A modern maestra of macaronic verse, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs has about as much fun with language as you’re allowed to. To make sure she doesn’t go over, she’s got a neat trick: when she reaches her quota of exuberance in one tongue, she just switches to another. Consider TwERK, a wild polyglot rip-ride of a book somehow designated “poems”–after what must have been serious deliberation by her publisher. (And excellent deliberation it was, too; according to Small Press Distribution TwERK was numero uno in poetry in September!) Inside TwERK you’ll find Tagalog, Maori, Spanish, Cherokee, Yoruba, Hawaiian, Pidgin and Japanese. Along with jazz, opera, crunk, bebop and hip hop. The latter lists are not, by any means, exhaustive. Poetry is Sound and Sense, as one old textbook has it, and Diggs uses sound to craft a polychromatic atlas of sense, and sensibility–not to mention sensuality, which informs the whole from the line breaks to the heartaches. While the sense and sensuality are there, manifest, the sensibility is built: you learn how to read this verse by reading it. A good thing too because all the switching can confound even as it bedazzles. As open as this poetry is to all the world’s sounds and voices, it is insular too, insular for being singular. Diggs curates a bold yet private vision, for hers is an idiom of one–albeit one through which the many travel. TwERK is a big party, but it’s clearly in Diggs’s house.
On stage and online (La Digga is her avatar), Diggs will “be your friend and your playmate. Giving you the best of funk, house, r&b, white boys that will make you bounce, emo/goth…” That’s all in the poetry, too. She’s a vocalist, sound artist, and producer. “We publish the other books,” it says on her publisher Belladonna‘s website. TwERK is one of those, for sure. Other, otherworldly.
Check out: TwERK