Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Leave it to Beavers: Kim Koga's _ligature strain_ from Tinfish Press

As I left Obun print shop in Honolulu today with my box of Kim Koga's new chapbooks, my way was partially blocked by a back hoe. The operator waved, moving his back hoe forward. On the back hoe of his back hoe, I saw the machinery's name engraved in metal. KOGA, it read.

This chapbook marks the halfway point in our 12 chaps in a year Retro Chapbook Series. All of them are designed by Eric Butler in Honolulu. Let me write out the list so far:

#1: Say Throne, by No`u Revilla (Hawai`i)
#2: Tonto's Revenge, by Adam Aitken (Australia / Hawai`i)
#3: The Primordial Density Perturburation, by Stephen Collis (British Columbia)
#4: Mao's Pears, by Kenny Tanemura (California)
#5: Yellow/Yellow, by Margaret Rhee (California)
#6: ligature strain, by Kim Koga (Indiana / California)

I strain to find the ligatures that connect all these chaps; the point is more that there is amazing experimental work from the Pacific out there than that certain themes demand the foreground (we're saving thematics for next year). But, if No`u's chap inaugurated the series with "Tinfish does erotics" (Tiare Picard), then Kim Koga's completes its first half with a fleshy investigation of beavers giving birth. The chap is quirky. Beavers? I remember seeing a documentary about beavers where the filmmaker placed a camera inside a beaver lodge. The beavers--bless them--sat around having committee meetings in their lodge. Occasionally, one would dive out into the cold waters of the river. But mostly they talked a lot among themselves when they weren't chomping at trees. Koga gives us the beaver feminine (say with a French accent; after all she got her MFA from Notre Dame), complete with pre- and after-birth pink skin, and nursing baby beavers. It's a world like ours--full of transience, fluids (of many kinds), and "echo locations." Here's a quotation:

secure tree to give birth lined in socks of
gray and swimming pink. sound is
absorbed and the pink fleshes shock and
swarm in their sacs. echo locate. echo
locate. but. you. are. lost.

Don Mee Choi recommended Kim's work to me; it was Don Mee who translated Kim Hyee Soon's poems spoken by sometimes pregnant rats. Perhaps Kim Koga was influenced by the other Kim's use of animals to show us our own lives, our births and deaths. In any case, it's a lovely, odd little book. I recommend it to you. And here's something about Kim:

Kim Koga recently completed an MFA at the University of Notre Dame. While completing her degree she worked as Action Books' editorial assistant, co-edited two MFA publications The Bend and Re:Visions, and curated a reading series with fellow MFA student CJ Waterman.

She received her BA in Literature and Writing from California State University San Marcos where she co-founded the Creative Writing Community and Workshop, their publication Oh, Cat, the Student Reading Series, and interned with 1913 Press. Her publications include Lantern Review, Triton College's Ariel, and 1913: a journal of forms. This is her first chapbook.

You can buy the book at http://tinfishpress.com if you hit any "purchase" button and to the very end of the list. You can also subscribe to the entire series for only $36 dollars, less than a tank of gas costs. This chap alone will cost you only $3 (with $1 for postage, as we lost postage from the institution), less than many lattes at Starbucks. Or send a check to Tinfish Press, 47-728 Hui Kelu Street #9, Kaneohe, HI 96744.

[Chapbook with Tortilla, the Tinfish cat]



nice to see this Susan, thanks!

sandra doller said...

Kim Koga rules, thx fr getting this in the world, Susan!