Hannah Weiner is a unique character in experimental poetry. Her work, which is often associated with the Language poets, is a particular mixture of multiple layers of texts and sometimes brings to mind the chance-operational writings of Jackson Mac Low. As Joyelle McSweeney put it in his review of her poetry in the Boston Review, her work “continually tests and knocks against the visual boundaries of text as it attempts to create an audial-visionary experience no conventional prose could hold.”
Weiner’s poetry is strongly influenced by what she referred to as “clairvoyant experiences”: “I SEE words on my forehead IN THE AIR on other people on the typewriter on the page.” What might seem like a superstitious eccentricity when described in this way, was of course actually a symptom of schizophrenia. A fact which far from lessening her achievements as a poet, highlight her extraordinary career. As Charles Bernstein writes in his article for Jacket2 after her death in 1997:
“Hannah Weiner’s work is not a product of her illness but a heroic triumph in the face of it. Her personal courage in refusing to succumb to what often must have been unbearable fear induced by her illness, her persistence in writing in spite of her disabilities, is one of the legacies of her work. And if her schizophrenia gave her insight into language, into human consciousness, into the nature of how everyday life can be presented rather than represented in writing — well, we all have to start from where we are.”
http://jacketmagazine.com/12/wein-bern.html (Bernstein on Weiner)
My own response to Weiner’s work pays tribute to her idea of clairvoyance. It is of course not a literal interpretation, but I was reminded of the fact that in our world today many of us are indeed suffering disruptions of interfering language in their everyday lives as well. I was thinking of smartphones and smart watches constantly pushing messages to us all day. Even though this is of course nowhere as debilitating as the illness Weiner suffered from, I still noticed the parallels… My below piece is thus working with the language of these kind of smartphone notifications which were inserted into the main text by a chance procedure.
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We go through the motions. We go through each at a time. Perfectly hoping. We go towards and a way at a safe distance. We THOMAS UPLOADED A NEW PICTURE profess. We seek what we seek what we seek in. Hallelujah, sequin. What little can there be left now that we made it this far. This perfectly. This perfectly reflected in multiple high resolution media outlets. This perfectly filtered. But going. We go through the motions. Tea milk sugar repeat. Tea milk sugar no A MESSAGE FROM SMILE sugar. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. At 7:04 a Smoothie. We go through the motion smoothly. A mix of banana coconut milk and passion. Passion fruit and mint. Perfectly hoping. At a safe ANNIE, CITY BREAKS FROM £32.99 THIS MAY distance toward the weekend. At 7:05 through the door. Through the perfect. We go through everything at once. Multi-medial window seats. We go through pretty glossy perfect paper. We profess. We seek in everything what we seek out. A vacant seat. We go through the rows to the front. We search for the keys on the door step. WHAT’S IN STORE THIS MAY We go through the motions. Every day before the MAXIMO PARK, BBC PROMS IN THE PARK 2015 news. Every day between 7:22 and 9:15 on the door step. Every we as we go perfectly hoping. We profess this too. Smooth in a world LOVISA’S DELICIOUS SHRIMP SALAD of mint and window seats. The glossy. The shoe shine. The coffee. The headphone lead. We go through substantial trouble. It’s a metaphor. It’s a Hallelujah. We go the safe distance. We answer always. We might wait a few hours but we always answer. We drop the keys at the door. SARAH UPDATED HER STATUS We scramble for the keys on the door step. We scramble for the missing key. We profess. We envision. We go through the motions perfectly. KEVIN SHARED A LINK Every automatic teller we seek QUALITY GUARANTEED LARGE PIZZA £9.99 in. We go towards and at a safe distance we scramble for the pulse of time. We scramble for the front seat. The multi-medial success of rest. We seek out what LAST WEEKEND | PENNY SALE AND FREE DELIVERY we seek in glossy paper. Headlines in head we profess coffee and sugar. The vacant seat by the door. This perfectly filtered. We take less sugar. We take the steam machine rather than the slow drop. We take the banana coconut passion fruit. We take CHANGES TO THE WAY YOU UPGRADE at a reasonable rate. This weekend. At 2:46. We toe the line. We stand. EMMA UPDATED HER STATUS We wait. Perfectly reflected in the fronts of glossy. We go through the motions. We filter smoothly. We filter this reflection smoothly. Perfectly in control of passion. At 6:25 at a distance. We seek the vacant window reflection. Coffee. RESET YOUR PASSWORD We profess a mix of milk. We go through the door perfectly. A window gloss filter multi-media. We go through the motions. We coffee. We with the headphone lead. The window vacant. We with the mint multi-medial smile. Perfectly, sequin. We seek out what we sugar. The front seat on the headline train. We hold @COLIN254 IS NOW FOLLOWING YOU on. We mind the gap. We go through the motions. We lead the headphone distance perfectly. BRIGHT, BOLD & BEAUTIFUL We toe the line. We are perfectly connected. The keys in the door every day at 8:60. The keys and the thumb and the steam machine. We profess. We are reasonable. We drop the keys. We pick the keys. The door step at a distance the coconut juice. HAIR CARE FROM NOUKRIN © We are the gloss. We are the shoe shine. We comment with less sugar. We hold the line. The front seat train to perfectly. We are waiting. 7:16. We are waiting. We are waiting. The headphones lead no where. 8:23 is coffee. Is perfectly 3 TIPS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR DIET PLAN standing. The vacant smile reflection window seat. We go through the motions. We go through the glossy headline smoothie. We hold between stations the multi-medial hope. We wifi. Wefi. 8:24. We go through the motions. We seek out the shortest line. We passion VOICEMAIL HAS 1 NEW MESSAGE fruit. We go through the filter. The coffee. The coffee. The steam machine. We hold on to multi-story headlines. We wifi a perfect passion juice. We filter the window vacant flection. We take at a reasonable. We profess we never took. We gather paper. STEP 2 The window with the vacant sequin seat. We go through. We mind reasonably. We perfectly are. The keys always on the belt BEN, PHIL AND SUSAN LIKE YOUR PHOTO jingling. We go through the motion. We seek out We seek out. We filter smoothly. We thumb the multi-media distance. We profess at a reasonable rate. We are sequin. We are multi-window. At headphone lead distance we profess we are a gap. We gather. We drop the motion. At 9:17 we hold the time. We with the reason VIEW YOUR RECENT TRANSACTIONS NOW in media mirrors. We with the gaping passion smile. We on the train line. Every we shining. We with the mint and the teller gap. We with the window wifi. The coffee on a motionless shirt. We mind the gap. We mind the motion. We are waiting by the steam machine. We perfectly perfectly. The passion STYLIST PICKS: BEST OF VINTAGE FESTIVAL machine and the thumb. The thunder. We with the station window. On the train with the open door. We on sugar with the lead in the headlines. We thumb. We lead the sequin. We with no filter for a single day. We on the door step with keys in NEW ALIVE the gap. We motion. We reason. We done waiting. We with the scissors through the lead. The hammer in the window. We with the motion to halt the train. We motion. We standing not waiting. Every we shining. No reasonable time. We go through. We drop the motion. We perfectly with no filter for GET THE HOTTEST DEALS NOW a single day. We seek. We profess. We still hoping. At 9:30 maybe a few minutes. The passion. The passion. We with the WELCOME + 3 TIPS FOR SUCCESS! headphone maybe too late.