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Giorgio Agamben | Potentialities: Collected Essays in Philosophy | Stanford | 2000

Charles Bernstein | Girly Man | Chicago | 2006

Anne Boyer | Anne Boyer's Good Apocalypse | Effing

Dolores Dorantes, trans. Jen Hofer | sexoPUROsexoVELOZ and Septiembre | Counterpath / Kenning | 2007

Laura Moriarty | An Air Force | Hooke | 2007

Mark Nowak, ed. | XCP: Cross Cultural Poetics 17: Public Language and Dreamstories | XCP | 2007

Tom Raworth | Caller and Other Pieces | Edge | 2007

Sharon L. Snyder and David T. Mitchell | Cultural Locations of Disability | Chicago | 2006

Juliana Spahr | The Transformation | Atelos | 2007

John Weiners | Book of Prophecies | Bootstrap | 2007

Many others didn't a bunch of rereads, essays, blogs, etc...

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Alice Notley | In the Pines | Penguin | 2007

“[A]lmost unbearable to read... makes dazzling shifts in perspective that keep it rising like a terrible house of cards, or a life," says one review.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul | Mysterious Object at Noon | Plexifilm | 2003

Rivette said about Out 1, “the fiction swallows everything up and then self-destructs.” Here, it doesn't and then it doesn't, and the amount of information meant watching it in 10-minute sittings.

Brandon Downing | Lake Antiquity | unpublished ms. | 2007

A coup de grace, and a primer.

Jeffrey Jullich | Thine Instead Thank | Harry Tankoos | 2007

A gay reading of Clark Coolidge, c. 1985-1987, that makes 90% of la languedoc look like it was written during the Eisenhower administration. Also its own thing.

Joanne Kyger | About Now: Collected Poems | National Poetry Foundation | 2007

My Am. Zen diss. at Cal scandalously excludes Whalen: Ginsberg, Kyger, Scalapino, Davies.

Laura Moriarty | An Air Force | Hooke | 2007

“I want to get out of here,” she says.

Min Jin Lee | Free Food For Millionaires | Warner | 2007

Augie March now plays for Queens.

Phil LaMarche | American Youth | Random | 2007

Still life with gun and exurb. Weird new commercial realism.

Roberto Bolaño, trans. from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer | The Savage
Detectives | Farrar | 2007

A novel about New York in the 1990s.

Suzan-Lori Parks | 365 Days/365 Plays | Theatre Communications Group | 2006

Throw one copy into the Times Sq. recruiting station, then turn around and throw another into the Minskoff, and run before collapse.

Victor Segalen, trans. by Timothy Billings and Christopher Bush | Stèles | Wesleyan | 2007

Devious resonances of a double echo from one heart to another!

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Robin Blaser | The Fire | California | 2006

Collected essays on poets and poetics, edited with commentary by Miriam Nichols. Among the essays on poetics, we find “The Fire,” “Particles,” “The Stadium of the Mirror,” and “Poetry and Positivisms” along with several more recent essays. Also included in this text are pieces on Jack Spicer, Mary Butts, George Bowering, Charles Olson and many others. Nichols has included a very helpful and detailed chronology of Blaser’s life and writing, and her commentary on Blaser’s works and ideas thoroughly illuminates Blaser’s playful and philosophical reflections.

Robin Blaser | The Holy Forest | California | 2006

Containing a substantial body of new work since the 1993 edition, and published in a handsome cover mirroring that of The Fire. In The Holy Forest Blaser returns us to our proper place as wanderers, calling on humanity to let go of its puny totalitarianisms in a lyric capability that brings together politics, spirit and heart. Blaser’s achievement is consummate both in poetic technique and as one of our most important contemporary thinkers.

Nicole Brossard | Fluid Arguments | Mercury | 2005

Selected essays written in English and in French, the French ones rendered in English by various translators. Some of my favorites include ones on poetry and politics, a long one on the part of silence in poetry, a lengthy autobiographical piece and her comments on Djuna Barnes and Gertrude Stein. If you are a woman and you write, read this book.

Nicole Brossard | Picture Theory | Roof | 1990

Translated by Barbara Godard. Explores language as veil, language as hologram, in a series of text/ures that range from novelistic realism to lineated poetry.

Nicole Brossard | She would be the first sentence of my next novel | Mercury | 1998

This text appears in parallel French and English. Brossard creates here an amazing imaginary landscape that has to be experienced to be believed. Framed as a conversation between a novelist, a poet, a feminist and a Quebecois, the text opens a realm that is neither fiction nor theory but is both at once, very exciting to read, very funny.

Nicole Brossard | Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon | Coach House | 2005

Translated by Susanne De Lotbinière-Harwood. This novel unfolds in sumptuous colours and textures, a real feast, that revolves around a discussion between a woman who writes descriptions for the Museum of Civilization and a woman who is a novelist. Part of the excitement of this book for me is the nifty way Brossard has of embedding narratives within other narratives or scenes, with all sorts of cross-resonance.

Erín Moure | O Cadoiro | Anansi | 2007

Many of these poems were written after Moure steeped herself in medieval Galician-Portuguese cantigas, and she has eerily, marvelously recreated in English a mood, an ambiance from this earlier time that is startling, astonishing. Other poems and even the cover playfully push the limits of “the book” and book design.

Samuel Beckett | Watt | Grove | 1959

For sheer inventiveness, this novel is really a great great treasure.

Sina Queyras | Lemon Hound | Coach House | 2006

Just the title of this book gets me going. Queyras is very ingenious with repetition in these pieces. One of my favorites is her retake on Molly’s speech in Ulysses.

Rachel Zolf | Human Resources | Coach House | 2007

A smart angry book that plays with corporate-speak in devastating ways.

Jay MillAr and Stephen Cain | Double Helix | Mercury | 2006

MillAr and Cain write prose poems back and forth to each other with the added constraint that each piece is controlled by a letter of the alphabet. Designed to match its content, the book can be read starting at either cover.

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The following books influenced my way of reading, writing, listening, and thinking over the past year.

George Balanchine & Francis Mason | Balanchine’s Complete Stories of The Great Ballets | Doubleday | 1977

Guy de Maupassant, trans. Charlotte Mandell | The Horla | Melville House | 2005

Ivor Guest | Victorian Ballet-Girl: The Tragic Story of Clara Webster | A. & C. Black | 1957

Jennifer Moxley | Fragments of a Broken Poetics | Impercipient Editions | 2006

Marcel Proust, trans. James Grieve | In The Shadow of Young Girls In Flower | Viking | 2004

Robert Kelly | The Runic Workbook | Private | 2005

Roger Kamien, ed. | The Norton Scores: An Anthology For Listening | Norton | 1972

Theodor Adorno | Minima Moralia | Verso | 2005

Tom Sutcliffe | The Faber Book of Opera | Faber | 2000

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Caroline Bergvall | FIG | Salt | 2005

I keep coming back to the Dante Variations, a series of displacements of translations, or translations of displacements, all via the narrow path of the darkly worded OuLiPo. The Variations look at first like a work you don't really need to read all the way through—though they turn out to be not only compulsively readable but entirely unexcerptable.

Mónica de la Torre | Sound Systems | Switchback | 2007

Eclectic sampler of sounds, both found and scored, into the array of systems that make language audible—systems in which genres, voices and contexts are organized to construct identifiable selves. With an understated mastery of forms and a wicked intelligence, de la Torre is always one step ahead of the reader, but the poems always have the good manners not to point that out.

Johanna Drucker | From Now | Cuneiform | 2005

The political made personal, as the visual hailing of news headlines and commercial advertising attracts the attention of the lived present—warping the subjectivities that recognize and resist their interpellation. Expertly typeset, Drucker's design makes the real agenda of the book clear. File under poetry, memoir, cultural studies, feminist theory, artists books, and current events (where current is a measure of electricity).

Kenneth Goldsmith | Traffic | Make Now | 2007

The most unoriginal book I've read in years. Goldsmith provides a 21st-Century sequel to Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend, with all the audacity, formal bravura, tedium, and blistering critique of the original.

Bill Kennedy and Darren Wershler-Henry | Apostrophe | ECW | 2006

The best “digital poetry” yet written, even in its book format: a project that spiders its way to the heart of the web and captures the logic of new media. Chilling and ridiculous, this is the poetic version of the Bush administration's culture of unconstitutional surveillance.

Emily McVarish | Flicker | Granary | 2005

In terms of engagement with a text's modes of production, this is the smartest artists book I've ever seen; McVarish brings the logic of the digital to the craft of letterpress with a brilliant (literal) twist. A work of absolute genius.

Helen Mirra | Cloud, the, 3 | Christoph Keller | 2007

Philosophical lyricism tracing the points at which the most specific and minute particulars of a book open onto the most metaphysical abstractions. Be sure to consult the index.

Thomas Pynchon | Against the Day | Penguin | 2006

Anarchists, Mormons, and the wild west of conspiracy. I've only read a few hundred pages, but the paragraph on Queen Victoria's philatelic time-warp is worth the whole thing.

Jordan Scott | blert | Coach House | 2007, forthcoming

What do marine mammals, neurotoxins, glacial geology, human skeletal anatomy and small rocks have in common?

Tyrone Williams | on spec | Omnidawn | 2008, forthcoming

A map of the social space of language described by the chance intersection of disparate planes of idiom and vernacular. Williams pursues an eshuneutics (interpretation from the perspective of the Yoruba trickster), or what Jacques Derrida would identify as the "+ex effect."

John Barton Wolgamot | In Sara, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven There Were Men and Women | privately printed, but available as liner notes to the eponymous Lovely Music CD LCD-4921 (2003) | 1944

I'd always assumed that Keith Waldrop had fabricated Wolgamot as a kind of avant-garde prank, but research in the special collections at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore confirms that Wolgamot was the real deal: an outsider genius.

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Meg Bogin | The Women Troubadours | Paddington Press | 1976

The only history and anthology of the group of women troubadours who flourished in a particular region of France in the 12th century. Full of lessons about the intertwining of politics, power, and poetry.

James Fenton | The Strength of Poetry | Farrar | 2002

A collection of essays centered primarily around a perception of poetry as the marking of territory. It’s an entertaining and often apt lens. The essay on Marianne Moore, centered on her youth and aiming to redefine her as a poet in her youth, is particularly useful.

Hoa Nguyen | Red Juice | Effing | 2005

Poems at once grounded and disjoint--and exacting in their acceptance of the dynamic between those patterns.

Starhawk | Dreaming the Dark: Magic, Sex and Politics | Beacon | 1997

This classic text of neopaganism offers much for a poet to consider about embodied metaphors, tangible realizations of the doctrine of correspondences, the poetics of environment, and how to keep verbal energies rooted in a sustainable world.

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Charles Alexander | Certain Slants | Junction | 2007

William Fuller | Watchword | Flood | 2006

Andrew Joron | The Cry at Zero | Counterpath | 2007

Karen Kelley | Mysterious Peripheries | Singing Horse | 2006

Laura Moriarty | Ultravioleta | Atelos | 2006

Jennifer Moxley | The Line | Post-Apollo | 2007

Alice Notley | Alma, or The Dead Women | Granary | 2006

Maggie O’Sullivan | Body of Work | Reality Street | 2006

Bob Perelman | Iflife | Roof | 2006

Tom Raworth | Caller and Other Pieces | Edge | 2007

Craig Watson | Secret Histories | Burning Deck | 2007

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Jasper Bernes | Starsdown | ingirumimusnocteetconnsumimurigni | 2007
Kevin Davies | The Golden Age of Paraphernalia | Edge | 2007

The way a street is part of a neighborhood and part of a quarter; part of a district and of a geofeature and part of a city. So a person can say I live near Etienne du Mont. I live on the contrescarpe, live in the 5th. I live on Montagne Ste-Genevieve. Live on the left bank. Paris is not a good comparison for Kevin’s new book; maybe nothing is for now, as I’m not sure I get the structure. But I think there are passages that are part of poems but also part of other overlapping poems that coexist at a different scale. Each center is several centers and none. I get an almost entirely different and sometimes englamored sense of place. Maybe LA is a better analog, but as Jasper’s book makes clear, that raises a whole nother set of ideas and problems for the reader/navigator. Sprawl poetics. It remains one of the great thought experiments, regarding the United States, to imagine whether Los Angeles is late in the evolutionary arc of cities or early in the evolutionary arc of the internet. Either way Kevin and Jasper (and Paris and Los Angeles) know perfectly well that neither of these is meaningfully “decentered” unless one cheerfully ignores the gravity of capital.

Ann Boyer | The Romance of the Happy Workers | Coffee House | 2007

I have trouble squaring Anne’s insistent support of the messy and unrefined and so on with this bunch of poems. I find this a very elegant book. In a good way.

Manu Chao | La Radiolina | Because Music | 2007
M.I.A. | Kala | XL Recordings | 2007

There was a time not so distant when “world music” meant denatured reggae and Graceland and Gipsy Kings. It was legitimately the worst genre one heard aside from music accompanying meditation, yoga classes, or getting a massage. It was actually the same as music accompanying meditation, yoga classes, or getting a massage, and in the United States is was more or less proper to the same classes of people. Even the juju guitar of Africa was insanely cheerful, and I do mean insanely; that King Sonny Ade was a Western hipster way of knowing about Africa is no better nor worse than Paul Simon resuscitating his career on the backs of Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Two decades after WOMAD, world music is the most interesting music you can hear in the US. It is trying really hard not to be dinner-party music. It is trying hard to track something like the truth of the big circulation: not an importation of the upbeat exotic, but a series of moments during which an initial kernel, itself perhaps US-based (Kala starts with Jonathan Richman’s “Roadrunner”!) becomes encrusted with other sounds and meanings as it shifts and sways through the global space of flows, eventually returning to us as energetic, stateless and near-formless, and provisionally nightmarish. But we know, finally, that it is *return*; that our actions are the big warp of the global cultural fabric, and that when they return in fantastical forms they are not alien to us. They are not anything as simple as a verdict but they concern us, they are connected to us, our thinking and our thoughtlessness are inside them, are layers of them. And in this regard such musics have a way to take the measure of 9/11, and the global circulation which provides a history for those events, that we do not.

Francis Fukuyama | The End of History and the Last Man | Free Press | 1994
William Gibson | Spook Country | Penguin Putnam | 2007

Fukuyama, without himself knowing it, meant “the end historical thought” rather than his title; this is by now so obvious that it’s scarcely worth mocking him. In many ways the historical thought he loses the ability to think concerns the Cold War, and geopolitics as an expression of material forces; the “end” is the end of global ideological conflict. But the other end that seems to have haunted his thought, without coming out into the light, is much-bruited end of the traditional industrial form of economy, and the propositional shift to “post-industrial” or service economy, or one of finance+speculative capital. That, however, would have required an empiricism Fukuyama wasn’t quite up for. This shift, allegorized as the shift to an “information economy,” has been Gibson’s great topic since Neuromancer. Though he’ll never recapture the intensity of that historical moment (or at least the anxiety around same) as we come increasingly farther from the pivot of the Seventies, he’s still thinking (in increasingly serious and theoretically informed ways) about the matter — and somehow this has lead him to resemble, increasingly, Don DeLillo (albeit a DeLillo who can’t resist ending books with some version of an action sequence). It may even be that he has seen a truth inside DeLillo that has gone largely unrecognized...

Wong Kar-Wai | My Blueberry Nights | Studio Canal | 2007

Wong Kar-Wai is probably my favorite artist currently working at his best; he certainly haunts my poems recently more than any writers besides maybe O’Hara and Apollinaire. I’m pretty certain however that My Blueberry Nights is bad if not awful, enough so to shatter my intense attachment to Wong. I say “pretty certain” because I haven’t actually seen it. I can’t bring myself to see the film and risk such shatteration. Thus I know I still love art.

Juliana Spahr | The Transformation | Atelos | 2007
Fredric Jameson | The Modernist Papers | Verso | 2007

One of the many things I love about The Transformation is the extent to which it fearlessly and scrupulously takes on the relation of poetry and the political--as an edge effect that happens in humans, humans who live in edges, edges which turn out to be everywhere--without proposing a solution or proposing that there is a solution besides attention. Already-famously, she worries (and it must be said affectionately rebukes) the insistent poetics of “fragmentation, quotation, disruption, disjunction, agrammatical syntax and so on” that came to characterize the generation under which she came of age as a poet, and came to be the proposed channel through which the poetic could act on the political. The introduction to Jameson’s new book should be a parallel critique of this history, given his long-standing commitment to thinking “The Poetics of Social Form” and his sense of the ongoing necessity of systemic thought. His introduction is titled “The Poetics of Totality,” and he should be the single most eloquent articulator of that idea. But he largely declines to overcome the five-fold failure of Marxist critics to read sufficiently the particulars of poems, a hesitancy which cedes the territory of specifically attentive and descriptive poetics to more conservative critics, as a general rule. I do not believe this is a problem that inheres to the Marxist analytic. A lot of it has to do, I fear, with laziness. I get that.

Rankine and Sewell, eds. | New American Poetry | Wesleyan | 2007

Is this really how you make a canon? I do not ask that with any judgment at all; I’m just curious.

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Jasper Bernes | Starsdown | Ingirumimusnocteetconsumimurigni | 2007

Not sure if I copied down the name of the press correctly, but you get the idea! When I read Jasper Bernes’ book I thought of a few other marvelous books that were sort of “about” the same thing, Barbara Guest’s The Confetti Trees (1999) and Standard Schaefer’s Water and Power (2005), books about constructing California as an extension of the Weimar Republic. Here there’s something of an Ed Ruscha quality about his bleak, bleary view of our Golden State, like the mortuary assistant lifting one of William Holden’s dead bloodshot eyes in the opening scene of Sunset Boulevard. And yet Ruscha, wonderful as he is, and with such a gift for language, is stingy compared to Jasper Bernes who just goes on and on and on until he can almost be sure his point has been made. In one sequence, “Promissory Notes,” a stand-in called “Henry,” has the sort of adventures Bruce Wagner specializes in while on facing pages Bernes has whited out the “Pay to the Order of” spaces on a series of bank checks and written a serial poem. The book is filled with such exotic, inspired, feathery gestures, it’s an aviary under two covers.

Monica Fauble | To Place Two Palms Together | n.p., “Philadelphia” | 2006

Just the kind of book I enjoy the most, one that jumps out at you without warning! I didn’t mean a putdown by writing “n.p.” in the space for “press,” I’m just used to it, but I don’t mean to imply Philadelphia is “no place.” Indeed that’s one theme of Monica Fauble’s tightly wound, springy hand puppet of a book, that while people may put you down for living in such a place, it’s time to show pride. “Kevin [Davies I wonder?] congratulates me/ for coming   one step closer/ to inhabiting     a major city.” Fauble is generous in image and in sense, and from page one I fell into a sort of stride that became a need for her as she described Ohio as a :”hungry mouth, a state with an appetite,/ a state with a smile/ sitting on its side.” The lines sit over here, then over there, in projective form, jumping off when they want to, in homage to WC Williams sometimes, to Julia Child at another. “I might be/ a very bad/ Buddhist/ / but I     am an excellent/ ice skater.” I am seriously underdescribing a book of real charm, imagination and technique, but I’m freaking out I tell you!

Nada Gordon | Folly | Roof | 2007

The richly colored cover image, of a troupe of entertainers nursing broken hearts (or is that just me), gives an idea of the performative and just plain frisky fun of Nada Gordon’s first book with New York’s estimable Roof Books. She has a peculiar sensitivity to the minds of animals (two small dogs anchor the carnival of circus souls) and it shows through in many of her best individual poems. She explains the structure of her book in a piece called “A Conversation,” claiming to follow Erasmus’ original but chopping and changing to fit today and its new globalized superbrand of folly, for today it’s folly “to (not) put your finger in the violet fire/ to view . . . style as if . . . it were some great beast/ moving away from the impurities of being/ . . . / to think we are alone/ to even go there.” I try to resist the urge to quote and quote from Gordon’s book, not because each line is so lovely, though many are, but just to give an idea of the complexity of the process here. Again I feel like I understand the book better than I do the blurbs—don’t you find that happening more and more nowadays?

Reg Johanson | Courage, My Love | LINEbooks, Burnaby BC | 2006

Aaron Vidaver smuggled this book across the border to me when he visited us here in San Francisco this spring, and ever since I’ve been mulling it over, again amazed how some Canadian poets seem to be able to put it all together in a way not many of us here in benighted California can. Maybe it’s in the water? Anyhow you know how great Kevin Davies is, his abrupt address, his inventive rhythms, his social acuity—now picture sort of a simpler Kevin Davies, one your gym teacher might understand. Johanson’s book strikes me as successful in everything he tries, and his gift for the longer, near-serial poem is undeniable. I’ve rarely read anything as lacerating, as self-loathing, as the abjections of “Chips,” nor anything as crazy funny as Johanson’s one liners on sex, drink, the Eagles, class and money in the essential “New Country.”

Tim Peterson | Since I Moved In | Chax | 2007

At first I couldn’t make out what Peterson was trying to do with his work, which seemed to me needlessly obscure and pragmatic. It took me a few spins, to finally, finally to hear the work in a way I hadn’t before. In the back of my head my earlier judgment still clouds my enlightenment, and I still think that perhaps Tim Peterson, talented as he is, still hasn’t come to the total mashup of tenor and vehicle his amazingly ambitious poetry is seeking. But in the meantime what we have, in SINCE I MOVED IN, is really arresting. What works for me is Peterson’s shifting, biomorphic forms that seem particularly sensitive to their own changing moods, as though heavily seasoned with chlorophyll, so that the longer poems, like the incandescent opener “Trans Figures,” tend to be the best, their longer bodies more responsive to the sunlight of his wit, imagination and social passion. In this way the book seems to me to particularly honor the name of the late Gil Ott (for it won the “Gil Ott Award” this past year), for he too was at his best when his poems started to unroll like ribbons from a maypole, or documentary film of a strike.

Michelle Naka Pierce | Beloved Integer | Bootstrap / PUB LUSH | 2007
Chris Pusateri | North of There | Dusie | 2007

An unusual concatenation of books brings me this package in the mail from writers I don’t know, and here it is, one book by her, one by him, his is a little tiny thing from Susana Gardner’s Dusie Press, and hers is a sizable book, small in relation to say, I don’t know, whatever Alice Notley is writing this morning, but it dwarfs his so you put the two one in each hand, and pretend you’re Libra, weighing the scales, and you would think, if these books were written in relation to each other, as advertised, projects to help alleviate the pain of separation between lovers, then does she miss him more because she wrote more? Or is it a publishing thing I wonder! In any case Pusateri’s ten little prose poems are condensed down to the size of fingerprints, and yet like fingerprints they reveal everything about the man. He’s just like me, he can’t stand to be alone. Pierce’s beautifully measured notes on absence and longing and sublimation manage to make manifest the distance between Boulder and Seattle, it could be any 997 miles and any two lovers. Something about this topic seems to have brought out the best in these two poets, as it did in a similar project I remember, the Swoon of Gary Sullivan and Nada (Folly) Gordon.

Michael Scharf | For Kid Rock   Total Freedom | Spectacular Books | 2007

We put on “Antigone” at Small Press Traffic a few years back as part of an annual Poets Theater festival in which poets new to the stage were asked to create a ten minute play. Stacy Doris and I played two characters whom I directed to represent Creon and Antigone, in classic Grecian togas or whatever, giving everything, and I mean everything, to Scharf’s curiously clipped dialogue--sentences broken in two, swallowed up, words like “but” showing up on the page as “bu” em-dash. I took it to mean that the horror of what was happening and what was being said was forcing these characters into vomiting into their own mouths and preventing them from finishing a sentence. After this brilliant beginning, where is there for “FKRTF” to go? Well, I too was surprised! There are four other sections, each one on a different scale and turning to a different spatial plane of the political economy. In a “country built on plunder” where do we find the total freedom the title alludes to? Scharf has this sardonic, hangdog wit that bites and stings, and in another avatar, this exquisite, lyric presence: “I think ‘Monsanto’ every time I take a shower,” he writes, “and get the greasy slick Asimov imagined for the moon.”

Dana Ward | The Wrong Tree | Dusie | 2007

Here I am praising another book by Dusie Press, anyone would think they pay me to do so, well in this case.... Dana Ward’s “Wrong Tree” looks like one of the Edward Eager books I grew up with, the illustrations by N.M. Bodecker whom I firmly believed, when I was 8, to be the greatest artist alive bar Picasso. Ward’s book is built up on reversals, reactions, responses, the sudden shock of looking into a mirror when you don’t expect to see one. George Stanley’s memorial poem “Vera Cruz” Dana Ward turns into one called “Verisign,” and the poet wishes his father had lived to see the internet, had “joined a cabal of anarcho cyber-punks.” He takes apart the inner springs and screws of Holderlin’s “Das Froehliche Leben,” throwing out articles and referents like so much extra ballast above a distant, lovely meadow. Washington DC poet Buck Downs, SF Bay Area poet Brandon Brown receive pleasing homages, while Paris Hilton and the late Anna Nicole Smith step on the capes Ward throws down in the gutter mud for them to float across. And for Alice Notley Ward knocks at the spectral panes of her greenhouse world vision to show us, “How Spring Leaves” (after her 1982 volume How Spring Comes).

Hannah Weiner, ed. Patrick F. Durgin | Hannah Weiner’s Open House | Kenning | 2007
John Wieners, ed. Michael Carr | A Book of Prophecies | Bootstrap | 2007

Well, who’s your favorite? I don’t mean choosing between these two poets, but in general? Who did you really like who’s gone now? Betcha that, if you went into the archives as did Durgin and Carr, you’d find a book, unpublished during your favorite’s lifetime, and I bet you could find a publisher for it, if you reall had a passion for your hero! There’s so much archival material out there, and the tragic thing is publishers don’t see the gold at the end of the rainbow when it comes to printing the work of dead poets because, well, because the poets in question aren’t out there promoting the book themselves and forcing course adoption onto their “students.” And yet here are Weiner, and Wieners, two poets who will be eternally confused (as perhaps they should be), with new books that are among the best of the year. It is like some sort of miracle, especially that they are so excellent one wonders what are the chances that you yourself, perhaps a poet of the current time, have let your best work go unpublished, it’s just sitting there, you can’t find someone to put out the good stuff but they’ll go for the secondrate loud stuff that got you your MFA.

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Rae Armantrout | “Promise,” fr. Next Life | Wesleyan UP | 2007

Cindy Bullens | “Box of Broken Hearts,” fr. Dream #29 | Blue Lobster Records | 2005

Toby Cecchini | pages 1-3, fr. Cosmopolitan: A Bartender’s Life | Broadway Books | 2003

PJ Harvey | “Wang Dang Doodle,” fr. Peel Sessions | Island Records | 2006

Ange Mlinko | “Brooklyn English,” fr. The Children’s Museum | Prefontaine | 2007

The National | “Start a War,” fr. Boxer | Beggars Banquet Records | 2007

Karl Parker | “Afterword,” fr. Harmstorm | Lame House | 2006

Julie Roberts | “Chasin’ Whiskey,” fr. Men & Mascara | Mercury Records | 2006

Jaime Saenz | The Night | Princeton UP | 2007

Wallace Stevens | “The Dove in Spring,” fr. Collected Poetry and Prose | Library of America | 1997

Jane and Louise Wilson | Stasi City | Video installation | 1997

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