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Nick Thran on Maps: Gibber and Everything Sings | Lemon Hound

An excerpt: “A subtle but important challenge is leveled in Gibber, one that resounds across stylistic boundaries and categorical terminologies: How deep into the forest are you willing to go to speak to the things we stand to lose? In this respect, Gibber is a depth chart.”



Curating the Cosmos: Gibber

Gibber has been included in an online collection of artworks assembled for the 2013 annual conference of the Association of American Geographers. Of Gibber, Professor Deborah Dixon writes, 

"In Gibber, the Aeolian Marsh, and The Confluence we find work that speaks to an embodied poetics built around a practice of experimentation and performance. Placing it within a Humboltian sense of unity, Gibber, the work of rawlings, resonates with Wylie’s (2005) conception of landscape understood as that “with which” we see, such that rawlings’ “ecopoethic praxis” is an enactment of practice with the landscape. This is a practice attentive to the shaping of bodies and processes, which are of and within the landscape. … The engagement with the cosmos here is one of attentiveness and immanence, one where control and agency is distributed between and across bodies, be they human, nonhuman, or something else. 

Each of these works, then, is highly creative-critical-political in their stance. From rawlings’ interrogation and unsettling of the anthropocentricities of language and the hegemonic power relationships those languages support, to Russo’s placement of The Confluence as counter-mapping-radical-poetics, to Berner and Stanley’s nuanced understanding of Arrowhead Marsh which, situates their piece as poetics-hybrid-political ecology, these three poets illustrate the possibilities that such practices point toward in eco-politicizing creative geographies.

Within their critical and political stance, it is important to note that these pieces are also playful. We suspect this playfulness, which is based on openness and a desire to work in a field that migrates across bodies and disciplines, is key to reimagining, mapping, and counter-mapping the human place in the cosmos. What is more, playfulness migrates across many other works within this collection which, challenge the way we perceive ‘reality’ and the cosmos. Such works resonate with what Deleuze and Guattari term the ‘play of the world,’ which can be seen in ‘a semiotic fragment [that] rubs shoulders with a chemical interaction, an electron crashes into a language, a black hole captures a genetic message’ (2004[1987]:77). Play here, then, becomes entangled with the heterogenity and openness of experience such that it can be understood as a means of acknowledging the manner in which ‘[d]isparate elements … come together in a multitude of different ways’ (Clark 2003).”



Interview on Jacket2

Gary Barwin’s visual poetry commentary and interviews on Jacket2 visited my Gibber recently. We discussed poethics, countermapping, and Barthes’ Pleasure of the Text. Deep gratitude for Gary’s engagement, questions, insight. An excerpt:

GB: In Gibber, you explore how language names/claims the land, how it ‘marks’ it. But, you seem to say that, through a lively, engaged and aware reading, we can unpack the assumptions of language and consider how it can or cannot become part of the ecosystem and/or biosemantic lang/dscape. You explore how the landscape can be read as its own text as opposed to how we read the landscape through our preconceptions, through the conceptual (textual) frame work of our naming, our categorization. Thinking about Barthes’ Pleasure of the Text, would you say that we might imagine the environment a ‘writerly’ text as opposed to a ‘readerly’ one?

ar: I thought about Barthes’ Pleasure of the Text, and looked at Gibber gestures through Pleasure’slens. Marveled at this potential revision: “That is the pleasure of the text: value shifted to the sumptuous rank of the” signified.

What does it help us to fashion an ecosystem (or any ecosystem components) as a text, or to fashion an ecosystem (or any…) as a writer of its own text? What does it help us to imagine an ecosystem (or…) as a collaborator? Each analogy roots the relational seed of interconnection; it pursues hope that we can sense our way into healthier relationship with all that surrounds, sustains, confounds.

Look again: is language an only / a lonely sense for conceiving the world? What sensory components build the linguistic? Listen well. Gibber may be more about conversation than text. Or if text, then text as representing, archiving, recreating the conversation. The conversation between (human and other-than-human) bodies.



Hands Up for Indigenous Literacy




A transdisciplinary series developed by 2012 Queensland Poet-in-Residence a rawlings, Gibber ( explores the language of ‘here’ and the language nurtured within the state’s bioregions.

Gibber includes:

  • “Gibberbird,” a twenty-page poetry suite 
  • “Land,” a digital poem
  • “#gibberese,” archive of a collaborative online event with twenty-five writers in Australia, Canada, and USA
  • “Vialence,” photographic documentation of site-specific performances that found my signifier vials in collaboration with multiple Queensland environments
  • “Gibberland,” photographic documentation of Queensland place names juxtaposed with different environments
  • “Signif,” animal-referent clichés juxtaposed with their signified
  • Sound poems recorded in multiple Queensland environments: north, south, beside
  • Photographic documentation of multiple environmental readings: bubble, sand, trace, bark, ground, flora, kite
  • “Museum of Sound,” three essays reflecting on the ethics that informed the creation of Gibber
  • “Museum of Land,” texts on having conversations with landscapes, plus a map of Gibber’s source
  • “Asemic Writing,” a statement on ecosystems and their inhabitants as authors of asemic writing

Gibber can be viewed in its entirety online here:

Gibber is supported by the generosity of Arts Queensland, the State Library of Queensland, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, and the Queensland Poetry Festival.



Australia solar eclipse delights thousands

Eclipse draws many to Queensland. 



Queensland Poetry Festival 2013

Queensland Poetry Festival is currently inviting proposals from poets, spoken word artists, and performers interested in being part of the 17th annual festival, spoken in one strange word.”



Interview on Cordite

During the 2012 Queensland poetry residency, Brisbane-based poet and dedicated community organizer Graham Nunn interviewed me about Gibber, the project in development during my June to September stay in Australia. The interview offers insight into the poethics informing GibberCordite Poetry Review has now published this generous interview online. 

One of the fascinating souls I met during my time in Brisbane was Thomas Day. In collaboration with Eleanor Jackson, Thomas co-created a performance on the work of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. And as the mind behind noknowthing films, he directed the QPF Filmmaker’s Challenge 2012 winner (a film called “Just Before You Died,” also a collaboration with Eleanor). What I witnessed of his solo in-progress work has inspired me with its acerbic, tight wordplay and its urgent care (or care informed by necessity).

Thomas and I recently collaborated on a video/sound work called “glacierkull.” The film will debut twice in the coming week: @ With Baited Breath… an evening of experiential (November 2, Brisbane) and @ the Tokyo Sound Poetry Festival (November 7-8, Tokyo).



#gibberese/Vatnsafn edition

#gibberese will be performed live via projection by 25 writers from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, and Iceland in Stykkishólmur, Iceland at Vatnasafn (Library of Water) on Saturday, October 13th. The first edition of #gibberese was performed for the Queensland Poetry Festival on August 25th, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia. At Vatnasafn, Eiríkur Örn Norðdahl and I will perform from our separate works while the live #gibberese feed is projected on the walls. The evening will culminate in a mysterious collaboration by Eiríkur and me.

Participants include Ray Hsu (Canada), david stavanger (Australia), Kent MacCarter (Australia), Katie Fedosenko (Australia), Julie Beveridge (Australia), Craig Dodman (Canada), Carmel Purkis (Canada), Christine Leclerc (Canada), Angela Szczepaniak (Canada), Angela Hibbs (Canada), Sarah Gory (Australia), Michael Christopher Holmes (Canada), Sonnet L’Abbe (Canada), Jamie Popowich (Canada), Tim Sinclair (Australia), Elee KG (Canada), Tamara Lazaroff (Australia), Chloë Callistemon (Australia), Kári Páll Óskarsson (Iceland/Germany), Kári Tulinius (Iceland/France), Bragi Páll Sigurðarson (Iceland), Helen White (Belgium), Sachiko Murakami (Canada), françois luong (France/USA), and Bergþóra Snæbjörnsdóttir (Iceland/Germany).




Dutch literary journal SAMPLEKANON has a new issue on asemic writing. Excerpts from Gibber and an artistic statement from me have just been published in this issue!



Queenslanders Study Group

A free online course called Modern and Contemporary American Poetry started last week, but it’s still possible to register. The course is taught by University of Pennsylvania professor Al Filreis. I’ve signed up to take his online course, along with more than 30,000 other people worldwide. INCREDIBLE!!
The course will survey the last 100 years of modern and contemporary poetry in the USA. For those who’ve bounced into the performances and workshops I’ve been doing while in QLD, you might find a nice crossover with some of this course material. A week will be dedicated to learning about Gertrude Stein’s work, and later there’ll be a serious investigation into 1970s+ L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poetry. Later still, the course will look at procedural work (familiar to some of you through the workshop exercises we’ve done together) and conceptual work (perhaps of particular interest to Glossa workshoppers). If you haven’t signed up but have time, I encourage you to do so.
If you have signed up, I encourage you to check out the discussion forum study group I’ve started. This is specifically targeted to folks in Queensland. Since there are 30,000 people in the course, it can be a bit hectic to carry on the kind of intimate conversation one might like. But I figured since we’ve already been trading ideas and words around poetry over the last few months, it might be both supportive and fun to extend this conversation through the guise of this course. Please feel free to sign onto this study group and say hi, so we know who’s with us:
A highlight of my Queensland experience was the opportunity to spend time with Thomas Day, whose brilliant cross-disciplinary work sings with conscience and aesthetic care. This still is taken from his video-poem The Thought Fox, screened during his performance with the equally brilliant Eleanor Jackson of their collaboration Ted & Sylvia.


A highlight of my Queensland experience was the opportunity to spend time with Thomas Day, whose brilliant cross-disciplinary work sings with conscience and aesthetic care. This still is taken from his video-poem The Thought Fox, screened during his performance with the equally brilliant Eleanor Jackson of their collaboration Ted & Sylvia.



Sounds, Markings, Places: Jill Jones

Jill Jones reflects on the 2012 Queensland Poetry Festival. It was a pleasure and thrill to meet kindred Jill during the festival, and she recaps well our exchange as well as a generous insight into the Gibber performance we debuted.