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This edition’s theme:  The Invisible Corset.  Featuring works by Catherine Borders, Marissa Ayala, Meg Nafziger, Lily Robert-Foley, kristen cerda, Jane Agnes Quinn, Scott Hess, Chandra Smith, Rebecca Serle, Caroline Picard, Katherin Cox, Michael Sidman, SarahS, Circadies, Matthew Dexter, Brian Burton and Ryan Block.  Compiled, edited and fabricated by Catherine Borders and Marissa Ayala. 

Omnia Vanitas is available for purchase on

Or visit the new, astoundingly beautiful website (designed by Isaiah Dufort):

Omnia Vanitas is also accepting submissions for forthcoming editions. 

Contact the Omnia Vanitas editing team at:

Mexico City February 2009

Kelly and I lay on the floor surrounded by books.

“What question should we ask next?”  Kelly asked, aware of the absurdity of her question, as though asking a question can only ever be preceded and followed by an infinite loop of questions about the question itself:  “What is the question?”  “What was the question?”  “What is the answer to the question?”  “What does the question mean?”

We had been asking questions about God, and existence, the nature of nature, the mind-body connection, problems of philosophical methodology, reflection, and language.  But our limbs had fallen slowly to the ground like petals.  I had not found the post office.  We were becoming younger.

“Should I go back to the Marxist?”


“No, I’m not asking you, I’m answering your question.”

She opened a book.

“Shall we ask Freud?  Or perhaps Pessoa?”

“Pessoa,”  I answered.

She leafed through the book

“To think about God is to disobey God,/Since God wanted us not to know him,/Which is why he didn’t reveal himself to us.”

“What does that mean?”  Kelly and myself elegantly and imperceptibly becoming of one mind, a woman talking or thinking to herself.

“It means you are conflicted.  That you are caught between two impossible halves of a division—like a Chinese finger trap.  You cannot know God without betraying God, but you cannot know not to know God without first knowing him.  Therefore you are in constant betrayal.  There is no option that does not lead to betrayal.”

“Did I not know that already?”

“You can’t ask Pessoa these things.  You want answers, you must go to someone who gives answers.”

“Who, like God?”

Kelly made a chiasmic facial gesture, raising her eyebrows and lowering, cocking her chin, her face splitting, breaking open, apart, like the earth, over time.  An expression that indicates both possibility and direction.

She reached over to my copy of the English bible laid out next to the Spanish one on the coffee table amidst my drafts of translation.

“Dear God, please give this poor young woman the strength to make a choice in this most infuriating dilemma.  Please guide her by giving her quick and easy answers so that she will not have to take responsibility for her own decisions.”

I grabbed the Spanish version off the table and threw it at her mouth, where her words had come out.  She raised the English version just in time to block her face and the Spanish one collided with it mid-air, and fell to the floor, open faced, it’s onion skin pages curling and bending.  Kelly laughing, the books scattered around us like the rests of a Bacchanal.

“Old Testament or New Testament?”

“Who cares, god is God, right?”  Jubilation.

“And Joshua gave their land to the tribes of Israel as a possession according to their allotments.”

“What is that supposed to mean.?”

“No idea.  Joshua sounds like a dick, though. Try the Spanish version.”

“El cadaver de Jezabel sera como un abono que se esparce y ni siquiera se podra decir: “Esta es Jezebal.”

“You opened to the part about Jezebel?  Unbelievable.”

“Let’s see…”  I rifled through my papers.  “The cadaver of Jezebel will be like a dispersed interest payment and not even the most insignificant shit will be able to say, ‘this credit card statement is Jezebal’”

“Your Spanish is really crap, you know.  How are you going to translate the bible if you don’t even speak Spanish?”

“Shut up, I’m working on it.  Besides, it’s the language of God I’m translating, and God speaks directly to me.”

“You’re fucked up, you know?”

“What’s it to you?  What does the New Standard Revised have?”

“Oh here it is, The English version says, ‘the corpse of Jezebel shall be like dung on the field in the territory of Jezreel, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.”

“What are yout talking about?  It’s practically the same as my translation.”

“Joshua and Jezebal sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g!”

“Oh shut up.  I’m asking Bolano.”


“Bolano!  Our saviour!”

“Oh shit, I opened to Cesaria Tinajera’s poem.”

“You know, sometimes I think 2666 is actually based on the bible.  Like the Satanic Verses is based on the Koran.  The Satanic Verses of Mexico.”

“There is no doubt that Mexico needs its copy of the Satanic Verses.  There is also no doubt that we must do more to expose the tyranny of biblical dissemination in Mexico.  That it was the most heinous of the weapons of the Conquest, and remains to this day the principal instrument of oppression, never ceases to astound me.”

“Perhaps Bolano was trying to do that.”

“Perhaps… but Bolano has his own dialectic—or his own dialogue, I suppose.  Don’t you think?  He would never construct such a simple allegory without destabilizing its structures of correspondance…”

“To think about God is to disobey God.”

“Don’t think about God!”

“Ah!  I’m thining about him, I’m thinking about him!”

“Sinner!  Sinner!”

And at that I lunged across the room and began to wrestle with Kelly the two of us sisters, locked in a linguistic battle over the truth of God.  Our arms moving through each other’s, around each other’s bodys, our hands holding onto each other’s hair, our  mouths in flight, two angels, the wandering interpretation of texts.

“Oh what’s this?  This book of fairy tales opened all by itself!  Let’s see what it says”

They unraveled and laid flat on their bellies on the cold tile floor.

“Close your eyes and point.”

“ ‘Go West in a week,’”

“Now that’s some advice I can follow.”

– transcribed (loosely based on reality) and posted by Lily.


Since 2001, the Chicago Poetry Project has brought locally and nationally significant poets to Chicago audiences. This year, the Project initiates a new series of poet’s talks. In the tradition of Bob Perelman’s Folsom Street talk series, but without the book & DVD package, or the lectures of Prof. Irwin Corey, but without the academicism, the series aims to generate discussion of issues in poetics among writers and readers outside the university umbra. This inaugural year will take up the issue of education: how does a poet get educated? and how might he or she work as an educator, in and outside of writing?

Talks will take place at the Green Lantern Gallery, 1511 N. Milwaukee Ave.

The initial talk will feature Karl Gartung, on Tuesday, October 20, at 7:30pm.

For close to thirty-one years, Karl Gartung has served Woodland Pattern Book Center (and before that, Boox, Inc.) as a guiding force. He is a reader and writer with deep ethical commitment, vision, and a particular enthusiasm for poetry and visual work in outside traditions. His own work is grounded in the poetics of William Carlos Williams’ Paterson and in it one hears echoes of Lorine Niedecker’s deft and lightly punning musicality. His writing was charged, changed irretrievably by Paul Metcalf, Dick Higgins, Karl Young and Jerome Rothenberg. Karl’s work has appeared in 26, Five Fingers Review, Convergence, Croton Bug, Convoy Dispatch, and was featured along with Karl Young and Morgan Gibson in a special issue of Gam: Roots of Experimental Writing in Milwaukee. Karl is artistic director at Woodland Pattern and works at United Parcel Service as a truck driver, union steward and activist.


October 12, 2009

re you ready for the greatest literary week of all time ever!?!

I thought so!
Friends of QUICKIES!, not only does this week hold our second ever FUNdraiser show, but it also welcomes Blake Butler and his new book, SCORTCH ATLAS, as well as the Another Chicago Magazine Release Party! New York can go crawl in a hole, CHICAGO is where it’s at.
Check out these amazing events!
Monday, Oct. 12th, 7 p.m.
Scortch Atlas book release party
No Coast Collective
1500 W. 17th St, Chicago

Tuesday, Oct. 13th, 7:30 p.m.
QUICKIES!!! Reading Series FUNdraiser

This month’s QUICKIES! will kick your ass!

Aaron Burch
Blake Butler
Zach Dodson
Amelia Gray
Jac Jemc
Caroline Picard
Mary Hamilton
Lindsay Hunter
Elizabeth Wylder
Ben Tanzer
Kate Duva
Aaron Plasek
Casey Bye,
and Richard Thomas.

We have twelve amazing readers traveling from four states to join us for this show. Yow!

For only the second time ever, we are asking for handouts. In return, we will give our audience the best reading they have ever seen ever and if they’re lucky, a few audience members will win PRIZES.
The Inntertown Pub
1935 W. Thomas, Chicago

Thursday, Oct. 15th, 7 p.m.
Another Chicago Magazine (ACM49) release party

Sponsored by PBR(!)
Stop Smiling HQ
1371 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago

You know what they say, they do it best in the Midwest.

Youtube is a Museum Too

October 4, 2009

posted by Caroline Picard

I just came across the following super sweet website by Tessa Siddle and would recommend your checking it out. It’s great. It’s a site with several youtube screams going at once, in co-ordination….

In her words, “Here are the first two web installations, they’re two different versions of the same piece, the first will likely cause your browser to crash after 2 or 3 minutes and the latter probably won’t.”

Anne Frank Video

October 3, 2009

On the video below, you can see Anne Frank leaning out of a window to see a young couple that just got married. (she shows up at around the 9-second mark)

…to an evening of reading / performance on

Thursday, October 8th, 7:30 to 11pm

Poetry / micro-fiction / cross-genre / translation readings by

Brandon Brown, visiting from San Francisco, CA


Daniel Borzutzky, who lives here in Chicago, IL

Readings will begin at 8pm

These writers are funny, tragic, passionate, irreverent and devotional, multilingual and obsessed with (not to say acting out on) the profounder issues and minutiae of translation and inter-textuality.  Readings not to miss!

This event is hosted by Judith Goldman, a Chicago-area poet and postdoctoral fellow / assistant professor at the University of Chicago.  Location: 5517 N. Paulina St., 1 (Andersonville).

[See more on event location / directions to site below writer bios and sample texts.]


The Working Day Lady Died

It’s 1349 on the fief and I’ve got 163 holidays

my colleagues and their offspring know

Bastille Day is no holiday! so I just get

my joints scuffed because I go straight from

one demarcated zone without my species

essence to chaos: sweet, domestic, and high;

filling it with mescal and snuck smokes,

head out the window like a fucking

crane. some of my colleagues shrug about

“every day a beating”, it’s all abstraction

and no nectar. Little lambs love to watch

their friends sheared. My batsuit. My shred

passports. My dead co-workers. Dead

on Bastille Day, weird.

Brandon Brown is from Kansas City, Missouri. Poems recently in Brooklyn Rail, Try!, Sprung Formal, West Wind Review. His friends have published chapbooks. Memoirs of My Nervous Illness (Cy Press), 908-1078 (Transmission), Camels! (Taxt) and the forthcoming Wondrous Things I Have Seen (Mitzvah Chaps). He publishes small press books under the imprint OMG! and in October 2009 will be guest blogging at .


See more of Brandon Brown’s work at:


The Book of Decomposition

It is in the tranquillity of decomposition that I remember the long confused emotion which was my life.

Samuel Beckett, Molloy

Here the reader rots alongside of the book and its characters. A man in the opening chapter pulls strands of hair off his head; the reader does the same. A man feels maggots crawling all over his skin; the reader feels the same. The book begins in a butcher shop that has been looted by poor bodies that tear out cow intestines and unravel them in the dead grass behind the butcher’s shed. The bodies see books in the intestines whose characters are their mirror images, and the bodies grow terrified of themselves. They run into the woods but they hate nature so they take shelter in the stables where rotten bodies hide in the hay. The dead bodies in this stable are countries and the protagonist says USA USA your assets are rotten you are dying and Haiti your huts have flooded and your citizens kill for bread and beans and New Orleans your bodies float in puddles of shit hey China your babies are drinking poisoned milk and Mexico your peasants cannot hear or see and in the USA the assets are rotten the Bolivians sell less coke on Wall Street the Iranians don’t have enough money to blow Israel off the map the Russians can’t build new weapons to sell to the Syrians and Venezuelans the Cuban doctors and prostitutes service bodies that live far away the nations conduct business in body parts here are the legs of our citizens we will trade you for arms and kidneys and here take these eyes and livers and give us hearts and tongues and intestines. Full stop. Period. In the end it’s unclear if it’s the reader or the characters who request some form of movement to free the bodies from the sorcery of global capital. Nevertheless, the request is granted and the book ends happily with the entrance of a saint who has so much love that he heals the sores of the bodies with his tongue and prepares them once more to succeed as cosmopolitan bodies in a ring of fantastically interconnected commerce. The book ends with a giant ejaculation behind the butcher shop where the bodies rub against each other as if there were no barriers to keep them from consummating their fiscal intimacies. And in the final scene water streams off the pages, cleansing the skin of the readers in a climax of diluvial bubbling.

Daniel Borzutzky’s books include The Book of Interfering Bodies (Nightboat Books, forthcoming), The Ecstasy of Capitulation (BlazeVox, 2007), Arbitrary Tales (Triple Press, 2005), and the chapbooks One Size Fits All (Scantily Clad Press, 2009) and Failure in the Imagination (Bronze Skull Press, 2007). He is the translator of Song for his Disappeared Love by Raul Zurita (Action Books, forthcoming); Port Trakl by Jaime Luis Huenún (Action Books, 2008); and One Year and other stories by Juan Emar, which was published as a special issue of the Review of Contemporary Fiction. Journal publications include Fence; Chicago Review; TriQuarterly; Action, Yes; Conjunctions; Words Without Borders; Circumference; American Letters and Commentary; Mandorla; Denver Quarterly and many others. He lives in Chicago, and is a faculty member in the English Department at Wright College.  His website is .

See more of Daniel Borzutzky’s work online:



Judith Goldman’s residence:

5517 N. Paulina Ave, #1—about 6 blocks north of Foster, between Catalpa and Gregory; Paulina is one block west of Ashland.

PLEASE NOTE:  This location is unfortunately not wheelchair accessible.


From the Bryn Mawr stop: walk west from Broadway to Paulina, about ½ mile (it’s a 12-15 min. walk).  Turn left at Paulina and walk 1 1/2 blocks (my building is about 3 houses down from the corner of Paulina and Gregory).

Email or with any questions.

-posted by Lily Robert-Foley