“Connie Mae Oliver’s fabulous new book has that idiosyncratic unpredictable measure of the cosmos (coming out of Cosmos) as one’s full extent that nothing else has. Her ‘Millions’ are total anti-war reconfigurations of scale and inspiration put only their own ways; the ‘Air Strikes’ stricken aerial word-displays of erased rhythm-trails. This book is so unlike anything I think metaphor’s over there crying in the corner, wishing it could be as in and of life’s gran(d)ular details as Connie, Carl, Ann, and Steven. It’s tough and funny and shapely, the poems always doing a little more on the sly, on the line, out in front and off to the side than surfaces tell, and its surfaces tell a hell of a lot while building a serious earth.” — Anselm Berrigan
This is a book of poems about cognitive erosion in the remote and mediated experience of war abroad, with intermittent drawings and photographs that were composed with and for the text. The poems and images examine the figure of Johannes Kepler, the mythology of being “centered,” our proximity to inanimate objects, and bewilderment. The book is divided into three sections; 1. AIR STRIKES 2. MILLIONS and 3. AIR STRIKES. The sections titled “AIR STRIKES” are composed so that the words populate the page as objects falling from the sky, gathering and dispersing in a process of re-signification. Polo Margariteño, a Venezuelan folk song, recurs throughout.
The title of this book and its reference to the original Cosmos television series was conceived as homage to the show’s messages of peace and nuclear disarmament.
Connie Mae Concepción Oliver is a Venezuelan poet and artist who lives in New York. She is the founding editor of FEELINGS, an online journal of poetry and art. Her second book, science fiction fiction, is forthcoming this year from Spuyten Duyvil Press. Her first collection of poems, Cosmos A Personal Voyage By Carl Sagan Ann Druyan Steven Soter And Me, was published by the Operating System in 2017. Most recently, her poems have appeared in DREGINALD, the Brooklyn Rail and A Velvet Giant, while her visual art has been featured on the cover of Denver Quarterly as well as in various small gallery shows in Miami, Paris, Düsseldorf and New York.
The covers for “Incantations,” The Operating System’s 5th Annual Chapbook Series, were designed by Lynne DeSilva-Johnson [Elæ Moss] using original drawings by artist Barbara Byers, from her long running “Asemic Series.”
"I was born in Denver, Colorado in the middle of the last century. After I studied art at The University of Colorado, Western State College of Colorado, and the Community College of Denver, I learned sign painting by working with several masters of the art in Denver and Albuquerque. For 35 years I have lived and worked in New Mexico, painting signs, teaching kids with special needs and always making art. Much of what I notice in the world comes from the opportunity I’ve had to visit many countries and cultures on five continents. My heart home is on the Colorado Plateau and in the deserts of the Southwestern United States. I have found that book arts call on many of the skills I’ve learned and I especially love paper and design. Learning and sharing are a great part of my enjoyment of book making. Asemic writing is basically abstract writing for me. I often use the lettering I have grown up with and used as a sign painter and calligrapher. I simply move the words and symbols into illegibility and build designs with them. In 2014 I began to experiment with this method before I discovered the ancient tradition of writing without semantic meaning. I am fascinated to be part of this tradition." (Barbara Byers, 2017)
Elæ Moss is a multimodal artist-researcher, curator, designer, and educator. Seeking Speculative Solidarities, they employ analog and digital media to investigate human, institutional and ecological systems and to iterate open source strategies for ecological and social change. Recent projects have shown at La Mama Galleria, EFA Project Space, STWST/Ars Electronica, Usdan Gallery, Judson Church, the Segal Center, SOHO20, Dixon Place, and the Exponential Festival, among others. Select publications include Big Echo, Tagvverk, Vestiges, Matters of Feminist Practice, The Transgender Narratives Anthology, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, The Brooklyn Poets Anthology, and Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance. Books include Ground, Blood Altas, Overview Effect, Sweet and Low: Indefinite Singular, Bodies of Work, and The Precarity Bodyhacking Work-Book and Guide. Moss is a Professor at Pratt Institute, and the developer / founder of the Operating System + Liminal Lab. More at: https://onlywhatican.net and https://theoperatingsystem.org.