“Susan Charkes’s genius and genus is on full display in her brilliant new pre/post-apocalyptic chapbook, sp. The poems are quite breathtaking in their macroscopic ambition to confront climate change in the age of our Sixth Extinction, holding out hands to vanquished and vanishing inhabitants of Terra alike. Even so, sp. is also immensely breath-granting to readers ready to enter a world of utter attention, to find (make) companions among syllables & spaces across the interstitial reef of her pages. Charkes’ poetics is a halfway house between lost bird songs and jittery American English. Its killer wingspan encompasses the eco-elegies of Elizabeth Kolbert and the interspecies-loving of Donna Haraway. We need this book. Linguistics as forensics. Poetry as exploded fact. ” — Adam Fitzgerald
“Sp.” is the abbreviation for “species unknown”:
The poems in this chapbook confront the asymmetrical relationship between humans and other species, both named and unnamed, including extinct species that exist now only as names, and species that are evolving into beings for which we have no names, because they will occupy a world unknown to us.
We cannot truly know these sp. but we owe a resp.onsibility to them to resp.ond. In Sp., this response evolves into new forms appropriate to the changing content of our planet, one rapidly diminishing in diversity, on the brink of unknowable change.
Out of the poems in Sp., music emerges: a transformative power. “I found it quite useless to speak.” Every species makes its own music. All species adapt or die.
Susan Charkes is a poet, writer and worker in the land conservation field. Her poems have appeared in a variety of print and online literary outlets, and in the Michener Museum’s exhibit “Making Magic.” A member of Montco Wordshop and Tenth Sky Poets, she lives in Chester County, Pennsylvania.
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.”
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.