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Slot

af Jill Magi

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"An experiential investigation of how we move through cultural landmarks and institutions, SLOT presents a lyrical and thinking response to official, landscaped memory. In the book, a person slips in and out of highly designed museums and memorials, looks for a mentor who is more than a tour guide, rebels during the official tour, and occasionally finds the lament she is looking for: in comparisons across history, in ambiguous photo sequences, and in poetry. The resulting text stages a quiet argument between the persistent urge to 'slot' things--into narratives, frames, archives--and a clear view of what, by resisting, remains." --Publisher's website.… (mere)
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In Slot, Jill Magi investigates the fraught nature of memorializing historical not-so-niceness. Horrific institutions / economic-social-spiritual sicknesses such as slavery or complex tragedies such as the suicide/ homicide-bombing by airplane of the World Trade Center. She juxtaposes the act of inventorying the ruins of the WTC in anticipation of memorializing, touring a "living history" reconstruction of an antebellum plantation (minus the slave quarters) & visiting the tourist site/ memorial that is now Buchenwald. She notes the irony of the white tourist (herself) holding a white ticket being led around the restored plantation by a black tour guide.

Poetry functions here as memory but not, in this instance, as memorial. These poems are cognizant that history can't be put to rest. We don't get off that easily. Poetry also as research project. It's investigative. It requires travel from one place to another. It requires talking to people.

I read C.D. Wright's One With Others just after reading Slot. Both books are tuned to the same frequency, Wright's book reminding me that the answer, or alternative, if you will to the fraught nature of memorials, museums & historically deceptive reenactments is action. One can only if ever redeem history by NOT repeating it, by actively resisting & fomenting fundamental change. The irreconcilable cannot be reconciled, nor the irredeemable be redeemed. To memorialize may be in its false calm actually harmful to the present.

"To see the real thing, no reconstruction, a student will make a diorama depicting history to the left, such as Anne Frank, and to the right of the register: black people in miniature, plus a squaw, another squaw . . . . We tell the world what the children draw will save us," however, "There is no answer to the technology of the fence." ( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
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"An experiential investigation of how we move through cultural landmarks and institutions, SLOT presents a lyrical and thinking response to official, landscaped memory. In the book, a person slips in and out of highly designed museums and memorials, looks for a mentor who is more than a tour guide, rebels during the official tour, and occasionally finds the lament she is looking for: in comparisons across history, in ambiguous photo sequences, and in poetry. The resulting text stages a quiet argument between the persistent urge to 'slot' things--into narratives, frames, archives--and a clear view of what, by resisting, remains." --Publisher's website.

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