Cable Factory 20by Lytle Shaw
Poetry. The water shored up the pilings and barnacles/ that shored up the pier, that shored up/ the memory machine. In Lytle Shaw's CABLE FACTORY 20, Robert Smithson's description of the landscape surrounding his Spiral Jetty in Utah's Great Salt Lake guides 20 site-specific poems. In the spirit of Smithson's site/ non-site dynamic, which proposes a continuous
Poetry. The water shored up the pilings and barnacles/ that shored up the pier, that shored up/ the memory machine. In Lytle Shaw's CABLE FACTORY 20, Robert Smithson's description of the landscape surrounding his Spiral Jetty in Utah's Great Salt Lake guides 20 site-specific poems. In the spirit of Smithson's site/ non-site dynamic, which proposes a continuous circuit between objects selected for framing as art and the contexts out of which they have been pulled, Shaw uses the the San Francisco Bay Area as his laboratory, exploring the extent to which a poetics of place, a linguistic site-specificity, is possible in the social/architectural landscape of the century America. Lytle Shaw edits SHARK with artist Emilie Clark. Their collaborations ROUGH VOICE and FLEXAGON, as well as SHARK, are available from SPD.
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- 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Read an Excerpt
Everyone loves cable.
Continents connected, sea-floor cable.
The new cable lined in any neighborhood.
One can be embarrassed by the factory.
Description factory, tractor celebration.
What role then for broad production
How to and the glamour of public transport.
This way site would have
the broadest stretch.
Drawing zig-zag brick patterns
and etched street designs in yet
to be watered suburbs.
All links pressure skin.
Which begs, who's the filter feeder?
Down at the bottom of the tank.
Connections, infections, language baths
(as the scientists and many poets remind us), may
not be what is distinctive or essential.
Sorting can go on indefinitely.
Could reference just fade
back into the world, so excited tobe
at work and pointing?
Undergirding the lake and
its extensions are cable's two
modescommunicative and structural.
Letters man the fill.
Mostly it's small displacements:
visual mining now heard.
up from glass plates,
chew on, learning to
diagram sediment, spin
screen room reels.
At first admit the fan.
To participate, I draw scenes:
life in Utah: a dump-truck
contest where picnics work
rock expansion. So hagiography
yields in shallow water,
sinking to place
toward staked markers.
analog delay grows
of collapse never ours.
Searing in desert heat,
Only from the helicopter
connect as plates:
klieg lights of noon-day sunshine
sap, cinematize the site.
Which is exactly where, since maps
at once crease to opposites?
Bits thread west, others
to clean views (stores)
and signal out again.
Location leaps cleaning
and suds apply
ear pressure, ear to ground.
Raise mud museum:
send round word of where to saw.
Mechanics drop tools to gaze at the nebula.
U-turning trucks pause in erosion beds.
Dumping loads letters for microscopes.
Sulfur-water, pumps, ledge deformation.
At this early stage, each method seemed to apply.
But the grain of surrounding
less resembles desert lakes.
And as surveyors break cloud level,
responsibility and chaos
pressed under a new highway system
vanish into diphthongs at a pool.
Lifts accelerate the passing-under function, weight
gone in slickness of floss.
certain aspects of this museum can peel away
but the reality behind
filters you to the Plains States
just the same.
To every trip comes definition.
Clouds seal an entry.
Industries emerge and jokes apply:
a candidate for medieval knighthood,
serving a knight as attendant and shield bearer.
Redwoods chopped, dragged to bay,
nest and de-nest
as debatable land claims monopolize port.
Breweries become anecdotesand now
You're watching from a front porch
sprawl grown familiar:
Sometimes used as a title of courtesy
in its abbreviated form
after a person's full
These scenes wedge between blocks
And even the shellmound,
appears on recent maps, where
Lost intentions meet us on stairs,
explain grocery lags. In short,
air and land locked in vast lattice.
So as space widens, paths multiply,
and breathy line-turns
settle down to discrete camps
(for bony plates)
teased out in new
word-rooms of varying tile order.
See for instance the section on Henry Kaiser,
three teams on
steel hulls over hours,
leaning on an exodus
and changed group photo.
but looms still stream.
Ramped streetcar lines link downtown
to the elevated cemetery
with a fine chalky deposit
(perhaps dust blown from raised coral reefs)
and oblong tubes spin behind glass.
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