Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tribute to Carol Novack

Mad Hatters' Review Issue 13:  Tribute to Carol Novack

Carol Novack, (RIP 1948 - 2011), founded Mad Hatters’ Review in 2005, was the former recipient of a writer’s award from the Australian government, author of a poetry chapbook, and an erstwhile criminal defense and constitutional lawyer in NYC. In 2010, she moved from a Greenwich Village co-op to a mountain residence (future “retreat” for individuals and collaborators) in Western North Carolina, importing her KGB Bar reading series, “Poetry, Prose, and Anything Goes” to The Black Mountain College Museum and Art Center, and founding the non-profit arts organization, MadHat, Inc.

Carol’s collection of fictions, fusions, monologues and poems, Giraffes in Hiding: The Mythical Memoirs of Carol Novack, was published in Fall 2010 by Spuyten Duyvil Press. The book is beautifully illustrated, mainly by artists who’ve graced the pages of Mad Hatters’ Review.

The late poet, Hugh Fox called the collection: “THE most seductive, original, impacting work I have seen for years. A fascinating combination of Kerouacian street-talk plus a trip through the museum of Modern Art in Chicago, plus a nod-off to Kosty's furthest out experimentalism. Magnifique!”

Teachings of Death 
affirmation sticks to me
like a porcupine’s quill
the dumb animal death—instinctively
a woman who has lain with pigs
keeps me going
where lions hunt
silent in the bog

that wizened woman who has lain with goats
opens doors
that had been breathing
under closed lids
I watch her aghast
the air smelling briefly of love
breezes by humming
an old French song
the voice of the woman
has been extinguished
by its own extravagance
has been taken in
by wind
which makes gutteral sounds
my body
so surprised by the opening
of doors

she speaks of that man
as if he were holy
her voice of bodies
closely woven
as knots of paradise
she wags her wand
& takes me back
to his shadow
as light deceives
it seems the shade
of a mountain
cast from her wand
‘climb’ she says
lifting her breasts
death’s tongue
flies away
wavering its notes
high above
the mountain
& i am alone
all sinew & bone
wrapped in the flesh
of his shadow

 by Carol Novack

                                                                 photo by Jeff Davis

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