Sunday, January 6, 2013

Aimless Reading: The Y's, Part 1 (Matvei Yankelevich)

Alpha Donut
Yankelevich, Matvei
Alpha Donut

Given to me by the author.

I first met Matvei when Brendan Lorber scheduled us to read together at Zinc in, I think, 2005. Actually, I was asked to give a talk of some kind. I ended up talking about Charles Olson along with Ammiel Alcalay. The two of us had just gotten the OlsonNow project off the ground and this was our first public presentation of the idea. It was sort of a prep for the event we put on at the poetry project later that year.

I remember Matvei handed out little slips of paper that had short poems -- or maybe aphorisms or epigrams -- typed out on them. At some point during the Aimless Reading project, one of these fell out of a book I was examining and I may have even written about it on the log. I can't recall which book it was in and a quick search for Matvei's name in the archive turns up nothing.

Matvei came to Buffalo two or three times in the ensuing years. Two, I think. I first brought him and two other UDP editors up for a reading at Big Orbit Gallery. He and Anna Moschovakis and Genya Turovskaya all stayed at our house in Black Rock. Then Matvei came to read at the Buffalo Small Press Book fair reading two years ago.

I saw him again this summer at the UDP studios, which I visited for the first time. After the reading we all went out to a great Italian place down the street and sat outside at a table on the sidewalk, eating and drinking and talking.

He came up to New Haven for a reading with Eileen Myles last fall. They read in a big greenhouse, surrounded by large, medium and small tropical plants. It took place in the March Botanical Gardens. I remember strolling around in the cactus room after the reading.

from Alpha Donut


I am writing this poem against the image. Look at me–you see that I'm engaging with you, so look out into my eyes. The soul is out for a walk but you can't see a soul, see smoke but only as in rising, see fish as in preserved for future generations. A sudden flash of numbered days like lost and boring minutes that shine with green envy, that last as long as night. Words fear their nature: together we trust each other the ay woods trust wind–they cannot see it. Out "wind," our "time," our "we," built on drift.

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