Name: Christine Herzer.
Poet. Visual Artist. Teacher.
Lives and works in Paris.
What does poetry mean to you?
Writing poetry is world-care.
Poetry = a commitment to living an 'examined life' (Louise Bourgeois)
Invitation to notice, to choose where our attention goes
'every rose pulses' (Carol Maso)
Ability to see/feel;
Bewilderment as a way of entering the day as much as the work (Fanny Howe)
Relationship between space and silence, dying and speaking
I know who poetry can't accommodate: the tourist. I don't mean it is necessarily more highborn than shell art, though the effort, the ardor of it goes toward being borne up. But I believe it can't be identified with the compulsion to shop instead of the desire to touch, be touched. (C.D. Wright)
I don’t have a favorite poem or poet. I prefer ‘open texts’ [see Lyn Hejinian: Against Closure/Umberto Eco: The Poetics of the Open Work]. I value multiplicity, reading/viewing experiences that allow me to think/form my own thoughts/understanding; I value work which reveals its complexities & pleasures through re-reading where subsequent reading/viewing produces again an unforeseeable individual experience.
frank ocean, futura free
barry jenkins, moonlight
carol maso, ava
ariana reines, the palace of justice
Paul Celan called poems porous formations,
I wrote PRISON last year at the desk of a job I had accepted to pay for my art. Reines’s poem had been with me for years. I still remember what it felt like to read the poem for the first time, how drawn I was to the part that talks about loving someone so well that they would want to be free…I remember wondering if I would have been hired for the job and how turned on I felt by the intelligence of the poet and the enigmatic quality of the poem [that warden!]. I totally got the part about the lipstick… My drawing has its own context, it wasn’t intended as an homage to Reines or her poems; however, I did think about her poem while writing the drawing. Her poem ‘returned’ to me, in a context where poetry wasn’t valued, where a certain kind of freedom was at stake.
Writing/repeating PRISON, I felt the impulse to re-read "The Palace of Justice." I wanted to test its mystery, I wanted to test if I had figured it out after all, if some newly acquired life [prison]-experience had made me a better reader of the poem… a better lover. I felt the need to double check the title of the poem. I failed to remember the word ‘Justice’. The poem didn’t fail me. Its mystery remained intact, I came away feeling somewhat elated. Reines trusts her readers, her skill set is indeed special.
The prison is called The Women’s
Palace and it is a progressive prison
Truly loves her women
The palace being a prison for women
Who do not want to be free. I am hired
As the warden’s assistant, My skill
Set is special she says.
I want to believe her but I am not sure
She’s making fun of me. Still I’m hired.
I am charged to love the women in the palace
So well they’ll want to be free
I don’t know how to do it I say to the warden.
She smiles, a woman in her sixties in coral lipstick.
I don’t know how to do it I say again. I’m scared.
They probably don’t want to be free
Because they know more
About freedom than me
To which she says nothing
For a while. You are stupider
Than you look she says
But I believe in you.
Get to work.
"The Palace of Justice" by Ariana Reines, Mercury [Fence Books]
Christine Herzer makes work that offers the viewer a multitude of meanings, moods, and experiences with which to interact, draw nourishment, and form their own understanding. Using gestures of "overwriting," "covering up," "erasing," and accumulation, she explores questions of invisibility, alienation and agency. Christine is the 2018 Laureate "Ecritures" of a writing residency at La Cité des Arts, Paris, where she will be using her ongoing series of '‘Written Drawings" as a living archive from which to direct her investigations into such questions as: What is the role of repetition in the creative process? How to show caring/devotion for words, as well as their meanings (emotional centers) and [ab]uses? ORANGE, her new chapbook of poems, will be published by Ugly Duckling Presse (Brooklyn, NY) this summer.