Simone White’s introductions for Eric Baus & Wendy S. Walters 9-24-12

Eric Baus is the author of Scared Text (Center for Literary Publishing), Tuned Droves (Octopus Books), and The To Sound (Verse Press/Wave Books). With Andrea Rexilius, he co-edits Marcel Chapbooks. He lives in Denver.

“Verse deflects rats and mules in superstitious fables so precious, proper waters can enter the summit.”

writes Eric Baus in the poem “Scared Text” in his 2011 book Scared Text. I guess this text is not afraid of its will to deflect – it is always trembling, proposing to buzz or frighten the listener in her unlistening house. Threatening, sometimes, to burn the house to “soot.” Deflection of the fable, the fabulous as a kind of stupidity (to be against stupid baby words “saliva” and “milk”), the scared/sacred text is written in a space fully cleared of nonsense.

Its agent is Minus.

The poems emit erotic groans – mmm they say and urrrr and hmm when their master creature, the Ur-Mane, manifests.

Who hisses when she is speaking? “When she was asleep, she was seeing salt, seeing what salt says it is says. She was trying to explain “sistence.”

Whose purr is the forlorn sound of “fffffff”?

Eric Baus’ vision is primordial, it is pre-Edenic. He is in full control of some witchy powers of creation and cancellation. In the poem “Latent Veins” the dance of these powers is violent and terrible; lyric and epic upsurge in it and make the world begin, in pain: “The Blur unfurled its fangs. It stung. I wept to sweep my surface for salt. The cursed covered our caskets with sand.”

Wendy S. Walters is the author of Troy, Michigan (forthcoming from Futurepoem Books in 2013),  Longer I Wait, More You Love Me (2009) and a chapbook, Birds of Los Angeles (2005), both published by Palm Press (Long Beach, CA).  She is a 2011 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Poetry, and has held residency fellowships from Bread Loaf, MacDowell, Cave Canem and Yaddo. Her poems and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Los Angeles Review, Callaloo, HOW2, Natural Bridge, Seneca Review and the Yalobusha Review, Bookforum, The Iowa Review, Coldfront, Seneca Review, Seattle Review, and Harper’s Magazine.   She is also a co-founder of the First Person Plural Reading Series in Harlem with Amy Benson and Stacy Parker Le Melle.

“inside me

are many people

i don’t know

who they speak for

They talk

all the time”

From “Billow” — You could, if you want, take this confession or accusation of a core self as a proposition for reading Wendy’s poems. Oh, this is a poet with an impulse to narrate.  But she will have already rejected the impulse to narrate, rejected it in the way Samuel Beckett rejects it, with hat tricks and re-animation (as in the extraordinary poem that opens “Story of my Life” which reminds me so much of Ed Dorn’s Gunslinger and might establish Wendy in that butch tradition) and unruly migrating stinks, of which she writes in “In Search of the Face” : “Some men climb out of my mind / as if they were fleeing from a flooded sewer / They twist open a my ear / a wrought-iron gate, scamper down my neck / or up across my forehead/ The stink on them may last for years / The stink on me?”

Also, in “In Search of the Face,” Wendy or whoever speaks for her fucks a car. Like the speaker of this poem,  I have always wanted to fuck a car, in total violation of the rules that supposedly constitute the decorous model of black womanhood that appears to appear before you. The matter of Wendy’s perspective remains unresolved.