Pink Waves

Pink Waves

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Author: Sawako Nakayasu

Publisher: Omnidawn (2022)

Written in loose sonata form, Pink Waves is a poem of radiant elegy and quiet protest. Moving through the shifting surfaces of inarticulable loss, and along the edges of darkness and sadness, Pink Waves was completed in the presence of audience members over the course of a three-day durational performance. Sawako Nakayasu accrues lines written in conversation with Waveform by Amber DiPietro and Denise Leto, and micro-translations of syntax in the Black Dada Reader by Adam Pendleton, itself drawn from Ron Silliman’s Ketjak. Pink Waves holds an amalgamation of texts, constructing a shimmering haunting of tenderness, hunger, and detritus.

Pink Waves deepens my immense admiration for Nakayasu’s poems and translations. Expansive, working across genres, she always pushes her writing into new places. In Pink Waves, she has found another way to rigorously clear a space for herself or, perhaps more accurately, her many selves, attaining a fresh perspective. Registering the world crashing into her life, we hear and learn the different languages that flow around her, as well as encounter references to—and echoes of—Adam Pendelton’s collage text Black Dada, Valerie Solanas’s radical feminist SCUM Manifesto, Sol LeWitt’s ‘Paragraphs on Conceptual Art,’ and Ron Silliman’s groundbreaking Ketjak. She uses collage to give a resilient, changing shape to our relentless influx of chaos, and the resulting feelings of anxiety, passion, anger, and love stirred up in us. Turning detritus into sensuous music, Nakayasu’s greatness arises from [undertaking] ‘Experiments in Joy,’ à la Gabrielle Civil, to find a way to live in the here and now.”

–John Yau

“Nakayasu’s Pink Waves is an experience of questions becoming artifacts. The speaker asks: ‘how will i locate expansiveness in touch’? By ‘dreamlight’, a reader is trained, by this speaker, in a process of listening that’s both a ‘pledge of silence’ and the recognition that ‘we come to a limit and stop where it fits.’ Is this ‘genre trouble’? Nakayasu has written a book a writer could read, orienting to the desk, to the ‘passing moment,’ in turn. This is grounding. This is beautiful.”  

–Bhanu Kapil

"In a deliberate lyricism of regathering, tethering, and receding precedence, in a perpetual canon that keeps spilling and sifting and replenishing what feels like dancing, in a series of breaks weaving wave and snap into writing that listens, Sawako Nakayasu takes the measure of the enjoyment we derive from sensing and making sense of this wasteland of bandwidth and access. Pink Waves is a delicate instrument. Its spare beauty picks up everything."

–Fred Moten