Western Practice (Paperback)

Western Practice By Stephen Motika Cover Image

Western Practice (Paperback)

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How to approach a microtonal notation of a life? Within a diverse field of spacing, Motika's poem 'Delusions Enclosures: On Harry Partch (1901-1974)' scores a biography of the sounds of words and phrases written by the composer himself in and among the poet's own. In a way, notes. And a fine debut. --Marjorie Welish

If twentieth century California artists established a tradition of speculative innovation, then Western Practice ushers visionary West Coast poetics into the twenty-first. Motika's ingenious ear renders place prosodic; his 'baroque leaps' tender a sprung rhythm that turns history into 'a theory at map's edge.' The 'mystic / gather' of this music gives Motika's ambitious projective praxis visual beauty and structural rigor. Open this book--'crawl inside & lie down against the future.'--Brian Teare

While there's a dreamy Venusian quality to Stephen Motika's poetry, it's also driven by a care and clarity that animates its landscapes. Western Practice is a book that deserves attention for its rich intersections of projective acrobatics and coming-of-age memory-textures, conjuring the roar of the Pacific at every turn of the line. --Lisa Jarnot

Shaped by California's cultural and political landscape, Western Practice reflects on the rituals of artistic activity, including an obsessive scrutinizing of the founders of Los Angeles' postwar art scene, from composer Harry Partch to painter Richard Diebenkorn. Stephen Motika's debut collection draws striking parallels between geography and visionary artists' work, creating an aesthetic and emotive topos all its own.

From 1956:

Jazz days, baked on Baker, we saw Mingus, day before last in tan trench, coasts and cats, Art Pepper walking hills, hilling in, tel-, phone polls, long boots, to take . . . mystery . . . all low rides. fuller life, all this, full, instant, theater, a now gallery working, knowing now.

Stephen Motika is the editor of Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman (2009) and the author of the poetry chapbook Arrival and at Mono (2007). His articles and poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, BOMB, and The Brooklyn Review, among others. A 2010-2011 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Resident, he is the program director at Poets House and the publisher of Nightboat Books.


Stephen Motika was born in Santa Monica, California. He is the editor of Tiresias: The Collected Poems of Leland Hickman (2009) and the author of the poetry chapbook, Arrival and at Mono (2007). His articles and poems have appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, BOMB, The Brooklyn Review, Eleven Eleven, The Poetry Project Newsletter, among other publications. His collaboration with artist Dianna Frid, "The Field," was on view at Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois, Chicago, in 2003. A 2010-2011 Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace Resident, he is the program director at Poets House and the publisher of Nightboat Books.
Product Details ISBN: 9781882295913
ISBN-10: 1882295919
Publisher: Alice James Books
Publication Date: April 17th, 2012
Pages: 80
Language: English