K. Lorraine Graham was conceived in Iran and has lived in countries as disparate and exotic as Papua New Guinea, Chile, China, and Singapore. She is the author of three chapbooks, Terminal Humming (Slack Buddha), See it Everywhere (Big Game Books), and Large Waves to Large Obstacles (forthcoming from Take Home Project), and the recently released chapdisk Moving Walkways (Narrowhouse Recordings). Lorraine has just completed the extended manuscript of Terminal Humming, whose title alone should win the award for Best Polysemy of 2007. In the first sense, it creates an exquisite logical impossibility: humming, which is by definition vibrant and continuous, cannot be in any way terminal. “Terminal” could also be thought of hyperbolically — as in “I love you to death” – as if humming were an extreme addiction-like-disease. It may not be so off the mark to characterize poetic activity as such. In this sense humming is an exaggerated statement of liveliness that is also privately incantatory and consoling to one’s intimates. One more sense: terminal might be a computer terminal that hums both literally and with the buzz of the poet’s mind. A mind could be a terminal – one node on a network of minds whose neural connections hum in all directions. But I meander, and so I should, for so does this text Lorraine has created, and so, in fact, does the activity of humming, n’est-ce pas? One thinks of the Situationist notion of the dèrive which Carla Harryman cites in the Grand Piano 4, and which the other writers of that volume take up. Debord defines the dèrive, which Carla translates as “drift”, as “a technique of transient passage through varied ambiances. The dèrive entails playful-constructive behavior and awareness of psychogeographical effects.” It’s a druggier, more active elaboration of Baudelaire’s flaneuring, and like the flaneur, the poet who falls into? employs? the derive becomes a kind of eavesdropper of both external and internal sonic presences, and a creator/explorer of an almost tactile maze. Reading Terminal Humming makes me feel free; it transmits a sense of Lorraine’s commitment to explorative wandering., and I think it is (thanks, Ted!) marvelous, feminine, and tough.
Now, a moment of revelation: Lorraine actually will not be reading from Terminal Humming today, but from two other works that I didn’t have a chance to look at until this morning. No matter – they also move along songlines of peripatetic delight. I’m very happy to welcome, all the way from Carlsbad, California….