12 February 2012


I am unsure of the writing process Michael Sikkema employed while writing his 2008 collection Futuring (Blazevox), but given the fact that these poems exhibit an aesthetic that is a) acoustically-driven, b) serial in nature, yet c) semantically fragmented, I'm left to assume that he used some type of collage, erasure, found, or procedural method when writing these pieces. Reading the poems as such, they function mainly as soundscapes within/upon the field of the page. It is no coincidence, then, that Geoffrey Gatza designed the book artifact in a landscape orientation, literally allowing Sikkema's words (and their corresponding articulations) both to populate and situate themselves within the dual sonic and material fields. In lieu of a more traditional review, then, I thought it would be more appropriate to collage (mostly) phrases from Futuring together so as to offer a review that embodies the aesthetic of the poems while simultaneously addressing the text's conceptual underpinnings.

Hidden in the acoustics of imagined geographies, the girl wakes with an excited sentence in her mouth: "Everything you see is music," she says, "but my voice is not quite loud enough to cross so many fields." Yet, when crossing the field, this distance filled with static, this brilliant meadow, there are no names for trees or the idea of you in it. If the field is a landscape, then give me a landscape as real as a painting so paintings operate like sunsets. Undone by sounds, we look up from syntax to find the music irreparable: a series of hole-punched suns.
Finally, it should also be noted that there are some great, lasting images scattered throughout the collection as well. Particular favorites of mine include: "fuckable sunshine during police raid," "after a condom on a pie plate," and "Men harness cattle to the Trans Am."

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