david wolach

David Wolach is professor of text arts, poetics,
and new media at The Evergreen State College, and visiting professor in Bard College’s Workshop In Language & Thinking.  He is the author of several books,
most recently Hospitalogy (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2013) Occultations (Black Radish Books, forth. 2010), Prefab Eulogies Vol. 1: Nothings Houses (BlazeVox, forth. 2010), Hospitalogy (Scantily Clad Press, forth. 2009-10), Acts of Art/Works of Violence (SSLA/Univ. of Sydney), and book alter(ed) (Ungovernable Press, 2009).  His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, most recently 5_Trope, No Tell Motel, XPoetics, Dusie, Little Red Leaves, and The BlueFifth Review.  Recipient of grants from the Washington Arts Council and the Olympia Fund for Diversity in the Arts, Wolach’s work is often site specific and uses multiple media.  His work has been performed at venues such as The Buffalo Poetics Series, The Stain of Poetry Series, The American Cybernetics Conference, and EconVergence. Wolach is also a member of Nonsite Collective, and founding editor of Wheelhouse Magazine & Press, a quarterly journal and chapbook press dedicated to radical text arts, poetics, and politics, which curates the yearly series PRESS in collaboration with The Evergreen State College.

Reviews & Features of Occultations
PhillySound Author Feature [interview by CA Conrad, reviews by Rob Halpern, Brenda Iijima, J. Townsend, Thom Donovan, and Jules Boykoff]
Nicky Tiso Reviews at Tarpaulin Sky Reviews
Matthew Landis Reviews in Jacket

Occultations @ The Poetry Foundation, Harriet Blog
Mark Wallace Reviews at Thinking Again
Joe Milford Show Interview

The Dialogue’s End, Inter(review) by Emily Carr
Featured @ The Daily S-Pres
Featured @ Big Other


Occultations (Spring, 2010)

An occultation is a withdrawing, a flight or sentence into non-existence. In David Wolach’s Occultations, the reader becomes propinquitous to so much that she can’t see, so withdrawn has the actual world become through a media which functions as the eyes and ears to the detriment of a becoming proprioceptive. By amplifying the senseless via pun and other synaesthesic language effects, Wolach overturns common sense and returns his reader to their senses. What would be contemporary peeks out through Wolach’s picnolepsy. Element(principally fire) is not merely a theme but a burden–“the fires have not died / they’ve moved away with the j  o  b  s”–the ethical burden of whatever remains in the movement between site and nonsite, I and we, direct address and a corrosive intertextual poetics in the service of secular messianic event.  “dear, __________” “who will take me from our ashen / refuge?” Reading Occultations, ‘I’ takes refuge in loss, lack, and non-presence saved only by what cannot be redeemed: the wreck of our bodies shored by the catastrophic convergence of late capitalist Neoliberalism and cross-cultural moral fundamentalisms.  Thom Donovan, Prefab Eulogies Vol. 1: Nothings Houses (BlazeVox, 2010):

Prefab Eulogies is fresh, fragmented, daring, a swarm of language that
teases, provokes, tickles and frustrates, this is poetry for a frantic
yet exhausted empire.  Linh Dinh

In Prefab Eulogies, Volume 1 poetry meets positivism on the shimmery
dance floor of our eternal present. Along the way, David Wolach raises
a slew of alluring quandaries: How can the body be a site of resistance? In what ways are we already fabricating our still-to-be-cooked–up demise? How can Wittgenstein help us decode the USA PATRIOT Act? Was “our fetish commodified long before PATCO”? Is it possible to out-Flarf Flarf? Prefab Eulogies encourages multi-channel collectivity that demands we read—and act—with a finger on the trigger of forgiveness, with an eye trailing reclamation. —Jules Boykoff

Prefab Eulogies’ Power Point Poetics offer an economy of voices that
is both a blast and a schematic of the nail meeting the coffin. David
Wolach is a tease—charting our desire to establish an order. Here, a
series of poems “after” other poets voices both conversation and
critique. Here, Wolach fucks (with) his friends. These poems come
after poetry. A poetry where they say this. They say that. They say.
Prefab Eulogies’ pervasive irony and recursive stabs say, “Wolach is a
genius. His flippant hipsterism arcs the project.”  Prefab Eulogies
says, poetry eulogizes itself. David Wolach says, Isn’t all art dead
once it’s made? Isn’t it the doing or making, call it living
poetically, that is the only living facet to the whole ordeal? Aren’t
we confusing poetry with product? Prefab Eulogies tells us it is time
to say goodbye.  It is later than you think. —Catherine Taylor

On book alter(ed) (a section of Occultations):

The cover image “Ash” by Wolach is a palimpsest: a text on drought
overlays the image “The Firebombing of Tokyo.” This layering sets the
tone for a poetics that “shift(s) from things to shifts that are

“Part one” is called riverfire. Each phrase dives through linguistic
depths touching the real, touching paradox.

“Water Burns. Often a finger is a vessel punctured as it moves through
guarded waters.”
[ :]
“As if driving into, there were not guards for the rails. The bone
cries, then marrow. As if our shapes exhausted shape.”

This writing arouses a mixed emotion somewhere between a sensual
elusiveness and solid ache. Lyrics clash against the “thingness” of
shit and vomit. The drive and power of juxtaposition and the slippage
between and across, fire the pituitary gland.

Each page in “part two” is supported by a visual image and contains
three collage-like stanzas. Here the frottage continues where for
example, “—you settled in the slightest tension” rubs against “—I was
not paid.”

Without a doubt this is a sensitive and superbly crafted (chap)book.
Kathrin Schaeppi

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