||NOISE IN THE FACE OF
by Davis Buuck
David Buuck’s newest collection, Noise in the Face of, is aesthetically strong, political poetry at its finest. Written in Oakland during the early days of the Occupy Oakland movement, through the Bay Area protests in the wake of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and many, many others, Noise marries fire and form, going beyond representational aesthetics to craft writing that aims to be the thing itself.
Composed of nine poems, Noise is punctuated by “DISTANCE NOW CLOSED BETWEEN,” whose sections appear between the other poems. In “DISTANCE…,” Buuck explores the first raid on the Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland, appropriating language from leaked official emails. Buuck writes with immediacy, using language from the Internet that builds into righteous anger and exposes confusion that transforms into a sense of responsibility.
Buuck addresses the shortcomings of poetry frontally. He identifies the “Problem: sick of poetry, not finding another form/for this roving disgust.” He nonetheless aims to use it to express the historical moment of protest and insurrection that becomes a perpetual present of crisis and rebellion. Buuck grapples with the conflict of representing these events and the role that the writer and activist has in representing the spectatorship of violence, from livestreams of riots and police brutality to moments of collective breakthrough and “throng song.”
Noise in the Face of searches that liminal space between the virtual and the real, that riot without a livestream, that conversation without the separation of iMessage, that instance as such, completely in the present tense. Gritty and alive, Noise is a rip in time that allows these events to stay in a constant present, wholly belonging to and composed of the places, people, sights, and sounds of our current modes of resistance.
“David Buuck’s Noise in the Face of is not a book exposing lies. It is about the labor of standing together in the face of the exposed and learning to be there for one another. There is Love here and there is a promise for enough of it, just stand in there and you know he is right. What an honor to be alive at the same time as this poet who is showing that there is so much more beyond the filth and conspiracy of politics.”
– CAConrad, author of ECODEVIANCE
“I don’t know when I’ve ever read poetry more completely of and in the streets—where the form and content of the poetics of the march and occupation and riot are so thoroughly merged. Squelch that cop radio feedback, turn up the Michael Jackson—the livestream is on and in your hands, comrade. David Buuck has his razor sharp eye and ear at all times on ‘what/’s beyond the shattered frame’ of mere representational aesthetics/politics: this is poetry bashed out on a burning piano as it hurtles downhill during an Oakland riot. I for one am more than a little excited to be along for the ride.”
– Stephen Collis
“What are / the forms // we’d like / to live in?” This necessary question marches alongside the mass protests Noise in the Face of recounts. Bodies in resistance become spectacle—through police reports & bodycams, twitter feeds & livestreams. Are such representations in service of or an obstacle to finding more just forms of being in the world? David Buuck proposes the poem as a space to think it through.”
– Jena Osman
“David Buuck’s Noise in the Face of amplifies the clamors and cries of the party of disorder as it faces the long-range acoustic devices of police phraseology. Tracing lines of solidarity that run counter to the clicks and swipes of 21st century capitalism, moving from the administrative transmissions of the police scanner to the nervous figuration of the rabble, Noise in the Face of gives us a 360-degree view of an antagonistic collective as it forms in the streets of Oakland and beyond. It reads our future in fire.”
– Jasper Bernes
“David Buuck writes a history of the problem of being a poet inside the historical moment of a city which itself had become a poem ‘sick of poetry, not finding another form for this roving disgust.’ Oakland was once a messed-up erupting ambiguity of the negatively capable indecorously accessorizing, the messed-up positron of the all, but maybe what Oakland was also was the precipice overlooking Silicon Valley, a cliff geo-tagged as a protest taking the form of a funeral in the form of a dance you refuse to do: ‘Whose fuck ups? / Our fuck ups.’ The meta-shards of mega-self-awareness that come after are a jewel on the radiant pavement of after that.”
David Buuck is a writer who lives in Oakland, CA. He is the founder of BARGE, the Bay Area Research Group in Enviro-aesthetics, and co-founder and editor of Tripwire, a journal of poetics. Publications include SITE CITE CITY (Futurepoem, 2015), An Army of Lovers, co-written with Juliana Spahr (City Lights, 2013), and The Shunt (Palm Press, 2009). Writing and performance work is available via davidbuuck.com
Publication date: November 2016