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About this poet

Jennifer Kronovet is the author of two poetry collections, including, her most recent, The Wug Test (Ecco Press, 2016). She is the editor of Circumference Books, a press for poetry in translation, and lives in Berlin, Germany.

Benjamin Lee Whorf (1897–1941)

Whorf worked in insurance, studied the causes of fires in the files: faulty wiring, lack of air spaces, a problem of materials. 

Additional patterns emerged: Workers took great care around gasoline drums, but not around empty gas drums. 

Empty: put your hand in there. Can you feel anything? When the night sky is empty there are still. When the mind is empty there are still. When drums are empty there are still vapors more flammable than gasoline. They are English empty—waiting for the spark. 

Limestone considered safe from fire because of the stone. Watch it burn. Watery can’t catch fire, but it does.

These discoveries become a metaphor about language—whip back to being language language. Language shapes experience and kaboom. We classify instead of swarming in the undifferentiated waters of the unsaid. Drown or the risk of fire. But when the habits of category fail: the burnt structure of there once was speech here—faulty. And paperwork, of course.

From The Wug Test (Ecco, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Kronovet. Used with the permission of the author.

From The Wug Test (Ecco, 2016). Copyright © 2016 by Jennifer Kronovet. Used with the permission of the author.

Jennifer Kronovet

Jennifer Kronovet

Jennifer Kronovet is the author of two poetry collections, including, her most recent, The Wug Test (Ecco Press, 2016).

by this poet

poem
Each issue of Blade magazine describes a man and how he came to be a person of knives. There are veins of metal in rock and in a family and in one person’s diorama. Some is mined for weaponry, some for language. Some knives are photographed like ladies in a nudie magazine,
poem
From the island
he saw the castle
 
and from the castle
he saw the island.
 
Some people live
this way—wife/
 
mistress/wife/mistress.
But this story isn’t
 
the one I’m telling.
From the island
 
he saw the castle
and that made him
 
distant from power
and from the castle
 
he saw the island
and that made him
2
poem
The boy is interested in black holes 
because he doesn’t know how to say
death death death. Just, infinite dark. 
Event horizon. Singularity. The boy
teaches me how to mouth the absence 
I won’t imagine—the dark keeps going
without time so it can’t hold words. 
One of us will