It was ironic, being boiled alive by foreign academia, in Chinese grad school, and here was my Dad giving me this book to typeset for Igneus, poking fun at academia. I secretly enjoyed the subversion, and Academia Nuts was published in 2016. The books opens with this poem, which I’ll engage with briefly to illustrate how helpful a steady diet of Academia Nuts can be for budding academics. Let’s bathe ourself in sound! Make meaning of it later…
I swim with dogs.
Buoyant at the same level over deep water,
I glance into their eyes with an intimacy only possible amid waves.
Their hair and mine, both lighter than earth’s blood,
could be a raft upon which we might heavenly-rest, protected.
The fate of forms paradoxically carries us to not here,
and, grasping whatever veins are nearby, I say;
“I love the moment,
at a standstill past the eye,
where the how of reaching is irrelevant
to the full-body pleasure(s) of perspective(s).”
Had I not holed myself in a cement tenement for an entire summer chasing down digital shreds of 3rd century Chinese Daoist manuscripts, looking for just these traces of philosophic fold? See ‘at a standstill’, but ‘past’, not seen but ‘eye’. The poet/composer toggles between count/non-count, single/plural, dually struck notes.
Crooked boomerangs, askew,
are like limbs, but, unlike the shank of the thigh,
contain no self-impulsive desperations,
neither fluid nor osmotic.
Floating! – the conceptual globe –
reproduction – majestic!
My mind and hands were engaged in typographical minutae. A long book to typeset, every type space, period, ellepsis, hyphen, space before and/or after hyphen, line break, single and double line space, word length, consonant and vowel raciocination, all composed a love-laced musico-poetic algorithm. Syntax as musical system.
Dripping in pathos, Academia Nuts instills in its reader a sense of urgency, lays out a way to heal what has been ripped a part of Word.
Hands pause …. paws hand flaccid cones
to graceless sheens… and everywhere nothing is looking,
except as a flaw.
Outside may be the Grand Vile…
served as supper’s main coarse course cours coeurs coerced…
but exactly here-now, by a lake or a sea-stream,
affection can never drown when served as a wet dessert.
These playful morphing sound corpuscles…flagrant worship of the human heart.
My only regret is that immediately upon publication of Academia Nuts, I headed into the final throes of my dissertation, which was like being ravaged by a disease, then moving back from China to California. A year later, I wake up to the reality that this magnificent book has yet to be formally released by Igneus Press. Until now. I hope that William Bland can forgive us this delay in getting his word out.
We hope that you enjoy this book, available here for purchase in Igneus Press’ online bookstore.