Press Release: as counterpoint to this compressed mass a longing by Jaydn DeWald
SUTRA PRESS announces the release of Jaydn DeWald’s chapbook, as counterpoint to this compressed mass a longing.
The chapbook marks the fifth publication from the independent press, which was founded in 2017 to publish emerging writers that hunger for truth and chapbooks that change our lives and wake us up.
Jaydn DeWald’s as counterpoint to this compressed mass a longing is a series of prose poems disguised as operating instructions, product descriptions, fine print, the “traffic of a dead world” (Devin Johnston). Merging felt experience and ubiquitous nonpersonal “writing,” these 21 untitled text boxes charge our commerce-driven, art-averse language with music, memories, personalities, and loss.
Sample poem from as counterpoint to this compressed mass a longing
Turn around. Today’s your turn in the barrel. Turning toward the sea, the actress felt a vast chamber throw its windows open inside her—an extraordinary turn of events. Like bumbling into this turn-of-the-century Italian dresser with tortoise carvings. His parents would be turning in their separate graves. Now let us turn to the artist’s early sketches: dumpy factory towns, nude boys looking drugged and frightened. Farcically she turns her empty pockets out, releasing an odor of vinegarish flowers. Turned the entire seven-year plan on its head. As we watch, our son half turns back, gripping his little orange cardboard suitcase, then disappears through the crowded gate. What, dost thou turn away and hide thy face? His heart turned to stone floating in deep space. Water turning to hair turning to fire turning to skin. Give us a turn, will you? Return to the bleached-walled kitchen in which I can still hear my mother (who will die before the leaves turn) scatting over her clumsy darningwork. No turns—children playing. How many times must I tell you to turn that down? At the turn of the path, one may receive a sudden, mist-shrouded vision of the mountains. The worm has definitely turned for you, man. The audience turned to the back of the theater, the usherettes casting flashlights over the darkened seats. The old Vietnamese poet turning on tiptoe at the end of the pier, swinging his deer-hide scarf. You can turn everything upside down (a wineglass, a small porcelain toad) but you won’t find anything. Years have passed since he first turned her face to the sunlight, on the white page.
The chapbook began—for me—as a side project, occasional respite from the intensity of lyric poetry or from the labor of narrative fiction. I liked gleaning language, recontextualizing set phrases and adages, discovering the metaphorical potentialities of authoritative, mechanistic prose. One might say I was “inspired” by Frankensteinian attempts to stitch together disparate material—“dead” language—and lightning-strike them to life, a process that in the end proved to be filled (thank goodness) with intensity and labor anyway.
Jaydn DeWald is a writer, teacher, jazz bassist, and the author of two chapbooks, The Rosebud Variations: And Other Variations (Greying Ghost, 2018) and In Whose Hand the Light Expires (Yellow Flag Press, 2018). His poems, stories, and critical essays have appeared in Best New Poets 2015, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz & Literature, The Collagist, Fairy Tale Review, south: a scholarly journal, West Branch, and many others. He lives with his partner and two kids in Bogart, Georgia, where he’s a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia.
as counterpoint to this compressed mass a longing is now available for order at our online store at: sutrapress.com/books. Limited edition saddle-stitched, ~32 pp., ISBN 978-0-9991518-5-3. For more information, email us at email@example.com.