur & gravity must be bare a shagged O for glottal secretion beside dazzling rag fire where we forget (we are) yellow, uninvited & world-like – who would put a dandelion here? Hunted Cirrus Perhaps it is okay That we love capsized swans Housed in moonlit cages The way floodlights drift In and out of opaline shot-cuts Shadow and footfall Lavender and commotion What else do we know? The very essence of years Is the way errata blooms Sputtered through silent films Whether or not the landscape is painted by hopscotch A river’s name descends from parlor games The boats are always dusty Folded inside crooked fingers Slow paper currents make starlets Too beautiful to be stand-ins Inside loose lullabies A child is torn from her daguerreotype The movie is a nest of clouds Still waiting for the moon’s crayon-cue If only our arms would stand still As we crawl past hired dreamers The armies beyond barbed wire fencing Might halt to smell flowers Where the ground is an origamist The fields are strewn Sometimes with charcoal horses Sometimes with clover
About the Authors
Gale Batchelder lives in Cambridge. Her work has been published in the poetry anthologies New Smoke (2009) and Triumph of Poverty (2011), in White Whale Review, Amethyst Arsenic, SpoKe4, and in Colorado Review.
Susan Berger-Jones is an architect and poet. She has had a hand in building homes, museums, sheds, pools, auditoriums, birdhouses, sand castles and skyscrapers. Her written and visual work has appeared in Drunken Boat, No Exit, and two anthologies of ekphrastic poems published by Off the Park Press. A chapbook collaboration, ‘Surface Tension: After The Paintings of Francis Bacon,’ written with Judson Evans, won a finalist award from The Center for Book Arts. She is currently working an architectural response to Stan Brakhage’s “Mothlight.”
Judson Evans is a poet whose work has focused on crossing genres and collaboration. He regularly publishes haiku, and the related form of haibun, as well as contemporary lyric poems. He was recently named Haibun Editor of Frogpond, the journal of the Haiku Society of America. In 2007, he was chosen as an “Emerging Poet” by John Yau for The Academy of American Poets and won the Philip Booth Poetry Prize from Salt Hill Review in2013. His poems have appeared most recently in Folio, Volt, 1913: a journal of forms, Cutbank, and The Sugar House Review