Mark Lamoureux

Mark Lamoureux is the author of Spectre (Black Radish Books, 2010), Astrometry Orgonon (BlazeVOX 2008) and numerous chapbooks. His work has been published extensively in print and online. In 2005, he started Cy GIst Press, a micropress focused on ekphrastic poetry. He teaches composition in the CUNY system.

What is (or has been) your favorite editing project and why?

It is difficult to answer what my favorite editorial project has been. I tend to be somewhat of a serial monogamist with the Cy Gist Press chapbooks—meaning I love each new one as passionately as the last. From a design standpoint, I think I am happiest as an editor when I am designing the entire publication from the ground up (in concert with the author, of course); this enables me to take certain design risks that make the project more interesting for me, and can yield very satisfying results as a finished project.

From a more purely editorial standpoint, I have enjoyed the various open calls I have done for ekphrastic poems—seeing what people come up with and how it compares to my own conception of the image in question is really interesting. For example, for the Face Time anthology of poems accompanying movie and television stills (sort of a frozen-in-time Neo-Benshi), it was exciting to see which movies and poems would appear in my inbox—most everything that came in was satisfying and unexpected, from Paris Hilton in “The Simple Life,” to “Begotten.” The diversity of an anthology is satisfying, but it can be more work than a chapbook by a single author. It also involves writing rejections, which I loathe doing. I think this is good though—my aversion to writing rejection letters causes me to take risks I might not otherwise, and I think that’s good in terms of the diversity of work I am able to put out there. Invariably, stuff that I am on the fence about ultimately proves to be worthwhile when it goes out there into the world.

Editing a micropress is definitely a satisfying and rewarding experience. Very different, I think, than larger institutions where there’s always someone to answer to or for. Every aspect of the process is satisfying and interesting, down to the actual sewing of the chapbooks, which is a tactile and meditative experience that everyone should try at one point or another. Publishing is different from one’s own writing, since the results are immediate and tangible—you might send out a poem or manuscript and nothing will come of it, but in publishing the results are physically right there in your hands for all to see!


3 Sails (Wind Turbine)

Nothing moves me
like the masts of stately wind
turbines, arrayed in rows
along the lip
of a hill or mountain or Venus-
risen from the foment of
the sea, cloud-colored, dryad-slender
with heads spinning like thinking
                cursors, sparking
                the blood of same—
ghost fluid in the xylem
of the spectre flower, O
                radiant bloom
of yoked lightning, your sign
a loving Y, akimbo-armed
                to embrace coursing air—
on the skirts of waves
                of grass or water
                a sentence of same,
the susurrus of sustenance, vectors
                igniting engines
for going. Staves of the new flock,
what may lead us to the other
                side of the looming peak of
                that mountain whose maw
is obsolescence, obscene
degradation of the blue face
of our cradle, the blanket
of our peregrination. Steadfast
                & upright, dotting like
a needle’s path for a sturdy garment
sewn to the side of sidereality,
                diaphanous, invisible
converse of shroud, swaddles
what may be prodigal
                progeny, dancing in whorls
to turndun thrums.

4 Sails (Tjasker)

Creak of water, or the runoff
of a creek of air—ablative
breeze-tense, this arc turned by the far-off
susurrus of banyan grove or the scream
of glaciers. Wind to pump water
to level earth, the human only
a momentary interruption of
the alliance of fluids, humus-
born & bane of our own small quadrant,
the other 3 will be our balm, the stream
of rains & gusts poured by hoary hands
into the endless shuffle of our
plates that float like debris. Mobile
barnacles, we act as shepherds
for our betters, fire that eats us, air
that scares & oceans that hide
creatures & ghosts of commerce.

Kite-cousin, bouquet of Archimedes like
a quiet flightless bird that waits
for the ground to drop away, shunting
the wet slip always in an anxious
patience that begins & ends alike
like an age or man. Flower of the walking
water, you are a sentence spoken
for our lame hearts: this alone the lesson
of the speechless sun & moon &
the rumbling stone-brimmed gods:
make what you will of what I have
made or what eye sees, tend to
what exists, what existed when you
drew your new breaths. Waters
will climb, furies whip up
waves; you will know all
of this. Listen, what kills you
is what lets you live—the rain
that speckles your windows, the ether
that whips your flags will swaddle
your children when your own stupid
storm ceases. Listen to tjasker’s dumb
canticle for the song of your making &
your far-off simple ascension.

6 Sails (The Windmills of Mallorca)

Netted hexagon blossoms
breezes to flour,
the toil of nested axes for we
who eat the bread of the air.

An ambient motion mill,
how the anonymous world
works upon us, clines
                a spirit radio.
                Washed white cloud tower
                               voice broadcast into
grain & chaff. Orange blood of fields of saffron
                crocuses—theirs a poppyheaded
imp what hooks the song
                that is the sex of plants, infirm
piano scherzo:
                hexagram fate of waves,
                unseen bier of deciduous,
                               the ass of the
                               invisible hauls
                               pollen, the burden
of birds & kites & the sails
of ships or these masts
                that run in circles,
                anchor a home in the hills,
                               the weeds, the usual
flora, a named mane tousled
by these same sylphs who
fashion portents of the high sky mists,
the scripts of beings.

                Like a well cast
                up into the singing sheath
of the sphere, 6-pointed stars
make constellations the backbones
                of the not yet heroed, the churning
firmament, which is the ground to which
                those of the heavens crane.

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