9/26/2006
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I was hit with deadlines in August, but this would have gone to Attention Span.

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Judith Goldman | DEATHSTAR/RICOCHET | O Books | 2006
Named for the nicknames of Enron traders. This is perhaps the fourth or fifth book of the last few years that shows a poet so radically changing his or her style in the face of geopolitical outrages. I want to say poetry is now bad news that stays bad news.

Maureen Thorson | Evol | Big Game Books | 2005
A love poem in the popular style (of flarf).

Geraldine Kim | Povel | Fence | 2005
If a long poem and a short novel got together. The book kept me laughing on a long plane flight, but the person beside me was hostile to Kim's author photo and gave it a nasty stare as we descended into Ronald Reagan Airport.

Bruce Boone | My Walk with Bob | Ithuriel's Spear | 2006
My friend Tom gave me a first edition of the book which he found for the original cover price ($2.50). Now it's in print again, and the hush-hush is that Boone is launching a comeback. What to say about Bruce Boone? He is the dark knight of New Narrative who withdrew from the literary scene during the late Reagan years. His prolific early career included essays on O'Hara, Spicer, Duncan, Blaser and Weiners that were years ahead of the time. He reportedly wrote a 12-page letter to Stephen King that went unanswered. I hear that Boone never made a copy, so we must wait for King to sell his papers.

Rob Halpern | Rumored Place | Krupskya | 2004
This book offers a claim about the limits of The Arcades Project. The difference is that we still need to locate ourselves historically, but globalized capitol has dissolved the spaces of Benjamin's modernity.

Carla Harryman | Baby | Adventures in Poetry | 2005
Not the first time Harryman has written about a character with this name, but here is the longest treatment. (More about this one later.)

Lee Edelman | No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive | Duke UP | 2004
Takes the anti-social thesis of queer theory to an extreme by embracing the death drive. Politically, the target is the image of the child because it represents an uncritical investment in the future. Edelman prefers Uncle Scrooge to Tiny Tim, and he likes when the schoolchildren are attacked in Hitchcock's The Birds.

Alan Gilbert | Another Future: Poetry and Art in a Postmodern Twilight
| Wesleyan | 2006
Essays that offer a model to follow? I might sound like Creeley on WCW's selected essays if I say that some of Gilbert's better essays are missing? Or perhaps they were written after the manuscript for this book, which means the best is yet to come.

Unpublished letters | Archives at Buffalo, Indiana, Yale, U-Conn, Stanford, and so forth | 1940s-2000s
This project goes from airmail to email, and wouldn't you know I got a computer virus from the email?

And one older book:

Frank O'Hara | Selected Plays | Full Court Press |1978
Bill Berkson's "Talk" (1980) quotes a two-page letter from O'Hara that shows he knew something about music too. O'Hara casually summarizes four centuries of classical music and concludes with his contemporary favorites. The letter gave me a jolt because I'm so used to associating O'Hara with the world of painting. The letter is a curriculum of sorts, and being a bad student of music, I've tried to school myself in the work he recommends. Thanks to iTunes, plus a handful of free podcasts, I've tracked down a lot of O'Hara's list very quickly. I am also getting around to the O'Hara that I never read before, like his art criticism and plays.

Comments on ""

 

Blogger Tim Peterson said ... (9:27 AM) : 

I appreciate Halpern's take on things...that's an amazing book...

 

Blogger -k said ... (10:06 AM) : 

Yep... and not to lump folks in lumps, but this morning on the train I fell into all sorts of superlatives over Taylor Brady's new Occupational Treatment (Atelos '06). I like how both works are mapping space for me, making visible limits that I couldn't see before...

 

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