introduction to Heller Levinson’s Hinge Poetry and Poetics — Krysia Jopek
It’s an honor to feature new Hinge Poetry by Heller Levinson, the founder of Hinge Poetry and Poetics. His essay that follows three new Hinge poems elucidates the poetics informing the poems; his approach to language as a living, human entity for which we imbue meaning based on our historical, cultural, and personal realities. The gaps between words, phrases, and elements of the poem function as part of the event of reading the poem; the reader’s subjective experience of the poem that unfolds in time like a musical score, writ with a living entity, language—the meaning of which shifts person to person and as time goes on.
I had the pleasure of meeting Heller and hearing him read his poetry at a Talisman poetry event in New York City last month.
Please enjoy this new issue of diaphanous micro, 3.14 ꙥ!
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new hinge poetry:
Like Eerily they were off. like milkweed. like eerily. like failed rapprochement. passages open. time draws nigh. all along druids spin. arc . a brace of bells. wishful thinking.
retiring the flux of burnt offal. gypsy moth. perplexity. tantamount. color bruised. saying so. says. simplicity is mostly luck.
so grows the lemon tree.
caring has its ogre. sharing its costs. circumnavigation fouls the weather. as if you were. in a manner of. toward the crease. pulling sharp. an entry. that time of day. well wishes.
where to place. the. love.
as a rule. in the manner of notice. calamity strikes.
velocity reeks. the subject was dresses.
among knowledgeable persons it is widely considered remotely yet without ornamentation then preposterous. an inflamed premise. wildly wooly. wastebasket. woebegone. who wouldn’t. not that. with. why not. beforehand. quaint. conductive. endlessly correcting.
timely policies aside. what are the chances. playing odds. fortification. fugitive. a stable of. pass the manners. on the perpendicular. if only. so but when. sliding scale.
debt ridden & lacking proper mastication narratives waned. pickings slimmed. overtures barren. stone-weep. paltry catch. dried subsidies. campaigns flushed. dread-concupiscence.
as if about judiciously over the shoulder across town the season hardly the cold wet you could hear on a clear day cakes burning the streets empty rave the treacheries for a bundle of hay steep lard pulley formations the brass unwieldy yet mold in the surmise attention getters get seekers seek the meek weep meek while inspecting your arsenal please request a show of hands under the bridge
slow tunes move
ostensibly without further ado cut the carrot chive the divide wild side upon decide careers at stake adieus in the upholstery slipcover snatch wipe that smirk the art of forbearance the state of things out of the surreption claw withdrawal even when the likelihood in the line of fire
in the girth of fathom
bellyful range lopey torque emollient aperture cleanse
no longer arriving in pairs bartering from scraps the brink looms, meshes syllabic taunts under the arabesque of shadow
parceling through mid-stream,
from the heap of unrelenting heave,
The three horses moved in accord down the road. Cocky sentries assured of their ground.
The man turned from the window.
in the pith of vortex
plus plush whirl hurl wHooshrush
of the aforementioned pertaining
in the robust of query
querulous prise pry
underlay ://: overlap
unloading steatopygous format prevailings
(studies in artisanal atrophy
cardinal claret capitulation
new poetry ©2019; will be published in Seep due out from Black Widow Press in Spring, 2020
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Hinge By The Slice — Hinge Poetics
The suggestion that I write a short summary of Hinge Theory threw me into a tailspin. The thought of shortening an ever-expanding & en-fleshing behaviorism was anathema. Then the idea occurred that perhaps by indicating how HT resists shrivellization/ contraction/ summarization, I could approach summarization.
Language is aLive. This is foundational to HT. It should be asked: not what HT Is, but how it beHaves. Language as a living organism is continuously interactive with other organisms breeding extensively & engendering complementarity. Dr. Mary Newell puts it this way: “The connectivities of Hinge Theory introduce an intentional and generative biasing, like a pool table with all the balls commotioning and someone lifting the pool table slightly so all that activity is directed yet responsive to unpredicted collisions, meanderings, & swerve. (With the additional image that new balls are being added all the time as the pool table itself enlarges).”
Hinge does not purport to bring anything new to the proverbial ‘table.’ Rather it seeks to restore Language’s Original Primal Fire. To ignite the word, Hinge employs the module which is a word or a configuration of words that serves to spring (to unleash, to unmoor) the subject into a climate of free fall & unpredictability & by free fall, we mean that we are liberating the subject /word from its normative, conventional context & tossing it into question, tumbling it deconditioned into the void.
A few of the modules in use are: with, smelling, the road to ____ road, in the ___ of ____, fecundating rotational clusters, fusion reconnoiters, & the most recent, tenebraed, catalyzes an entire book. When word inosculates/alchemizes word, the components never lock into place nor do they dissolve into a random turbulence; they both formulate & unravel simultaneously, emblazoned with the Living-Hood of continuous Motility. The frisson (the rub) of word against word scatters the ‘particle’ multi-directionally. Partnering with the ‘scatter’ is the ‘gather,’ a recombinatory process regrouping the components in correspondence with vibrational adhesion (a form of viscous bonding).
Each particle/subject gathers into cohesions, a grouping, what Hinge terms the ‘application,’ formerly the ‘poem.’ This gathering should be seen as an alighting, a momentary pause, tensiled to soar again at the slightest provocation.
The word, by undergoing a multitude of these Modular Chamberings, is in an ongoing state of emboldening/ densification/ complementarity/ & extensionality. For example, “Mermaid” has undergone over 45 applications, swiveling in the alterior ethers of: “with mermaid,” “the road to mermaid road,” “smelling mermaid,” “in the purse of mermaid,” “tenebraed to mermaid,” to cite just a few. Each application both creates its own Mermaid Personality (ether) & interacts/impacts with the other applications. The Particle is always in transition, always on the road to developmental road, shimmering to fulfillment in compounding complementary refractions. Hinge Theory clashes against the current cult of quick-click-reduce, or, of what I like to term the lexiconically static. The Lexicon is a logos abuser, the enemy of the vigorous & dynamic; it is, indeed, a Dynamic Inhibitor.
Case in point: in Webster’s Third, “Melancholia” & its variations take up about 4 inches of definition whereas Melancholia: Hinge as Innominate Limina employs 99 pages to begin the investigation (& I term this endeavor to “investigate” an urge to “mobilize” the logos rather than “staticize” it). & these 99 pages should be viewed as just that — a prelude, an introduction, a wind-up to ignite. There is no such thing as a finish to these explorations, no endings, … they are not sequenced or neatly arranged alphabetically, — the logos is Feral & Un-Cageable, Reproductive & Lusty.
I have recently wondered how our language (the logos) would look/fare without the dictionary (void of reference). What would the “Unmoored” word (the Wild/Feral Logos) look like if it were free to roam, migrate, hybridize.
To view the Inferential replace the Referential.
These comments initiate an ongoing exploration of Hinge Theory. But when asked to explain Hinge Theory, the proper response would be the same as to someone who asked you what the sky looks like, — you would usher them outside, point upward, & say “Look.” Look, then, to the works themselves.
first appeared in Talisman 46 ©Heller Levinson 2018
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Un— (Black Widow Press)
LinguaQuake (Black Widow Press)
tenebraed (Black Widow Press)
Melancholia: HInge as Innominate Limina (McNally Jackson)
Hinge Trio: (La Alameda Press)
Wrack Lariat (Black Widow Press)
from stone this running (Black Widow Press)
Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press)
The Interviews (read chronologically):
“No Rust on These Hinges – A Heller Levinson Interview”
The Jivin’ Ladybug Interview: Heller Levinson, Round 1
“So Much Depends on the Hinge: Heller Levinson”
The Jivin’ Ladybug Interview: Heller Levinson, Round 2
The HINGE MANUAL & Related Articles
“Smelling Mary” review by Leigh Herrick, Jacket 38, Late 2009
“tenebraed” review by Alison Ross, Clockwise Cat Magazine, 2017
Heller Levinson from Buffalo this Indian
Hinge Theory: Poetry’s Event Horizon [review by Heller Levinson
Clockwise Cat: TENEBRAED by Heller Levinson
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The originator of Hinge Theory, Heller Levinson lives in the lower Hudson Valley. His most recent book is Un– (Black Widow Press, 2019).
Hinge Poetics asserts that language is a a-live. It is the river liberated from the dam. It is the salmon sharing the river. The sunlight strumming the salmon.
For more on Hinge Theory see:
Dispatches contributor Heller Levinson on Hinge theory and poetry
Talisman 46–Heller Levinson Hinge Poetry
Ephesus Glom: An Interview with Heller Levinson, Part 1 by Jonathan Mulcahy-King
Ephesus Glom Part Two: An Interview with Heller Levinson and Linda Lynch By Jonathan Mulcahy-King
Heller’s books can be acquired from Black Widow Press
or from Amazon books by Heller Levinson