Gabriella Garcia reviewed We Lack in Equipment & Control for SUNY Geneseo’s National Book Review Month, and she made some astute observations.
Fortin admits herself to an unknown space without hesitance, however she also makes claims and maintains a tone that is rather instructional sometimes reading like a dictionary entry. This does not compromise the emotion in her work. On the contrary, when reading Fortin I feel as though she has painted me a different person and now narrates my life, relaying as the architect a new world with ten suns, a guide titled Get Help In Over 50 Languages, a live chat with my meteorologists about venues, and moments where I cry in my car alone.
“I read as a way to shape my approach, to choose a general direction instead of letting it choose me, to be set into motion.”
Carley Moore reviewed We Lack in Equipment & Control for PANK, saying some great things about weather.
The weather can hold us, Fortin suggests in this fascinating and rich new collection, if we only turn and face it.
“Today was very boring, all I did was play Ping-Pong and read. I liked today, though. It was relaxing.”
The New School Writing Program’s B.C. Griffith interviewed me. I elaborate on a new movement in writing that I’m creating: Slow Writing.
In Bulgarian, the word for time and the word for weather are the same—spend some weather, too, on your writing; bear up, note what’s going on around you, survive, and exert energy doing so. Acknowledge that exposure affects you.
[W]hat We Lack In Equipment & Control does for sure—foreground artifice as a means to both provoke and embrace yearning—it does exceptionally well. For this, this new collection deserves attention.
Rigorous in thought, playful with her words, Fortin always takes a hard look, teasing us with sentence fragments, adjective-nouns, and vagueties. She reminds us by example, we lack in equipment and control.
A Dutch pub ran a review of We Lack in Equipment & Control. The review is in Dutch, which makes it largely unavailable unless you know Dutch. However, applying a translation tool to it yields some fun results. Tim Donker, how do you say thank you in Dutch?
Because on the one first sight, the above poem are not directly iron the most powerful poem I ever read, and yet there is that slight alienation that intrigues, sucking in further draws.
GIVE OR TAKE was one of the best things Joshua Ware had read during a particular month. He reviewed the chapbook at Vouched.
Just like pronouns and the emotional states affixed to them, Fortin’s prose poems are both tender and complex in concept and delivery.
Fortin seems to want it all—a book that engages the reader with a context, that distorts its context, and that comments on why it does so.
Some of my notes from that meeting include the modest, yet harder-to-achieve-than-you-may-think goal that “people will read it,” and the serious “RESPONSIBILITY of the editors.”
I vote for less writing in the world—for a Slow Writing movement. I want to read and write distillations. We need help, I believe, understanding that not everything we think and say needs to be documented—it’s not all precious, worth energized pursuit.
A purposeless firework—all that chemistry without aim, be it a boy’s haircut or a palm, a fish, a salute. The bang and crackle that could make a man fall. An apology can be an expression popped out of and through impression’s perforations.
I just very much wonder if people would value the world more were we to handle everything slower, more carefully. Just because we can bang out so many poems or chapters a month, doesn’t mean we should. A terribly unimaginative chill settles in when we’re not resourceful.
THE NEXT BIG THING
Nate Pritts tagged me to participate in this self-interview project, so I am “IT.”
What is the working title of the book?
GIVE OR TAKE
Where did the idea come from for the book?
For the past year or so, I’ve been searching for a balance of clarity & subtlety in my writing. These pieces represent a departure from my previous work, in that most of the time they speak in more traditional sentence or sentence-like structure, with certain identifiable elements. I hope these poems are faint & bold at the very same time.
What genre does your book fall under?
Perhaps it is a collection of poems.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Antonioni would direct my dear friend Emma Crane Jaster, a brilliant actor/dancer/thinker/mime/communicator/so on, who would play all parts.
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
The hidden cost of having family photos taken is having a family.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Some warm-weather months, for me, of a year.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Certain people, circumstances, pressures. Levelheadedness. The usual.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
How personal the topic of erasure is to me.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Soon, it will come out as a Greying Ghost chapbook, about which I am very happy. Carl’s spirit & skills are something else (thank you, Carl!).
My tagged writers for next week are:
The Goucher Quarterly, my alumni mag, published an interview with me about Mined Muzzle Velocity. Read about my habits & beliefs, & my Subaru owner’s manual.
Here’s a review of MMV by j/j hastain from Turntable+Blue Light.
In Jennifer H. Fortin’s Mined Muzzle Velocity, we learn firsthand how “impairment / can alter how we increase.” Fortin has compiled a book of fragments and connections in postcard form. The postcard as base for both the analytical and the intimate information included in the book is felt as a stricture. A beneficial impairment. A tightness that holds us in and to it until we leak. We burst forth. We emanate beyond stricture. Is that not what postcards are for? To bleed on or to weep on or to leave our very individual fingerprints on as we read them while we are cutting meat?
The poems are written by a speaker on the go, moving through time, but also markedly through space (travelling). There needed to be speed in the title. Muzzles, of course, are interesting to anyone concerned with language/thought/sound—& muzzle velocity is just a crazy thing. Mine = possession, excavate, landmine, underground. Undermine, hoard. Muzzle on the mind to keep it from hurting & hurtling deep into space.
To think is to thank, etymologically, and, I’d say, actually, too. Thinking is a form of gratitude, of acknowledgment of things and objects, people, places and ideas, beyond the self. Even in the midst of misery, there’s some relief to be had in the ability to observe. To thank is to point to the responsible individual or thing, as in: owing to him or her or the circumstances of this day, (x). I’d say, then, that the responsible person is the thinking person. She’s the one who remembers, who notices, who is conscious and considerate. She evaluates, she has the form of something in her mind.