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Unnatural Bird Migrator

$18.00

Unnatural Bird Migrator stitches together disparate filaments of diasporic language as a living quilt of translational refuse, a patchwork-art gleaned and assembled from the pieces of writing and speech we are quite literally taught to forget. ‘UNBM’ traverses the semi-permeable borders between doubling and tripling mother tongues in exile, looping these languages through one another and back again in the form of a highly adaptive poetic boomerang that returns from the “other side” of the linguistic threshold already changed.

 

Excerpts appear at:

X-Peri

Jacket2: From the ‘YINGLOSSIA’ Series; New translingual poems from ‘Lick and Spit’; Mikhl Likht, from ‘Procession IV’

The Poetry Project

Tinge Magazine

Oxonian Review

Category:

Ariel Resnikoff

Ariel Resnikoff is a poet, scholar, translator, editor and educator. His most recent works include the chapbooks 'Ten-Four: Poems, Translations, Variations' (The Operating System, 2015), with Jerome Rothenberg, and 'Between Shades' (Materialist Press, 2014). His writing has been translated into Russian, French, Spanish and German, and has appeared or is forthcoming in Jacket2, Golden Handcuffs Review, Full Stop Quarterly, Tinge Magazine, The Wolf Magazine for Poetry and Schreibheft, Zeitschrift für Literatur. With Stephen Ross, he is at work on the first critical bilingual edition of Mikhl Likht’s modernist Yiddish long poem, 'Processions,' and with Lilach Lachman and Gabriel Levin, he is translating into English the collected writings of the translingual-Hebrew poet, Avot Yeshurun. Ariel is a reviews editor at Jacket2 and a founding editor of the journal and print-archive Supplement, co-published by the Materialist Press, Kelly Writers House and the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught courses on multilingual diasporic literatures at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (UPenn) and at BINA: The Jewish Movement for Social Change. In 2019, he completed his PhD in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania with a dissertation entitled 'Home Tongue Earthquake: The Radical Afterlives of Yiddishland, and he is currently a Posen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Secular Jewish Poetics and Pedagogy. Ariel lives on Alameda Island in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife, the artist and landscape architect, Rivka Weinstock. 'Unnatural Bird Migrator,' (The Operating System, 2020) which the poet Jake Marmer has described as “deep Ashkenazi Voodoo” is his first full-length poetry collection.

Ariel Resnikoff's 'Unnatural Bird Migrator' ignites immediacy. It cast spells. Indeed one's cells feel subsumed by primordial realia having nothing in common with the plagiarized density that purports to signify experience reduced as it is to secular equation by lucre. Resnikoff's 'UNBM' roams via the telepathy of "wonder." As readers we begin to gather experience that articulates a plane suffused by magnificence, by the voice of the uncanny. This being language that allows us to crystallize fever, to excavate hunches via the mathematics of power.

Will Alexander, author of 'Across the Vapour Gulf'

It is commanded that you read the incantoxications inscribed herein: chants against the toxic forces of history, chants inducing euphoria akin to intoxication, that oracular pharmakon that embodies and staves off catastrophe, chants to induce laughterwisdominsight –ugh! No! chants to induce uneasedisequilibriuminnermigration … How many things can a (Jewish) mouth do? How many languages can one (Jewish) sensorium accommodate? How many tongues –one for each sense, one for each function –can worship one single God in one single mouth? Why single? Why not heteroglottal? Why not intermulticrosslingual? Who wants to know? You should. This book, this mouth, this wit, these migratory languages. Incandescent. Raving. And lit. in all the right ways.

Maria Damon, author of 'The Dark End of the Street'

Translation, transformation, echo, recall, recollection, migration — Ariel Resnikoff makes diaspora home in these multilexical, iconoclastic, antic lyrics, blessings, and curses. “Held in the ancient footlights of time."

Charles Bernstein, author of 'Near/Miss'

'Unnatural Bird Migrator' is a book that’s got kishkes [lit. guts]. Ariel Resnikoff creates a midrashic translingual poetics that join ancestral echoes with contemporary lyric, where inherited speech is never without questioning or transgressions. Through “poetic deformance,” the reader is pushed to “notice/who speaks & who is spoken,” as the biblical collide with the new. Unnatural Bird Migrator excavates the gaps between languages (Yiddish-, Hebrew-, Aramaic-, Akkadian- Englishes) so that “we are disoriented, finally,” able to see poem as “perpetual displacement” incantatory in all the best ways.

erica kaufman, author of 'Post Classic'

If transliterated from Hebrew and Aramaic “od” is a “going around…with force and abundance,” with ferocity and sensorial luxuriance, Ariel Resnikoff’s, Unnatural Bird Migrator, erupts as not just “odd practices of a false messiah”, but a force-filled prescient lament and celebration of translingual possession, procession, precession; marked by licks’ spit, split-tongued myths, rituals prayers, rasps, gasps, rattles ciphers seeds, spells where every letter is a universe, hovering through incantatory chants of radical hybridity.

Adeena Karasick, author of 'Salomé: Woman of Valor'

Wreaking havoc on the unity of an ur-language and the Book of books, that formidable repository of truth and authenticity, 'Unnatural Bird Migrator' runs the gamut from a Schwerner-esque rendering of lower-case tablets (Resnikoff’s translinguistic transcreations from Aramaic and Hebrew to Akkadian and Yiddish) to paratactic surveys of Middle East politics (where “the land is not invented tho the claim to/ owning it is.”) and contemporary Jewish life. Installing as many differences as he rases, Resnikoff insists that since “the border is a grammar built on power,” the agrammatical allows us to see that “this is just on the other side of this.” Crossing back and forth between the real and the false, faith and heresy, 'Unnatural Bird Migrator' refuses all modes of piety, reminding us “how a single prayer springs to language, resting btwn tongue &/ tooth momentarily, sways a military buoy…” A leveled Babel all too pertinent for our time, 'Unnatural Bird Migrator' explodes the semantic field of every language it engorges.

Tyrone Williams, author of 'As IZ'

Description

Unnatural Bird Migrator stitches together disparate filaments of diasporic language as a living quilt of translational refuse, a patchwork-art gleaned and assembled from the pieces of writing and speech we are quite literally taught to forget. ‘UNBM’ traverses the semi-permeable borders between doubling and tripling mother tongues in exile, looping these languages through one another and back again in the form of a highly adaptive poetic boomerang that returns from the “other side” of the linguistic threshold already changed. This translinguistic praxis explores writing as a mode of perpetual displacement, translating language in wide spirals outward to the farthest edges of the sonic/semantic divide, while gleaning materials for a poetics from even the minutest residues left behind. Resnikoff’s compositional method engages by (mis)translation in/to​ Yiddish-, Hebrew-, Aramaic- and Akkadian- adapted​ sonic/semantic properties in​ grammar, syntax and lexicon, taking English as its temporary “host” while performing perpetual inflectional slippages—interlingual punning and fusion-slangs—as much as the “host” can absorb. The dybbuk (Yiddish: spirit-possessor), which the author’s Jewish-Ashkenazi ancestors believed to inhabit the body of the wild stutterer, mad person, heretic or “akher” [lit. other], becomes the peripheral focus​ of this poetry, as Resnikoff reimagines the ways in which such a “possession” by language itself might manifest in the ​“odd” practices of the poet, translator and Jew. The word “odd” here functions in deliberate echo of the terms against which Sabbatean stigma was first transcribed in 17th-century Palestine: “for the odd practices of a false messiah.”

 

Excerpts appear at:

X-Peri

Jacket2: From the ‘YINGLOSSIA’ Series; New translingual poems from ‘Lick and Spit’; Mikhl Likht, from ‘Procession IV’

The Poetry Project

Tinge Magazine

Oxonian Review

 

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