Introduction for Miles Champion & Jennifer Moxley

Miles Champion’s books include Compositional Bonbons Placate, Sore Models, Three Bell Zero and How to Laugh (forthcoming from Adventures in Poetry). Providence, an artist’s book in collaboration with Jane South, was published by Sienese Shredder Editions in 2008. His recent writing appears in American Book Review, Critical Quarterly, Mimeo Mimeo, PN Review and The Poetry Project Newsletter. He lives in Brooklyn.

When I think about how poetry can effect our pace my default position tends to be that I want it to slow me down, to slow time down but what I actually love about Miles Champion’s work is that that it seems to tell us that we left that kettle on the stove and it is boiling over in perpetuity. Rapidity of performance also recalibrates attention and hones  imagination to sounds moving successively, and rapidly, in time – and the effect upon “the ‘whirr’ of a person” we each are is charming –as Tom Raworth wrote about Three Bell Zero, Champion uses only necessary words, and puts them in interesting places –  allowing the overwhelming amount discovery in any one instant to “radiate in and out of cloister”. Please welcome Miles to the Poetry Project.

Jennifer Moxley is the author of five books of poetry: Clampdown (Flood 2009), The Line (Post-Apollo 2007), Often Capital (Flood 2005), The Sense Record (Edge 2002; Salt 2003) and Imagination Verses (Tender Buttons 1996; Salt 2003). Her memoir The Middle Room was published by Subpress in 2007. She has translated two books by the French poet Jacqueline Risset, The Translation Begins (Burning Deck 1996) and Sleep’s Powers (Ugly Duckling 2008). She is poetry editor of The Baffler, and contributing editor of The Poker. She works as an Associate Professor at the University of Maine.

I rarely share a personal anecdote in an introduction but tonight I will because when I read Imagination Verses in 1999 as a poetry late-bloomer with very few poet friends, it was not only one of the 1st books of small press poetry I read but also by someone about my age. Somehow ‘the who that I was’ was ready to receive the key knowledge that much space for truthfulness can be created with a little self- dramatizing or as Moxley later said in an interview just last year, “That experience is not merely ‘what happens to us’”. In her latest book Clampdown, Moxley (to run with a line from Ange Mlinko’s review in The Nation) unmasks our country’s bounty as impoverishment, and our body politic as existing in abjection. In the poem “Mother’s Day” the gist of the tragedy comes in the last line with forging a law in someone’s head they’ll never recover from. It’s this consciousness of how political injustice can never really be far removed from us, psychically, at all. There is always a “fantasy party” that Moxley’s work attends as well as stifles, yet as she laid out in her preface to Imagination Verses, the poem continues to offers a history and a future. Please welcome Jennifer to the Poetry Project.