A product of Third Factory
Directory of Contributors: Meredith Quartermain, Jed Rasula, John Hyland, John Tranter, Brian Lucas, Steve Benson, Annie Finch, Stephen Cope, Leonard Schwartz, James Wagner, Bill Berkson, Catherine Taylor, Marjorie Perloff, Michael Scharf, Anne Boyer, Laura Carter, Pam Brown, Nancy Kuhl, Benjamin Friedlander, Rodney Koeneke, Graham Foust, John Palattella, Joanna Fuhrman, David Dowker, Peter Quartermain, Jeff Hamilton, Mark Scroggins, John Latta, Marcella Durand, Noah Eli Gordon, Fred Wah, G.C. Waldrep, Tony Tost, Michael Nicoloff, Dana Ward, Peter Gizzi, Kevin Killian, Joseph Mosconi, Jennifer Scappettone, Franklin Bruno, John Sakkis, Gary Sullivan, Rod Smith, Tom Orange, Sharon Mesmer, and Joshua Clover. • Most mentioned titles. • Breakdown of presses mentioned.
Charles C. Mann | 1491 | Knopf | 2005
This well-researched and thoughtful history of aboriginal cultures in North and South America before the arrival of Columbus reveals that the "New World" is actually the Old World. Long before London and Paris meant anything, long before Athens and Sumer even, Peruvian city states exerted massive control over people and land. The Amazonian forest is actually an enormous garden of cultivated trees. And the eastern and southern US were heavily cultivated by well organized settlements. People in the Americas numbered in the millions, and invented writing, zero, astronomy, calendars, maize, tomatoes and even peaceful freedom for some of them.
Leslie Scalapino | Dahlia's Iris | FC2 | 2003
A haunting cross between dream, political statement, philosophy, and description of derelict 21st C cities and their disadvantaged inhabitants. "Thus the reader is both 'other' and 'oneself' throughout," Scalapino comments. Or "Imitating the 'body's conceptualization' (there is no wholeness, only conceptual) is disruption." Or "A spring. They changed the laws to allow unchecked infinite clandestine war. open. quash speaking here. compared (our hyendadon-leader/man-who-wants-faceless-motherslaves/evening/others) silent on 'either' side(s)—they do not crack or burst the repetition. or mirror. crack that inured. one. they're. outside.
Matt Briggs | Shoot the Buffalo | Clear Cut | 2005
For anyone who has lived in the US Pacific Northwest or in British Columbia, Canada, this book will have great resonance, as the wet forested landscape plays a lead role in the drama that unfolds. The novel is a coming-of-age story about a boy growing up in the woods with dysfunctional, pot-growing parents (erstwhile hippies one supposes). His escape is into the army with its own dysfunctionality.
Stacey Levine | Frances Johnson | Clear Cut | 2005
A novel of the suburbs but also about the feminine as suburban, and things that exist only in the shadow of other things.
Howard Robertson | Ode to Certain Interstates | Clear Cut | 2005
In lines dotted with classical references, Robertson records the view from an 18-wheeler plying interstate freeways and other interstates.
David Mitchell | Cloud Atlas | Vintage Canada | 2004
A post-modern adventure story that begins in the Chatham Islands in 1850, jumps to a bisexual composer in Belgium in the 1930s, then to corporate greed on the west coast in the 1970s and on into the future.
Lisa Robertson | The Men | BookThug | 2006
Robertson is mesmerizing as always. Also mesmerizing is the poster that comes with the book, which contains an intriguing set of quotations by men about "The Men."
Daphne Marlatt | Steveston | Ronsdale | 2001
This is a reprint of Marlatt's seminal work which first appeared in 1974 and records her meditations on the fishing village of Steveston at the mouth of the great Fraser River south of Vancouver BC. The book includes photographs of the village and its inhabitants, many of whom were of Japanese ancestry, and many of whom lost all their land and fishing boats during internment in WW II. Ever alert to the play in language, Marlatt folds in a wealth of meditative reflection on geography, town-building humanity, fishing, rivers, colonization, the fate of women and society's less-wanted—as archetypal a writing of place as the Maximus Poems, or Paterson.
Fred Wah | Diamond Grill | NeWest | 1996
In what he calls a biofiction (the text ranges from poetic fragments and jazz riffs to conventional narrative), Wah tackles head on the racism that affected his Chinese forebears and left him a hyphenated Canadian. Full of lively dialogue, prose poems/ narratives revolve around his father's Chinese-Canadian family restaurant, where he worked as a youngster, and include the stories of his father (sent back to China as a boy), and other relatives whom Canada forced to pay head taxes in order to immigrate, while denying them voting rights. "Maps don't have beginnings, just edges. Some frayed and hazy margin of possibility, absence, gap," he comments.
Fred Wah | So Far | Talonbooks| 1991
"[E]lectric lines hum the warmth between our minds and our places," Wah says in "Winter's Day." Another poem dazzled in its title: "Anthropomorphia." The book explores mixed genre forms involving prose and lineated poems. Several pieces entitled "Utaniki" unfold as journals kept on hiking trips into the back country, playing the mountain landscape against farflung psychic journeys to China's Tiananmen Square, for example, in powerful jazz riffs.
Louis Cabri | Mood Embosser | Coach House | 2001
Louis Cabri's love of Zukofsky shows in the erudition and compactness of his work. He is extremely inventive at recombining clichés, advertising slogans, corporate capitalist blague and popular sentiment so that they deconstruct each other with great humour and irony.
About Meredith Quartermain. Back to directory.
Robert Musil | The Man Without Qualities | Knopf | 1995
No time like the present to read about the abortions—aberrations—of nationalism in Musil's "Kakania." My third time through it, and page by page it always turns out to be better than I remembered.
Walter Benjamin | The Arcades Project | Harvard | 1998
After years of grazing, I finally put it on a syllabus a few years ago so I'd have to read it straight through. That worked. It became so addictive I found I was using it for any course at all. I think it memorized me. This stuff is the original snake oil.
Carola Giedion-Welcker | Schriften 1926-1971: Stationen zu einem Zeitbild | NA | 1973
Amazingly prescient collection of essays about the art and writing of her friends, including Joyce, Arp, Ernst, Giacommetti. She also edited a kind of salon de refusées of poets, a bilingual anthology/honor roll of outsider figures: Anthologie der Abseitigen: Poètes à l'Écart (1965).
Rebecca Solnit | Wanderlust: A History of Walking | Viking | 2000
Enormously absorbed by her biography of Edweard Muybridge, River of Shadows, I finally got around to reading her earlier history/meditation on walking while I hiked across England this summer. Informative, moving, and politically pithy.
NA | Dada exhibiton | Centre Pompidou in Paris | 2005
I went there opening day and eight hours went by in a flash, the first three just soaking up the cornucopia of correspondence from archives and private collections nicely mounted and lit for reading. A vast experience, about twice the size of what made it to Washington and New York this year. Check out the phonebook size (& paper) catalogue for the Pompidou exhibit too (not at all the same as the glossy American catalogue).
NA | Undercover Surrealism exhibition | Hayward Gallery in London | 2006
What a great idea to mount an exhibit on the contents of a journal—in this case, Bataille's Documents (1929-1930).
Cole Swensen | The Book of a Hundred Hands | Iowa | 2005
Digital meditations—the original digits, with bones inside. Tour de force investigative poetry, if not quite in Ed Sanders' sense.
Brian Henry | Quarantine | Ahsahta | 2006
Gutsy post-9/ll poem, grim and transfixing as a sustained bout of dismemberment.
Noah Eli Gordon | The Frequencies | Tougher Disguises | 2003
Noah Eli Gordon | The Area of Sound Called the Subtone | Ahsahta | 2004
Neither title actually experienced on the page (yet), but a scintillating public reading by the author moved these up to the top of the list for me.
Kaija Saariaho | From the Grammar of Dreams | Ondine cd | 2000
Musical settings by the Finnish composer (my age) of poems by Plath, Apollinaire, Eluard, and Finnish Dadaist Gunnar Björling, but not at all in the chanson and lieder tradition; more like a spectral inner cooing. Totally spellbinding, especially the soprano duet by the Komsi sisters in the title piece. This gives the whole domain of sound poetry a run for its money and then some.
VA | Pierrot: Ein Clown hinter den Masken der Musik | Musicaphon cd | 1999
There are lots of recordings of Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot lunaire (1912), which Stravinsky called "the solar plexus of modern music," but this is the only one I've come across in which the singer is invested as much in the speaking as in the singing of Sprechstimme (the speech-song designation invented by Schoenberg, after years working in cabaret). The rest of the disc is filled out with other settings of Pierrot by three of Schoenberg's forgotten contemporaries (Vrieslander, Kowalski, Künneke).
About Jed Rasula. Back to directory.
Robert Creeley | The Collected Poems 1945–1975 | California | 1982
I could as easily list all the New Directions publications that collect the work that follows the above, but it is often—if not nearly always—that I find myself pulling this (now tattered) volume from the shelf. The reasons for this return are numerous. Lately, it is a sense of process—one that I can't seem to find elsewhere these days—that holds me up late, or wakes me early. It's hard to say exactly what I mean by "process," but it must have something to do with Robert Creeley's work with visual artists. His poems point out the fact that a work is never done.
Charles Olson | The Maximus Poems | California | 1983
This is another work I am constantly returning to, often finding what I did not previously find. In Charles Olson's work—and I should also make mention of his essay "Human Universe"—a potential for other horizons thankfully persists, and this persistence—like Creeley's sense of process, a sense Olson actualizes as well—is one that I again am hard pressed to locate these days.
Lyn Hejinian | My Life | Green Integer | 2002
Lyn Hejinian | The Language of Inquiry | California | 2000
My Life is a book—like Gertrude Stein's How To Write—that is always nearby, a traveling companion of sorts. Not that I am ever comfortable in it per se, nor at home, but that I encounter a mind at work—one that might be mine at times—that never fails to make me more alive. As for The Language of Inquiry, I've been going over (and over) Hejinian's essays of Stein, essays that say so much more than most critical books on Stein.
Gertrude Stein | Stanzas in Meditation | Writings 1932–1946 | Library of America | 1998
I've read it, like, ten times in the past six months. I've read it and am trying to write about it. I'm interested in syntax—what Pierre Joris calls Stein's "nomad syntax"—yes, but also something else I'm not sure of yet.
Alfred North Whitehead | Symbolism: Its Meaning and Effect | Capricorn | 1959
Stein—along with some reading in Peirce and James—led me here. I think this slim volume may prove useful in reading Stanzas in Meditation since Stein was in contact with Whitehead around that time (I think).
Gayatri Gopinath | Impossible Desires: Queer Diasporas and South Asian Public Cultures | Duke | 2005
Just read this—brilliant book. Usefully reconfigures so much of what has gone on in Diasporas Studies. Need to read again. The basic notion of demanding the impossible—Gopinath evokes the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas—and calling for, and also imagining, "alternative rationalities" is near to what might be the heart of this list.
Pierre Joris | A Nomad Poetics | Wesleyan | 2003
It is really the title essay I should specifically list here, since that is one nexus of my intellectual concerns these days, but other essays, such as St/range: An uncertain range, echo other works listed here quite usefully.
Barrett Watten | The Constructivist Moment: From Material Text to Cultural Poetics | Wesleyan | 2003
Carrie Noland | Poetry at Stake: Lyric Aesthetics and the Challenge of Technology | Princeton | 1999
Two very different books in content, though maybe not so much in argument—I'm not sure yet. What links them for me is, the insistence on reading works in broad, inclusive contexts; revising long-held views of poets and artists; and nuanced analysis informed by such readings and revisions. (I am grateful to Carla Billitteri for suggesting them.)
Juliana Spahr | This Connection of Everyone with Lungs | California | 2005
Still in the midst of reading this volume, but love it so after the first read.
K. Silem Mohammed | Deer Head Nation | Tougher Disguises | 2003
Had the wonderfully bizarre experience of teaching this book in an introductory poetry course this past spring semester. What I learned—and am learning—was—is—that understanding is as necessary as it is overlooked; also, that despite the fact we our drenched in irony, seeing how it functions is no easy task.
Sylvester Pollet, ed. | Backwoods Broadsides 90 thru 100 | 2005–2006
One of the beautiful things about these modest broadsides is how I receive them. Sometimes they surprise me in the mailbox. Other times, when I've made some quick visit up to Orono, Sylvester will casually hand one or two to me. This is so exactly the generosity that holds me to poetry. But, also, the poems themselves always somehow seem so timely, so just what one thought to read. I will miss them.
Back to directory.
Arthur Rimbaud | L'oeuvre intègrale manuscrite: Edition ètablie et commentee par Claude Jeancolas | Les Èditions Textuel; Diffusion Le Seuil | 1997
Two volumes of large (that is, true-scale) photographic reproductions of hundreds of Rimbaud's letters and poems as he and his friends first saw them: handwritten, many by Rimbaud, others copied out by Verlaine or Germaine Nouveau and other friends, some neatly written and some with crossings-out, doodles and funny drawings in the margins, and with a third volume of 264 pages featuring transcriptions of the letters and poems with detailed notes (all in French) by Claude Jeancolas.
Robert Creeley | On Earth: Last Poems and an essay | California | 2006
As casual as a quiet talk with a friend, sometimes rhymed and sometimes not, some lines short and some long, these thirty-odd recent poems address the concerns and memories of one of America's important poets, now sadly dead. The essay takes a long look at Whitman's late poems, and faces old age and death: "One sits and waits, most usually for the doctor. So one goes inside oneself, as it were, looks out from that 'height' with only imagination to give prospect."
John Forbes | Collected Poems 1970-1998 | Brandl and Schlesinger <firstname.lastname@example.org> | no date
A subtle, ironic poet, widely read in military history, religion and contemporary poetry in English, particularly the New York School in its various incarnations, sadly dead in 1998 of excess and a heart attack before he reached fifty.
Jacques Roubaud, trans. Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop | The form of a city changes faster, alas, than the human heart: 150 poems | Dalkey | 2006
A gentle ramble through a Paris that indeed has faded away, full of puns, rhymes, strange gestures with layout and references to literary ghosts, by a member of Oulipo.
Dirk van Bastelaere, trans. William Groenewegen, John Irons, and Francis R. Jones | The Last to Leave: Selected Poems | Shearsman | 2005
Imagine that America had never been discovered, and after two world wars the people of Flanders in the Netherlands had invented modern poetry all by themselves: bizarre, bitter, extravagant.
John Press | The Chequer'd Shade | Oxford | 1963
Taking Wittgenstein's dictum to heart ("The only way to do philosophy is to do everything twice"), I have been re-reading some favorite books. Press's book is a thoughtful recounting of the history of critical attitudes to obscurity in poetry from Callimachus to Dylan Thomas, uncovering evidence for what is nearly a truism: that most of the major poets in every age were reviled in their youth for experimentalism and excessive difficulty, unlike nice people such as, say, Billy Collins or Seamus Heaney.
John Malcolm Brinnin | Dylan Thomas in America (1956) | Prion | 2000
This reissue portrays Dylan Thomas's last alcohol-fuelled years rampaging through the bars and bedrooms of the U.S.A. as recalled by his American minder, the minor writer Brinnin. Thomas died of drink in on 9 November 1953. (The only other person in the room at the time, apart from the nurse, was poet John Berryman, another adamantine alcoholic: he died eighteen years later when he jumped from a bridge in Minneapolis into the Mississippi River.) In his last years Thomas was loud, fat and mainly drunk; Brinnin is tight-lipped, slim, and far too sober. The wilder moments of "The Odd Couple" have nothing on the antics of this pair. For me the main delight of this tale is that Brinnin seems unaware of the picture he allows us to see of himself as Mister Fussy. He had played exactly the same exasperated straight-guy role alongside the driven and cynical photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson a few years before.
Amos Tutuola | The Palm-Wine Drinkard and His Dead Palm-Wine Tapster in the Deads' Town | Faber | 1952
Unnerving picaresque adventures in the African bush told in a cartoon-like prose style that makes the unravelling nightmares both hilarious and horrifying. Forget the self-conscious fabrications of surrealism: this is the genuine article. The mystery to me is how stuffy old Faber and Faber, in the gloom and austerity of post-war London, managed to discover and publish this vividly-coloured and hallucinatory work.
About John Tranter. Back to directory.
Zoviet France | Vienna 1990 | Charm | 1991
ZF conducted this soundtrack to a catastrophe using disembodied vocals, loops, live hand drums, tape cut-ups, and primitive floating electronics. A truly frightening document of what happened in Vienna one cold night in 1990.
Nurse With Wound | She and Me Fall Together in Free Death | United Dairies | 2003
Hypnotic nod-out jam, carnival helium narration, orgasmic moan, and a reclusive Irish goat farmer all commingle in this outsider dementia-document.
Current 93 | Thunder Perfect Mind | Durtro | 2003
These "apocalyptic folk" delve into eschatological musings, Gnosticism, and Noddy-obsession. The slightly minimalist acoustic instrumentation provides the foundation for David Tibet's unselfconsciously earnest vocal delivery. An epic.
David Bowie | "Heroes" | Virgin | 1977
"Sons of the Silent Age listen to tracks by Sam Therapy and King Dice."
The Fall | This Nation's Saving Grace | Rough Trade | early 1980s
"What have you got in that paperbag? Is it a dose of Vitamin C? I ain't got time for Western lessons. I am Damo Suzuki!"
Gao Xinjian | Return to Painting | Perennial | 2001
"Seeing urges us to paint this rather than that."
William Burroughs | Interzone | Penguin | 1989
Early routines, dreams, and reports from the outer edges of self-exile, SRO junk scores, and Tangerine dissolution.
Clark Ashton Smith | Out of Space and Time, Volume One | Panther | 1974
"Nothing is more disconcerting than to miscalculate the degree of descent in taking a step."
Geoffrey O'Brien and Jeff Clark | 2A | Quemadura | 2006
The Family's Bobby Beausoleil, "all your friends," and Southern California lounge rocker Greg Topper mingle in this bewildering collage by two of America's most mysterious cult leaders.
Joyce Cary | The Horse's Mouth | Penguin | 1944
Found this on a wooden shelf last week. A used copy from a shop in Hanoi. Humorous, anarchic, occasionally mystical (through Blake and Turner) descriptions of London land and mindscapes. A story involving a man who only wants to paint and those who always interrupt him.
About Brian Lucas. Back to directory.
Shunryu Suzuki | not always so | Harper Collins | 2002
Transcription of later talks by the founder of San Francisco Zen Center.
John F. Swed | Space Is the Place: The Life and Times of Sun Ra | Da Capo | 1998
Detailed, astonishing account of an extraordinary life in jazz.
Carla Harryman | Baby | Adventures in Poetry | 2005
Fetus transforms into adolescent, subject to world.
Craig Watson | True News | Instance | 2002
Postmodernist metaphysical poetry, meditations in words.
Kenzoburo Oe | The Silent Cry | Kodansha | 1967
Grueling and preposterous novel of return to a boyhood home in the provinces of Japan.
Gert Ledig | Payback | Granta | 1956
Sebald praised this close fictional description of a single hour in the firebombing of an unnamed German city.
Bob Dylan | Chronicles Volume I | Simon and Schuster | 2004
I didn't know he could write like this!
Maud Hart Lovelace | Betsy-Tacy series | Harper Collins | 1940 and later
Series set in author's turn-of-the-century Minnesota childhood depicts girls learning about life, a delightful read-aloud series that covers them from age 6 through marriage.
Susan Cooper | The Dark Is Rising series | Simon and Schuster | 1965 and later
At once warmly realistic and cosmically Arthurian, this series of five novels depicts five children's quest to turn back the threat of catastrophic hegemony.
Quang Van Nguyan | Fourth Uncle in the Mountain: Barefoot Doctor in Vietnam | St. Martin's | 2004
This fascinating as-told-to autobiography, set in the Mekong Delta and borderlands of Cambodia in the war years, rich in historical and cultural detail, focuses on educational process in herbal medicine and sorcery.
About Stephen Benson (pdf). Back to directory.
Bryan MacMahon | Peig: The Autobiography of Peg Sayers of the Great Blasket Islands | Criterion | 1983
I picked this up in Ireland on a trip to the Great Blaskets, and it is mesmerizing, told by a brilliant, illiterate storyteller from a centuries-old oral tradition.
Theresa M. Welford, ed. | The Paradelle | Red Hen | 2005
The first anthology of this bizarre postmodern poetic form, invented as a joke by Billy Collins and unexpectedly picked up for serious as well as comic use by a range of contemporary poets.
Satish Kumyar | You Are Therefore I Am: A Declaration of Dependence | Green | 2002
Autobiography by the editor of Resurgence Magazine. The memoir of living with his Jain mother alone is worth the price of the book. It moves through Jainism, Hinduism, Islam, India, England, and the U.S to point towards a path of interdependence into a time of "post-religious spirituality."
Julia Randall | The Path to Fairview: New and Selected Poems | LSU | 1992
Dense, salty, perfectly controlled poems by an unjustly overlooked poet.
Cyndi Lauper | The Body Acoustic | Sony | 2005
Acoustic versions of great songs including All Through the Night sung as a duet with Shaggy, and Shine, my new favorite dance song.
Abou Annie Finch. Back to directory.
Ed Roberson | City Eclogues | Atelos | 2006
Whenever asked what poets I'm currently reading, Roberson tops the list. It's been that way for awhile. This is another work of stunning lyrical turns in which the poet, to use Yogi Berra's phrase, comes to the fork in the road and takes it. ("Double-jointed" is the phrase Nate Mackey used to describe Roberson's syntax). This volume is especially Oppen-esque at points, recalling those lapidary urban images in "Of Being Numerous," although Roberson's city is Pittsburgh, not New York.
Speaking of Mackey:
Nathaniel Mackey | Splay Anthem | New Directions | 2007
Excellent preface by Mackey to this installment of "Song of the Andoumboulou" and other poems.
Rob Halpern | Rumored Place | Krupskaya | 2004
No longer really new, but I just read this over the Summer. In line with my own thinking about Oppen of late—the "future tense" is Halpern's domain—and the allusion to Duncan in the title is apt. Elegiac, critical, and lyrical at once.
Leslie Bumstead | Cipher | Civilian | Edge | 2005
Maggie Nelson | Jane: A Murder | Soft Skull | 2005
Jalal Toufic | Undying Love or Love Dies | Post-Apollo | 2002
Temporarily (I hope) out-of-print, I find this much more compelling than his more celebrated Distraction.
Maria Rosa Menocal, Raymond P. Scheindlin, and Michael Sells, eds. | The Literature of al-Andalus | Cambridge | 2000
Getting through this one slowly but with pleasure.
Joan Retallack and Juliana Spahr, eds. | Poetry and Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary | Palgrave Macmillan | 2006
Various Artists | Zanzibara 1-2 | Buda Records | 2006
The next series from Buda records in France promises to be as well-researched and edited as the first (the Ethiopiques series, some 20-odd volumes). Likely a number of re-issues, but no doubt some fresh stuff as well.
Virginia Tufte | Artful Sentences: Syntax as Style | Graphics | 2006
Great compendium, although these are not "New" but old sentences.
Kenneth Goldsmith | The Weather | Make Now | 2005
Finally decided to give this a 'whirl'. Got through it on a single sitting, and was pleased to find it more than merely a concept.
Back to directory.
Rene Crevel | My Body and I | Archipelago
This wonderful text by the surrealist Crevel has finally been translated into English (by Robert Bononno), and published in a beautiful edition by Archipelago Books, a relatively new publisher that is doing some wonderful things.
Peter Minter | Blue Grass | Salt
This interesting Australian poet's new book just arrived... the poems are a history of the present.
Elias Khoury | Gate of the Sun | Archipelago
The Lebanese novelists epic novel of the Palestinian Nakbah, translated from the Arabic by Humphrey Davis and published this year, is suddenly even more monumental.
Kamau Brathwaite | Born To Slow Horses | Wesleyan
Arkadii Dragomoschenko | Chinese Sun | Ugly Duckling
The richness of these sentences in this novel/poem are generative of theory, practice and the inbetween.
Jeanne Heuving | Incapacity | Chiasmus
A terrific book...
Benjamin Hollander | Rituals of Truce and the Other Israeli | Parrhesia
It seems I'm gravitating towards poems that work the sentence. Like Incapacity and Chinese Sun, Hollander's does too—though more propositionally.
Gillian Conoley | Profane Halo | Verse
Elegant, elegant work, able to evoke huge theoretical tracts with a minimum of words...
About Leonard Schwartz's radio show, Cross Cultural Poetics. Back to directory.
Stacy Doris | Knot | Georgia | 2006
I'm scheduled to review this book for Boston Review and am currently reading it. More to come.
Steve Timm | Disparity | Blazevox | 2006
If there's a Gertrude Stein of the Midwest, with Jaap Blonk affinities, who knows much about the Cubs and linguistics and jazz, then it's Timm. Of the (micro)cosmos.
Robert Creeley (with illustrations by Bobbie Creeley) | Away | Black Sparrow | 1976
Thirty years later, it still breathes easily, and delivers. A beautiful book.
Gnarls Barkley | St. Elsewhere | Warners | 2006
It just makes me smile. I don't know why.
Anne Boyer | Odalisqued blog | Google | 2006
Q: Doctor, does flarf have (a) soul at all?
A: Yes. It's in Iowa.
Nina Shope | Hangings | Stacherone | 2005
These three novellas easily hold their own against any ever written in the form.
Sina Najafi, ed. | Cabinet 21: Electricity | Immaterial Incorporated | Spring 2006
This issue caught my eye, as does anything having to do with electricity. I especially liked the online audio files called Electrical Walks.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder | About ten different Fassbinder films | NA | 1969-1982
Christian Braad Thomsen | Fassbinder—The Life and Work of a Provocative Genius | Faber & Faber | 1997
My most recent manuscript is titled The Tender Affections of Germans, and Fassbinder has played a part in this. I actually haven't read past the first twenty pages of the biography, because my S.O. (so?) took it away from me and is reading it herself.
...too many newspapers/magazine articles to list, on the various illegal wars around the world | Edited by Wellbutrin and NyQuil—cherry flavored | Banking Conglomerate Military-Industrial Complex(ion)land | 2006
More James Wagner. Back to directory.
Solomon Volkov | St. Petersburg: A Cultural History | Free Press | 1995
Margaret MacMillan | 1919 | Random House | 2003
Moment-to-moment account of Versailles Treaty conference—one large marker on how the road to "global" was paved with bad intentions.
Adam Phillips | Terrors and Experts | Harvard | 1995
Philips is one of the best writers; his other books are Darwin's Worms; On Flirtation; Promises, Promises; and On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored. He's a British psychotherapist, editor of the Penguin Freud series. Note of caution: the latest, Going Sane, is not as interesting as the rest.]
Ted Leigh, ed. | Material Witness: Selected Letters of Fairfield Porter | Michigan | 2005
Note: Porter's letters are fascinating; the footnotes are riddled with factual errors.
David Summers | Real Spaces | Phaidon | 2003
New art history, neither right nor wrong, but very provocative.
Kenneth Koch | Collected Poems | Knopf | 2006
The world should pay close attention to Koch's late poems, here and in the posthumous volume A Possible World, including such as "Paradiso," "Mountain," "Proverb."
Richard Wollheim | Germs | Black Swan | 2005
Philosopher's memoir of his early years.
Sigmund Freud | Beyond the Pleasure Principle | Penguin Modern Classics | 2003
Read this as writing.
Bill Berkson & Bernadette Mayer | What's Your Idea of a Good Time? | Tuumba | 2006
Hot off the press—steamy—I kid you not.
Marina Tsvetaeva | Earthly Signs: Moscow Diaries, 1917-1922 | Yale | 2002
Extraordinarily elegant translation by Jamie Gambrell of the wondrous MT's piercing and heroically playful accountings of her days with (and without) Bolshevism and "byt."
Helen Power | My Grandmother, Carrie: Reflections on a Maine Life; with an afterword by Robert Creeley | privately printed | 2002
Sense and sensibility.
About Bill Berkson. Back to directory.
Rob Halpern | Rumored Place | Krupskaya | 2004
This tops my list. Fascinating. Devastating. I can't stop reading it. All worlds collide here.
Lisa Jarnot | Black Dog Songs | 2003
Another one I go back to over and over. I may need a new copy soon as mine is getting ragged. I love the veer from giddiness to sorrow here, or maybe the way they're never really separate. Music.
Leslie Bumstead | Cipher/Civilian | Edge | 2005
A book I've been waiting for. Intimate, watchful, compelling poetic accounts of the complications of politics, parenting, relationships, and language. A major contribution to investigative poetics.
Johan Grimonprez | dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y | Other Cinemas | 1997
What documentary should be. Narratives appear, then get submerged, then exploded by footage of skyjackings from the 60's and 70's backed up by a slightly clunky series of readings from DeLillo and a brilliant soundtrack by David Shea.
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson | Bach Cantatas | Nonesuch | 2003
One of my all-time favorites. Listening to her sing these pieces of grief ("my heart swims in blood") is made even sadder by her death this summer.
Fanny Howe | The Wedding Dress: Meditations on Word and Life | California | 2003
Howe writes, "The whirling that is central to bewilderment is the natural way for the lyric poet." A fabulous, heartbreaking maze.
Stacy Doris | Knot | Georgia | 2006
She asks "Are collisions entrances?" This book is thick with both.
Angela Davis | Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture | Seven Stories | 2005
A set of interviews that supplement her earlier Seven stories book, Are Prisons Obsolete. Sometimes a little fast and loose, but her arguments using the abolition of slavery as a way to rethink how we approach the problem of prisons and of democracy (and their current inextricability) are compelling.
Judith Butler | Giving an Account of Oneself | Fordham | 2005
Careful, useful meditations on the narration of the "I." (And Adorno, Laplanche, Levinas, and Foucault.)
Tony Cokes | "Shrink" | Aspect Magazine; The Chronicle of New Media Art | 2004
Digital video short. This excerpt from a larger installation overlays video of Manhattan (taken from a slowly moving tour boat) with textual excerpts from an interview with artist Martha Rosler on heterodoxity or hybridity in creative work. Dreamy soundtrack by experimental Bavarian popsters The Notwist.
Lisa Robertson | XEclogue | New Star | 1990
Still as urgent as it is lyrical. Somehow related to Halpern's Rumored Place both formally and sentimentally. Hers is the genre I can go phantom in.
Stephen Cope, ed. | George Oppen: Selected Prose, Daybooks, and Papers | California | forthcoming, 2007
Reading Cope's manuscript in its final stages after years of work. A thrilling, enormous collection of pieces to dwell on presented in a way that let's us truly see them. Makes me want to quote it endlessly.
About Catherine Taylor's Essay Press. Back to directory.
In alphabetical order:
Bruce Andrews | Designated Heartbeat | Salt | 2006
One of Andrews' most genial books, despite the mordant political satire. I especially like "Valentines" where "Sunset" is defined as "end-stopped."
David Antin | I Never Knew What Time It was | California | 2005
This new collection (the first in more than a decade!) of David Antin's talk pieces (he now calls them "texts" rather than "poems") should lay to rest, once and for all, the complaint that Antin's poetry is not "emotional." Plenty of emtion recollected in tranquillity here, but also great intellectual force.
Caroline Bergvall | Fig | Salt | 2005
Bergvall's first full-length book comes with a CD and is a brilliant bravura performance. Includes Bergvall's complex metaphysical "About Face," as well as her Oulipo poem "Via," a riff on Dante translations that shows precisely and wittily why the Inferno is such a great poem.
Charles Bernstein | Shadowtime | Green Integer | 2005
The libretto for the Brian Ferneyhough opera is a work of art in itself; it can (and should) be read quite independently of the music. My husband Joseph, who is not given to reading much experimental poetry, has practically memorized the section called "One and a Half-Truths," which has lines like "just a- / Round the corner is another corner."
Joshua Clover | The Totality for Kids | California | 2006
Mordant diagnostic speculations on the way we live now—learned, funny, and intellectually challenging.
Peter Gizzi | A panic that can still come upon me | Ugly Duckling | 2006
Recent long poem by the author of Some Versions of Landscape and Weather that carries on le côté Frank O'Hara of Peter Gizzi. The "if..." clauses become increasingly heartbreaking. And Ugly Duckling (as always) has done a gorgeous production job.
Kenneth Goldsmith | The Weather | Make Now | 2005
See the Goldsmith issue of Open Letter for details. I find new pleasures in the book all the time.
Eugene Ostashevsky | Oberiu: An Anthology of Russian Absurdism | Northwestern | 2006
Ostashevsky's anthology of 1920s Russian absurdism—especially the writing of Alexander Vvedensky, Daniel Kharms, and Nikolai Zabolotsky—uninentionally provides the parameters within which we can read most of the poets listed here. A real revelation.
Cole Swensen | The Book of a Hundred Hands | Iowa | 2005
One of Swensen's best books: her ekphrastic meditations on the human hand start out in low-key but become increasingly urgent and nervous. And the poems are visually stunning.
Elizabeth Willis | Meteoric Flowers | Wesleyan | 2006
Erasmus Darwin's scientific pastorals (who would have thought it?) becomes the occasion for Willis's Back to directory.intense, spare surreal but also documentary lyrics.
About Marjorie Perloff. Back to directory.
Anne Carson, trans. | Grief Lessons: Four Plays of Euripides | New York Review | 2006
Alkestis, Herakles, Hekabe and Hippolytos.
Anselm Berrigan | Some Notes on My Programming | Edge | 2006
From "psychotic rates of exchange" to "sheathed collateral wreckage."
Clint Burnham | Smoke Show | Arsenal Pulp | 2006
Low-level trade in drugs and bodily fluids. "Yeah, so like I guess I'm
mostly classic rock."
Drew Gardner | Petroleum Hat | Roof | 2005
"I Feel I Am Searching" for Best American Poem of 2005.
Françoise Mallet-Joris, trans. from the French by Herma Briffault,
introd. by Terry Castle | The Illusionist (1952) | Cleis | 2006
Heather McGowan | Duchess of Nothing | Bloomsbury | 2006
Annoying, but maybe great.
Octavia E. Butler | Fledgling | Seven Stories | 2005
Vampires and attachment.
Saul Williams | The Dead Emcee Scrolls | MTV | 2006
Totally ignored. "NGH WHT" for Best American Poem of 2006.
Stacy Doris | Knot | University of Georgia | 2006
Justice and other contradictions.
Stacy Doris | Cheerleader's Guide to the World: Council Book | Roof | 2006
A society stuck in a very sick game.
Eliot Weinberger | Muhammad | Verso | 2006
Best Flarf! ever.
More Michael Scharf. Back to directory.
Drew Gardner | Petroleum Hat | Roof | 2005
Katie Degentesh | The Anger Scale | Combo | 2006
Brandon Downing | The Diabolical Haunting | Film, Flarf Festival | 2006
Linh Dinh | Borderless Bodies | Heretical Texts | 2005
Lara Glenum | The Hounds of No | Action | 2005
Rodney Koeneke | Musee Mechanique | Blaze Vox | 2006
Michael Magee | Mainstream | Blaze Vox | 2006
Sandra Simonds | Steam | self-published | 2006
K. Silem Mohammad | Breathalyzer | Edge | 2006
Stephanie Young | Telling the Future Off | Tougher Disguises | 2005
Stephanie Young, ed. | Bay Poetics | Faux | 2006More Anne Boyer. Back to directory.
Sarah Manguso | Siste Viator | Four Way | 2006
Joshua Clover | The Totality for Kids | California | 2006
Lara Glenum | The Hounds of No | Action | 2005
Starred Wire | Ange Mlinko | Coffee House | 2005
Charles Altieri | The Particulars of Rapture | Cornell | 2004
Sianne Ngai | Ugly Feelings | Harvard | 2005
Gilles Deleuze, trans. Patton | Difference and Repetition | Columbia | 1995
Walter Benjamin, trans. Eiland and McLaughlin, ed. Tiedemann | The Arcades Project | Belknap | 2002
Jacques Lacan, trans. Fink | Écrits | Norton | 2005
Charles Altieri | Self and Sensibility in Contemporary Poetry | Cambridge | 1984
Gaston Bachelard | The Poetics of Space | Beacon | 1994
Back to directory.