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(SPAM Cuts) ‘jazz study group, impromptu’ by Fred Moten


In this SPAM Cut, Kashif Sharma-Patel riffs with the tensile multiplicities, scenes and pulsations in Fred Moten’s serial poem, ‘jazz study group, impromptu’, published in The Volta’s issue, Heir Apparent in March 2019.

> Fred Moten’s ‘jazz study group, impromptu’ operates across multiple resonances in a set of poems, a set of rhythms of prose and lyric, paucity and density. There’s movement at play, ‘the application of paint on sound in poetry’.The workamultiplicitous object – a bomb even – ‘but there are phonetic difficulties, embellishments, and lyric hermitage,’ where poetic lines seep through doors ajar like a distant pulsation; unnerving. To think with the poetry is to open sensation and allow an atmosphere to wash over; ‘dubbing’, as Moten puts it.

> ‘The lost, desiring floe and glacial building of the book,’ where a discordant fragmentation takes hold resisting form; ‘swing in freetime turns poetry graves’. There’s something both wholly total and incoherent underlying like a subtended package, something pulling away from its undergirding where an idea takes shape in the shadow of its own affectability:

Building structure is a subset of shaping change until the hold, having become fleshly with amputation and embrace, is our ship—a circle with a fold in the middle on the move.

This structure at the cusp of an unfolding/enfolded conurbation of poetic flight, somehow written through the refusal of the polemic.

> Spread out in ‘an ecology, of dispersed,’ as references abound in a web of textual cadence where mama, kids, grammar and grandma are met in a move of anarchitectural displacement with luminous allusions to progenitors of a black radical tradition:

[…]all in preparation, all out of place in tuning, the circle with the margin in the middle. Man, Joe McFree in fleshdance. Leave the body like a flying lotus, storyboard unbildung. Brent says, “Let’s detach the history of the music from the history of the album, its transmedial framing—visual accompaniment, discographical accompaniment—packaged as commodity.” Because the music is more + less than that, all not in between every scale off scale, analibrially down and out a long time, like Joe says.

The commodity continually undercutting itself as a cinescape of irruptive bursts. To write is to pull into focus that which is being set aside in its very enunciation.

> Flashes of Walter Rodney’s assassination in the Rastafari social of Groundings with my Brothers, ‘off speech with pains taken from Kingston groundings’, where insurgency wars in linguistic mapping. John Akomfrah’s figuration traced through ‘a turn’, the global cinematic read as a problem for thought ‘in blur’s serration’.

> The set is wrapped up in all its discordance with ‘anæxplanatory note’, the interplay of image, language and reference – ‘in tangled detail’. The response can only be an inscription, a reinscription, in a moment of what one could call trust. That kind of intuitive mode, ‘we be itching to inscribe and incite. we gon’ be aiight?’ Shades of Kendrick Lamar in saturated greyscale wafting through in synaesthetic wonder. An ensemble of form written as modality for a poetics constantly in formation. That formation which both invites and deters like a rerouted form of the sublime, one that turns and trips under covers of occlusion coursing meaning-making in fits of sub-urban finesse:

the other half of the half that ain’t been told can’t be told till                                    no one tells itnowhere and everywhere through everyone.


Text: Kashif Sharma-Patel

Image: Maria Sledmere


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