From Party Spirit

Poetry / Candice Wuehle

:: & with the intervention of the profession::



:: & of where in the composition ::




From the writer

:: Account ::

The first poem of Par­ty Spir­it was writ­ten in Lau­gar­vatn, Iceland—a small spa town I was vis­it­ing for one month to expe­ri­ence the Mid­night Sun. Orig­i­nal­ly, I was inter­est­ed in the impact twen­ty hours a day of sun­light would have on me somat­i­cal­ly. I want­ed to feel, as CA Con­rad says, “seem­ing­ly infi­nite space between body and spir­it by using any pos­si­ble THING around or of the body to chan­nel the body and/or in toward spir­it with delib­er­ate and sus­tained con­cen­tra­tion.” The THING of the sun chan­neled my body into a state of uncer­tain­ty, a sense that the clock of my body was not tuned while engag­ing my spir­it with an aware­ness of a ter­ri­ble sub­lime, of a self-small­ness that was not a prob­lem but an avenue to under­stand­ing the impos­si­ble largess of ecol­o­gy. This man­i­fest­ed through poems con­cerned with lim­it expe­ri­ences and thresholds—masks, skin, steam, laugh­ter, grief, spir­i­tu­al­i­ty. The Par­ty Spir­it, the X‑cuctioner, The Pro­fes­sion­al Mourn­er, and oth­er “char­ac­ters” became fig­ures that exist­ed in the space resist­ed def­i­n­i­tion. The Par­ty Spir­it her­self is forged through an event she can­not remem­ber that ren­ders her along the edge of a lake I imag­ine as George Oppen’s “unrimmed hole.” Her promise is rep­re­sent­ed by her total lack of engage­ment with the bor­ders of what defines most of us as human: a soci­ety, law, time, a sense of how much phys­i­cal or emo­tion­al space she con­sumes on earth. She her­self becomes a site with­out edges that there­fore is unable to con­sid­er a “rela­tion” or lack of rela­tion to the sub­stances of her world. She is a gen­er­a­tor of pos­si­bil­i­ty; I tried to invest her with Derrida’s notion of “Lim­itro­phy.” She doesn’t spend her life “effac­ing the lim­it, but in mul­ti­ply­ing its fig­ures, in com­pli­cat­ing, thick­en­ing, delin­eariz­ing, fold­ing, and divid­ing the line pre­cise­ly by mak­ing it increase and mul­ti­ple” (Der­ri­da, The Ani­mal that There­fore I Am 29). She con­nects to ani­mals, weath­er, time because she no longer knows she is not ani­mal, weath­er, or time. For me, she is a lock­less key. An open­ing to expe­ri­ences unimag­in­able; a “seem­ing­ly infi­nite space”; a rad­i­cal con­necter of experience.


Can­dice Wuehle is the author of the chap­books curse words: a guide in 19 steps for aspir­ing trans­mo­graphs (Danc­ing Girl Press, 2014) and EARTH*AIR*FIRE*WATER*ÆTHER (Grey Books Press, 2015). Her work can be found in Tar­pau­lin Sky, The Vol­ta, The Col­orado Review, SPORK, The New Orleans Review, and Juked, among oth­ers. She is orig­i­nal­ly from Iowa City, Iowa and is a grad­u­ate of the Iowa Writ­ers’ Work­shop. Cur­rent­ly she resides in Lawrence, Kansas where she’s a Chancellor’s Fel­low at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas. She lives with William (a very fat bun­ny) and her part­ner, Andrew.