A product of Third Factory


Arthur Vogelsang | Cities and Towns | Massachusetts | 1996

Eugenijus Alisanka | City of Ash | Northwestern | 2000

Gertrude Stein | The First Reader and Three Plays | Houghton Mifflin | 1948

Gunter Grass | In the Egg and Other Poems | Harvest/HBJ | 1977

Richard Siken  | Crush | Yale | 2005

Juliana Spahr | The Transformation | Atelos | 2007

Gabrielle Calvocoressi | The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart | Persea | 2005

Jacques Roubaud, trans. Keith and Rosemarie Waldrop | The Form of a City Changes Faster, Alas, than the Human Heart | Dalkey | 2006

Guilllaume Apollinaire, trans. Donald Revell | The Self Dismembered Man | Wesleyan  | 2004

Peggy O’Brien, ed. | The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry: 1967-2000 | Wake Forest | 1999

Karen Z. Sproles | Desiring Women: The Partnership of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West | Toronto | 2006

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Foreign Born | On the Wing Now | Dim Mak | 2007

Epic ambient rock for folks who hate the Arcade Fire. My favorite song of the year, “Union Hall,” and at least two more in my top ten are on this album by my friend Matt’s band. They also played the best live show I saw this year. I sometimes listen to this when I write.

William Bronk | Selected Poems | New Directions | 1995

I don’t know how neglected Bronk actually is, but it seems his best poems deserve much more attention. They’ve changed the way I think within my work. He can somehow feature the word “world” in every poem and make it seem new most of the time, and he’s able to finish with both resolve and openness. “To explain / is possible.”

Joseph Ceravolo | Transmigration Solo | Toothpaste | 1979

I found this in a used bookstore a few years ago, and I felt extremely lucky, having heard the constant and loud murmurs about Ceravolo. I re-read it this year as I prepared to move to Mexico and discovered that it’s still one of my favorite collections.

Frank Conroy | Stop-Time | Penguin | 1974

People have been telling me to read this for years. I’d read Conroy’s stories, but I avoid childhood memoirs. I’m glad I finally read this. I think it’s very delicate. Also, this book allowed me access to aspects of my own childhood that I couldn’t get at until I read it, and imagine mid-century New York in a different way.

Edmond Jabès | Desire for a Beginning/Dread of One Single End | Granary | 2001

I find it almost impossible to write after reading Jabès, but then there is nothing else I want to do.

Cate Marvin | Fragment of the Head of a Queen | Sarabande | 2007

The second book by one of the most brutal and poignant poets I know.

Dunya Mikhail | The War Works Hard | New Directions | 2005

It’s easy to lose track of the reality war as one complains about it. This book reminded me that there’s way more to lament than my unwilling complicity and my government’s unlawfulness.

W.G. Sebald | On the Natural History of Destruction | Modern Library | 2004

A tiring, gruesome, and sad examination of the psychological spoils of war.

Frederick Seidel | Ooga-Booga | Farrar | 2006

I think of this book every time I walk by the coffin store on my street. I like it as a coda to The Cosmos Poems, although it’s better than The Cosmos Poems.

William Shakespeare | The Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint | Penguin | 2000

I’m writing sonnets, so is my best friend. Donne’s may be better, but Shakespeare’s are more fun.

Lynn Xu | June | Corollary | 2006

We published some of what is in this gorgeous chapbook in The Canary a few years ago, before I knew Lynn. About a year ago, she sent me this chapbook. Then we fell in love.  Needless to say, this is the most engaging title on my list.

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Vito Acconci and Bernadette Mayer, eds. | 0 to 9: The Complete Magazine 1967-1969 | Ugly Duckling | 2006

Rae Armantrout | Selected Prose | Singing Horse | 2007

Herman Cappellen and Ernest Lepore | Insensitive Semantics: A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism | Blackwell | 2005

Octavian Esanu | JFP: What Does ‘Why’ Mean? | J&L | 2007

Robert Fitterman and Dirk Rowntree | War, the musical | Subpress | 2006

Brad Flis | from Dada Apres Prada II | in 1913: A Journal of Forms 2 | 2005

Linton Kwesi Johnson | Mi Revalueshanary Fren | Ausable | 2006

Jacques Rancierre (trans. Emiliano Battista) | Film Fables | Berg | 2006

Jacqueline Waters | The Garden of Eden a College | A Rest | 2004

Diane Ward | Flim-Yoked Scrim | Factory School | 2006

Max Winter | The Pictures | Tarpaulin Sky | 2007


Other works/events I can’t leave unmentioned:

ICP feat. George Lewis | live at Tonic | Apr. 5, 2007

La Commune | dir. Peter Watkins | 2000

Out 1 | dir. Jacques Rivette | 1972

Professional Sweetheart | dir. William E. Seiter | 1933

Scritti Politti | live at Bowery Ballroom/Sound Fix | Nov. 11-12, 2006

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Jacques Ranciere | The Future of the Image | Verso | 2007

Andrew Mossin | The Presence of Their Passing | Unpublished ms. | 2007

Kristin Prevallet | I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time | Essay | 2007

Andrew Joron | The Cry at Zero: Selected Prose | Counterpath | 2007

Ariana Reines | The Cow | Fence | 2006

Inger Christensen | It | New Directions | 2006

Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Blue Studios: Poetry and Its Cultural Work | Alabama | 2006

Claudia Rankine | Don’t Let Me Be Lonely; An American Lyric | Graywolf | 2004

Nicole Brossard | Picture Theory | Guernica | 1991

Charles Reznikoff | Testimony: The United State 1891-1900: Recitative | Private | 1968

Charles Reznikoff | Testimony: The United State 1885-1890 | New Directions | 1965

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A. R. Ammons | various collections

OK, I get it now. As with Stevens, there’s a single trick from which all else flows, a complex trick so close to the workings of experience as to make the endless variations interesting. The words are a motion of particles whose complex dynamic produces a shape in the mind, a dream of essential meaning from which we wake, again and again, to a nature recalcitrantly other. Most marvelous of all: that the poems prefer waking to dreaming.

Stan Apps | Info Ration | Make Now | 2007

“Matter of fact” is an attitude, a judgment, a world view; the world itself is “matter” of fact. Rendered as language, all that matters becomes indistinguishable from all that doesn’t matter. Hence the need for attitude, judment, world view. Which makes it all manageable, if not exactly meaningful.

Santo Calì | Mara Sgamìrria | Niccolò Giannotta Editore | 1967

Now here’s a book I can’t quite say I’ve read, but which definitely absorbed my attention. Sicilian translations from the Palatine anthology (and twenty-four more from Catullus), some of them adaptations, with brief notes in Italian on the poets chosen. A true neglectorino, Calì was founder of the Antigruppo ‘73 and author of well over twenty books, most of them hard to find even in the best libraries. He earned his living as a teacher of classical literature in Lingualossa, the only portion of Sicily where separatism was leftist in orientation (or so I’ve been told). In any case, his claim on the polyglot Greek of such diasporic figures as Meleager and Strato is supported by kinship, politics, erudition—translation as poetic justice! Happily for me, the Palatine verses are easily found in W. R. Paton’s five-volume Loeb Classics edition. There Paton writes, “Much misunderstanding has been caused by people quoting anything from the ‘Greek Anthology’ as specifically ‘Greek.’ We have to deal with three ages almost as widely separated as the Roman conquest, the Saxon conquest, and the Norman conquest of England.” Framed in this way, Paton’s English, like Calì’s Sicilian, becomes a kind of retrospective separatism—a separatism functionally identical to embrace. So here’s to the Palatine anthology—may it always be read in translation! In solidarity with all other postcolonial “Greeks.”

Allison Cobb | Green-Wood | Unpublished ms. in process, portions read at the University of Maine | spring 2007

In Cobb’s Green-Wood, compassion serves as method, the dead surrender to history, and history survives as nature—at least within the iron gates.

Katie Degentesh | The Anger Scale | Combo | 2006

Flarf is like a pilot light; it can go out, but a spark will bring it back—as this one did when the fumes were especially strong. A flash of inspiration, a roar, and then a flame, licking out from underneath the pan.

Beppe Fenoglio | Epigrammi | Ed. Gabriele Pedulla | Einaudi | 2005

Part I, Claudius, part Spoon River Anthology, these faux-classical epigrams won an actual posterity—Fenoglio’s last laugh on those who had their doubts:


That a man could get pregnant
You might believe, dear Vitruvius, but not
That these meager epigrams
Earn me a little scratch from the editor.

Not tombstone inscription, but graffiti; not inspired speech, but backtalk and gossip. From a novelist who died in 1963, at age 40.

Laura (Riding) Jackson, ed. John Nolan | The Failure of Poetry, The Promise of Language | Michigan | 2007

There’s a book I haven’t read that retells the story of the Wizard of Oz, but from the witch’s point of view. I’ll bet anything, though, that this one leaves that one in the dust.

Harry Partch, ed. Thomas McGeary | Bitter Music: Collected Journals, Essays, Introductions, and Librettos | Illinois | 2000

I admire John Cage, but his whimsical purity makes me feel a twinge of embarrassment for my seriousness and vulgarity. Harry Partch is the antidote. It helps, of course, that his “Bitter Music” is the most impressive long poem written in English during the Great Depression. A prose-poetry hybrid for voice and piano, it connects the dots between Leaves of Grass and Behind the State Capital, Carl Sandburg and Tracie Morris.

Ron Silliman | The Age of Huts | California | 2007

Utopia has no capital; great cities arise whenever books like this one are written.

Hannah Weiner, ed. Patrick F. Durgin | Open House | Kenning | 2007

I won’t name names, but the sort of poetry I hate most these days is written in what I think of as the omniscient voice—the voice of all language, all culture—a voice hardened into an impenetrable surface whose carefully maintained textures are not appealing, not inviting, not meaningful, not helpful. Not to me. Others, of course, go gaga for it. But I misstate things when I say “all language, all culture,” for the impression of omniscience depends precisely on the exclusion of language that allows for embarrassment, stupidity, simplicity, banality, conventionality, confession. Hannah Weiner’s writing (its “clairvoyance”) stands as a rebuke to all that. Her linguistic textures are hardly a model of total consciousness. Rather, they map out the wounds in consciousness totality inflicts. As with John Wieners, moreover, there are elements of self-exposure that the radicality of the form welcomes and discloses, even as other possibilities of making meaning are explored. It’s moving! And I’m not ashamed to say, I’m moved most powerfully by those aspects of the writing a more “rigorous” poet would have edited out.

John Wieners, ed. Michael Carr | A Book of Prophecies | Bootstrap | 2007

A casual beauty grown more meaningful in disarray, like a great dancer after a stroke, eating alone at home: imperfectly coordinated, but careful, elegant, undeterred.

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Eight New Chapbooks to Pick Up, Open, Close, Open and Close Again, Place on the Desk, and Then Pick Up Again (in no particular order // with special emphasis on book production):

Joel Felix and Wallace Whitney | Monaural | Answer Tag | Chicago | 2007

This book is sort of ridiculously elegant. David Pavelich’s execution sends printers back to the shop in droves with a new found energy and a little bit of envy. Really a perfect realization of a satisfying collaborative work.

Ange Mlinko | The Children’s Museum | Prefontaine | New York | 2007

Another fantastic guerilla publication from Ryan Murphy’s one-off project. The press names get better and better, and the design gets more and more complicated.

Brian Mornar | Repatterning | Punch | Buffalo | 2007

Mornar’s first chapbook makes me wish I discovered his work late, so that, by the time I read Repatterning, the rest of the (better- informed) world could have printed massive amounts of his poetry for me to consume the moment I put this one down. This is Rich Owens’ first chapbook under the Punch Press imprint, a satellite of his fantastic magazine Damn the Caesars, and the work here signals serious future contributions.

Lewis Warsh | The Flea Market in Kiel | The Rest | 2006

Patrick Masterson’s bookwork is just so damn careful and smart. I spend most of my time with his projects in awe of his technical skill. The kind of printer every poet courts.

Ted Greenwald and Hal Saulson | Two Wrongs | Cuneiform | Brooklyn | 2007

A masterwork by a master craftsman, Kyle Schlesinger makes printing look so easy. Part of me wishes I found this metallic silver coverstock before he did, but the other part knows he used it way better than I would’ve! A nice big book with lots of space to frame Saulson’s line drawings and Greenwald’s little stanzas. And, in my opinion, this is the best Greenwald in years.

Hoa Nguyen, Carter Smith, and Andrea Strudensky | Dos Books #1 | Dos Books | Austin | 2007

C.J. Martin and Julia Drescher took on a serious project for their first foray into bookmaking, and they pull it off with grace. Three authors, two spines, one book, this first chapbook is just as fun to hold as it is to read. Intricate design work and a stellar list of poets (especially Strudensky, whose work here HOLDS). And these books just arrive in the mail. Like presents.

Michelle Taransky and Richard Taransky | The Plans Caution | Queue | Buffalo | 2007

This one’s hot off the press, and promises to draw a lot of attention to this new chapbook offshoot of the magazine P-Queue. Andrew Rippeon’s first project at the helm of a Vandercook, and he pulls it off with aplomb. Another collaboration, this between a poet and her architect father, The Plans Caution announces a really important new press working primarily with collaborative pairings. Very impressive.

Karen Weiser | Pitching Woo | Cy | Cincinnati | 2006

Dana Ward, through his Cy Press imprint, never fails to make books completely “themselves,” as if they could not exist in the world otherwise. This one’s simple and elegant and bears his mark from the binding to the vellum. A great example of how to make a book with the resources at hand.

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Sticking with poetry here:

Laynie Browne | Daily Sonnets | Counterpath | 2007

Who else is rocking the Two-Fourteenths Sonnet? (“This undressing at security checkpoints / Would never have gone over with the Victorians.”) Laynie’s small essay at the end of the book, “The Permeable ‘I’, A Practice” names this work “a collaborative experiment in time” and maybe I’m being extravagant but I don’t think there’s anything kept outside these poems. They are radically unprotected is another way to say it. There’s repetition of address, and moments where the weave gets tight, but one moment never exerts its desire on the others, or maybe I mean they do, the moments, all the contingencies felt in their particulars. The space is collapsed but distinct?

Brent Cunningham | Bird & Forest | Ugly Duckling | 2005

Re-reading this, probably not for the last time.Watch for Bird & Forest on my attention span list in 2010 or something. Just now, slavishly re-devoted to the title sequence. And somehow, the first time around, I couldn’t see the book’s lyric opening for the oratory of its first section: “raised to unburden myself / of pictures.”

Danielle Dutton | Attempts At A Life | Tarpaulin Sky | 2007

Embarrassing but true: I hadn’t read anything written by Danielle Dutton before our reading together in Denver this spring. And then, and then, “Jane Eyre.” Also Joshua Marie Wilkinson’s terrific introduction for Danielle that night, ranging from Lacan to—who? Can’t find my copy of the intro to quote from, which Joshua sent along after I asked, is anyone more generous than poets? Argue if you will but I pre-counter with the stacks of stapled paper and binder-clipped paper and little books all over the floor of my house. Anyways thanks Noah Eli Gordon for the invite to Denver where Danielle’s prose rearranged my face, I mean it hit me, my ears, my mom came with and during Danielle’s reading we turned towards each other in that kind of surprised pleasure distinct to audience reader poets encountering something new together for the first time, which is to say we waggled our eyebrows in a related way, it seems important to note here that she and I my mom I mean have almost no overlapping reading practice so what was it? Danielle reads fast, sure, a piece of daring when applied to the complicated sentences you’ll find here, in rhythmic variation with a shorter, more declarative (devastating) impulse, but that can’t be all of what our bodies registered that night. Maybe it’s something about our particular moment, when Hollywood and everywhere is at the end of its period piece adaptation rope, while poetry! has no dearth of means to engage and argue with the narratives (forms). It’s a lover’s quarrel (discourse), poetry’s luxurious inhabitation of the same space it vandalizes and derails. Friends with roots or currently living in Southern California, Danielle has a novel coming out soon which I think you’ll also want right away, called SPRAWL.

Linda Russo | Mirth | Chax | 2007

The middle section especially, “Remedies of Love.” “Here is love and peace / except that I am wounded / and have no faith. / I want to be taught in the school, / like a scholar, to itemize / my booty, but I’m much too nice to / be bothered and besides / I am wounded / and troubled and / delighted and aroused and appalled.” And that’s not all. I’m still figuring out how to talk about the larger work of this work which has something to do with theater (are blurbs working harder this year? Rodrigo Toscano gets at it on the back cover: “Linda Russo doesn’t so much ‘experiment’ as throw down a viable metrics for every act.” On the subject of working blurbs, witness Dan Bouchard’s magnificent opening sentence re: Jennifer Moxley’s memoir: “The Middle Room is an unguarded and intense captivity narrative of one person’s seizure by Poetry”). Basically I ‘feel’ so close/much (troubled, delighted, aroused, appalled) when reading this book that it’s difficult to be a coherently responsive reader.

Catherine Wagner | Everyone in the room is a representative of the world at large | Bonfire | 2007

For the longest time after AWP in Austin 2006, location of my personal best po-flavored alienation ever, I carried around a notebook with these lines transcribed on the front cover: “A stupid pun can’t end this section. / A stupid cunt can. Bye!” Hearing Cathy read the poem those lines come from, at some bar on some campus in Austin (sorry, Austin, but I was staying downtown in your conference center hotels near whatever that awful party street is called and spent most of my time depressed at the hotel where they were testing the fire alarm system several mornings in a row) anyways hearing Cathy read that poem and others from this chapbook turned out to be the best part of those four days. Also the bats every night, flying over the bridge, or back to the bridge to sleep, the bridge that divides the conference part of the town from another part of town. This chapbook is freaky. It mode-switches at the rate my daily to-do list tends to fall apart. It asks some important questions about violence in a violent tone of voice. Some of these poems are pointedly (ouch) for contemporary poets and poetry scenes. Pointedly for love. “...The honester I get, the / creepier I’ll be.”

Dana Ward | The Wrong Tree | Dusie | 2007

For the singles you’ll have on repeat (Only Zool, For Paris In Prison, Verisign) and everything, impossibly, else: “What I want to be easy can never be easy / I’m sorry I learned the word ‘rose.’”  The stuff here is stuffed. Has the lyric ever been so complicatedly, musically attuned to what’s blunt? I mean blunted? “to call & be answered by / sweater” but also “love’s the / three / to the weak bin / ary the four / to the closed door / of three & / so on.” Sorry for the hyperbole Dana Ward but, Dana Ward!

VA | The Grand Piano | volumes 1-3 | Mode A | 2007

Part 2 hooked me. Carla Harryman’s piece especially. Then Steve Benson and Barrett Watten and Lyn Hejinian in part 3. And what formal intervention will Kit Robinson engage each time around? I keep flipping to the back, perusing that graph showing the sequence of writers and feeling obsessed: how’s it all going to ‘turn out’? Funny to find things like plot become operative in one’s reading space when that’s not really the ‘point’ (the point is more pointed) and despite mostly normative syntax, structure and genre conventions (derailed by a set multiplicity of speakers) much remains unintoned. What’s most interesting shows up in the negative space; what’s made visible is often the submerged. Anyone interested in the bay area, community history and self-presentation should read these.

Heriberto Yepez | Wars. Threesomes. Drafts. & Mothers. | Factory School | 2007

Laura Moriarty, Guillermo Parra and Juliana Spahr have all said smart things on the internet about this book. Everyone agrees it is doing way more than four things simultaneously. I can’t stop reading it. Particularly the page which has a quote about Janusian and Homospatial Process. Laura: “It is self-explanatory and self-annihilating. It seems plain and frontal and yet with a quality of hiddenness.” Guillermo: “As a realist and a polemicist, Yépez never tries to reconcile what Gloria Anzaldúa calls the “open wound” that is the U.S.-Mexico border.... The third figure evoked in the title of this book can be read as the discomfort, the wound, the other that is created by the juncture of two disparate beings.” Juliana: “His work often appears at first to be one thing (an off color story about fucking) and then he turns it into something else (a pointed story about political lineage). Reading his work I frequently realize that he has got me; he has played with my politesse and made a joke of it.”




Other books that have been on my table and in my bag this spring: Anne Boyer, Selected Dreams. Noah Eli Gordon, Inbox. Yvonne Rainer, Feelings are Facts. Tim Peterson, Since I Moved In. Dodie Bellamy, Academonia. Meg Hammill, Death Notices. Bhanu Kapil, Incubation: A Space for Monsters. A ton of Roland Barthes and Alice Notley. Somehow I encountered Catalina Cariaga’s Cultural Evidence late. LRSN’s newest chapbook, The San Francisco Sound. Lytle Shaw’s book on O’Hara and coterie poetics.


Books I’m hearing talked about all over the radar, and looking forward to reading: Jasper Bernes, Starsdown. Michael Scharf, For Kid Rock Total Freedom. Rachel Zolf, Human Resources. Lisa Robertson, The Men, I can’t believe I haven’t read this yet!


While on the subject, Dominique Fourcade’s Xbo, tr. Robert Kocik is on its way in the mail. A page from this has been on the wall by my desk for about a year, courtesy Suzanne Stein, but I’d forgotten its source until Dana Ward asked after it on a recent visit and I had to do some sleuthing. How have I not read the whole book? “Ahead I do not see the poem but shining tracks / nothing but its tracks / The words is-there-no-way cross my mind / To-do-otherwise.”

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