Sunday, April 5, 2009

Dumplings and Trumpets: Mathias Svalina

Mathias Svalina has dada.

His poetry moves from the sublime to the ridiculous and onto the disturbingly heartbeaking and heartfelt. The painter Francis Picabia was opposed to seriousness because it limited what he could do with art, what he wanted art to do. So paintings of machines that aren't machines seem to make no sense yet we find what makes the most sense: that we can't avoid death and the violent nature of everything. In this vein, Mathias Svalina's poetry teaches you how to read poetry, how to make sense, as much as anyone can, in the dada way.

Listen to his poem "Creation Myth" from his chapbook, Creation Myths

In "Creation Myth" one act of violence leads to another worse act of violence that then implicates all of us. All of us have spilled blood because we've thought about it, thought about it especially while dealing with bureaucracy. We can't help but swim in it because it's unavoidable, medicinal, gross, and exciting. The myth, then, is that violence is supposed to be an exchange in which one has power over the other, but it is violence that inevitably has power over us, like our oceans and bureaucracies.

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