Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Elizabeth Willis

Turneresque and Meteoric Flowers, both by Elizabeth Willis, who (along with Kate Colby), will kick-off the belladonna reading series in just two weeks. And what a kick-off. I've carried Willis's two recent books around for a few weeks now, dipping in, dipping in: there are lines in here so good you simply can't move beyond them without pause. And so you pause:
Such a tree I think is sweeping out this country air... (25)

Idly I turned your name into a kite. (8)

I stain lengthwise all I touch. (5)
For sheer pleasure, for the arch, erotic touch, for the breadth of references packed into each line, I am reminded of Anne Carson, but moreso, Lisa Robertson. And readers will know how fond I am of Lisa Robertson, and of the prose poem in general. Like Robertson, Willis proves my point about its formal flexity (yes, I said flexity), its deceptively simple structures, its lyric capability. Particularly in the era of the autonomous new sentence, as Ron Silliman has suggested, the whole unit shoulder to shoulder, minimal and modern; the one and the many; intimating, stating, inferring, moving the poem along.

The titles of the prose poems are taken from the text of Erasmus Darwin, the text's muse. And what a wonderful thief Willis is, excising gems like "her mossy couch," "grateful as asparagus," "glittering shafts of war," and on and on, each one more gleaming.

As for the lyric interruptions, these also put me in mind of Lisa Robertson--The Weather in particular with its dispatches from "Residence At C___". Robertson reverses the notion of interruption, much like Willis has here, and both to great effect, challenging the notion of ragged right margined poetry, recognizable as couplet, or narrative driven poetry, its tonal sincerity, its accommodating flow.

Here's Willis from "Verses Omitted", the lyrics that punctuate the Cantos of prose poems:
Belimbed as a willow
I'm burning with wingedness
or
I joy to dream
a more fortunate planet
In a review of The Weather I suggested that the more lyric aspects of Robertson's text were the prose lines, not the interruptions. I might not say the same here.

Turneresque
is a perhaps a less precise gem than Meteoric Flowers, but here is a case in which the less polished, or less tucked in nature of the former pleases more than the high-gloss of the latter. There is something "perfect" about Meteoric Flowers. Not a bad fault if one has to have one. But in a time when there is much to say about relative states of completeness, there is an argument here, for a few strings untied. In some ways, Meteoric Flowers is a kind of ode to beauty. There is an edge, of course. But like the boxes of Joseph Cornell--which more than one other reviewer has pointed out--the form is a brilliant container for the disparate objet therein.

There is similar energy in Turneresque with its play on Ted Turner's TV world, and Turner the 19th century landscape painter, and again with its investigations of the prose vs. broken line, but much more edge. Thanks to Penn Sound you can hear Willis read from much of Turneresque, and you can find excerpts online, a sonnet sequence in HOW2, the final sequence of prose poems titled "Drive."

Here is an excerpt from "Elegy" that gets at Willis's ability to "turn," a trick that drives the poems in this collection.
The day I drove

in a driving rain
from realism to impressionism

a moving hillside fooled the town
While a poet might strive for this kind of slight of hand, not many achieve moves with such grace, without showing the string up the sleeve, the clumsy shifts usually caught up in words "like" or "as" or "such" that expose--and not in a good way--metaphor, or metonymic structures.

Ah, the prose poem. So much to be said about the prose poem, the sweet gait that transforms the drone of sentence to the new, the studded engine, escalating from one idea to the next in seconds...but I'm heading off now into thoughts I have no time to clarify...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

South Street, late night


Notes toward an essay on Daphne Marlatt

I’ve been thinking of Daphne Marlatt for while now. Partly because I’ve been thinking of the west coast, because I’m longing to go back there, but also because I’m trying to decide how one might explain, or describe Canadian fiction, and to me, Marlatt is an essential element. Somehow I doubt that many would include her in so-called nationalist anthologies—I’m thinking of the Penguin anthology of writing by Canadian women for example. Marlatt is not of the Alice Munro school, nor the Margaret Laurence school, nor the Atwood school, she can’t be linked to Alistair McLeod, or any of the new schools of fiction we see coming out of UBC (thanks to Linda Svendsen and Keith Mallard), or off the Rock (ie: Michael Winter, Lisa Moore), or even out of Banff (where Marlatt has served as poetry faculty). In fact Marlatt is primarily known as a poet. Her experimental novels are considered “difficult.” Yet, I think of her as primarily a novelist whose poetry might be considered “difficult.” At least I have considered it, at various points in my life, difficult. But for arguments sake I would like my parallel point to stand, and to suggest that Marlatt’s influence, quiet as it might be, is as vital as these others I have mentioned above.

But wait, isn’t Marlatt primarily known as a critical writer? A writer for whom the act of writing, from letters to journals, is a continuation or expansion of her work in the way that Nicole Brossard extends her body into the critical world?

No. In fact, isn’t Marlatt most known as a language writer?

Or, isn’t she primarily known as a feminist/lesbian writer?

Marlatt has an uncanny knack for being at the most interesting crossroads in westcoast literature. Her ties to Duncan/Tallman, her friendships with Fred Wah and George Bowering, her presence at the 1983 West Coast Women and Words Conference, her part in Tessera, her connection to Quebecoise and feminist language writing.

My favorite Marlatt work is Taken, a lyrical novel that gets better I think, with each reading, and depending on the companion reads (I’m a big fan of simultaneous reading). The book goes well with Mrs. Dalloway, for instance, Nicole Brossard, Gail Scott or Cixous, but read along side someone like Annie Ernaux (Le Honte…), reveals the latter’s emotional paucity. Partly this is because each line in Marlatt’s work reverberates with a historical/emotional pulse, not unlike a Woolfian line, while a line from Ernaux becomes brittle, snaps under its own craftedness (not craftiness, though what I want to suggest is the attention to thinking, not “knowing”).

Coming into Marlatt is sudden. She condenses, excises, suggests, leaps, allows for many gaps, many generous readings and space, it is a luxurious pace, Taken. There is something so formal about her writing, something of a delicate timber, and yet its power is clear, its force, clear.

Mysterious strength in these ruptures and formality: like Mrs. Richards in Ana Historic Marlatt “can’t quite escape her own conditioning…” and yet it is this narrative impulse that offers the best chance of untangling, and perhaps that is what is most alluring about Marlatt’s work for me: not the sureness of it, but the sense of a self in a whir of fragmented memories. Aware of disconnect.

Daphne Marlatt was recently awarded the Order of Canada for her contributions to our literature.

Daphne Marlatt was born in Melbourne, Australia and spent her formative years in Penang, Malaysia. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1951. She studied writing and English at the University of British Columbia (B.A., 1964), and comparative literature at Indiana University (M.A., 1968). Marlatt’s work includes numerous published books including: Salvage, Ana Historic, Touch to my Tongue, Steveston and Taken. She is the founding co-editor of Tessera, a magazine that played an important role in sustaining the strong feminist/language discourse in women’s writing in Canada. Marlatt recently wrote The Gull a Noh drama performed in Steveston. Marlatt is a writer whose work resists all categorization.

You can find a good bibliography here.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Louise Bourgeois produces wonderful texts. Not just as accompaniment to her art either. In fact of the four artists responding to Roni Horn's Wonder Water which I posted on here, Bourgeois was perhaps my favorite. She is writy (that's wry & witty), and precise. Very precise. The following is courtesy of notes from the recent show in Philadelphia:
A man and a woman lived together. On one evening he did not come back from work. And she waited. She kept on waiting and she grew littler and littler. Later, a neighbour stopped by out of friendship and there he found her, in the armchair, the size of a pea.
An excerpt from a story written in 1947 and printed in red on a two-hundred and forty-five foot long scarf... I'm wondering the significance of "On one evening" or whether that's just a typo in the show notes.

The thing is I've felt this. And I've seen this happen to women. You find them gathered in storm drains. It's good for drainage actually, the roundness, but that is really not the point. Perhaps this is what makes a feminist?

Jim's Steaks


There is always a line-up a Jim's, and often a car will stop me to ask where this Jim's is. I haven't been, but you can't miss it. Between the line-up, and the scent, which is everywhere. Meat. Grilling meat. Not unpleasant unless you are vegetarian, in which case, well, its very unpleasant. Neighbourhoods have their smells: I've had paper mill, an expressway, McDonald's and Shell, swimming pool and bar. In Vancouver, at the foot of Commercial Drive there is a chicken "processing" plant which stunk up the hood for years. The Lower East Side has similar plants, though I hear they are illegal. Atlantic & Flatbush has its exhaust and sweat, I'm sure of it, human sweat. State Street had pee, human and dog mixed. New Brunswick, New Jersey, home of Johnson & Johnson, has its chemicals: fabric softened rivers, detergent air. One of my old Toronto neighbourhoods was not far from a Cadbury's Chocolate plant which was a better scent I have to say, though earth is by far my favourite neighbourhood smell, or ocean, or vast tracts of cedar and fir...and this morning we have the scent of a garden, still luxuriating in the rough trade applied from a night of dramatic rain. Just think of it, all those ferns bumping up against each other all night long. What must the neighbours think?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Interviews!

Okay, so Kate Greenstreet has a few dozen interviews with first-time book folks by now. Here's one with CAConrad, and here's a slice from the CV2 interview with yours truly.

Brooklyn, Sunday afternoon


Readings in Montreal

The Pilot Reading Series is sponsored by Matrix magazine and features established and emerging writers on the 2nd Sunday of every month at Blizzarts 3956-A St-Laurent Blvd. 8 pm
(For more information on the Pilot Reading Series you can contact jon.fiorention-at-gmail.com
)

The Atwater Poetry Project is curated by
Oana Avasilichioaei and has hosted Phil Hall, Betsy Warland, Di Brandt, Erin Moure, Nicole Brossard, Meredith Quartermain. I'm told there is a website with recordings (as with Test), but I haven't found it. I'll update when I do.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Louise Bourgeois @ The Fabric in Philly

Hey, the Meat Painter, aka Mike Geno, just introduced me to the Fabric Workshop & Museum here in Philly. Wow, great shows by Louise Bourgeois who is 91 now and still so vital. My favorite piece a pair of trousers with...damn it...something like "the phallus is the object of my affection" written across the front. Also a show by local artist Lonnie Graham. Very moving. What is it about portraits? There's just something so affirming in them. I'm also loving the ongoing portrait work of Zoe Strauss whom I first discovered on Flickr, and then at the ICP here...what a great town...oh, and above photo of Bourgeois by the amazing Annie Lebovitz.

Oh, and further to this post: you could probably stand to have a cupcake from here....

And I just got word that there will be a special Zoe Strauss night at the Whitney which you might also want to attend if you are in NYC September 15. See her blog for more informations...

Where I'd rather be this week


I'm reposting this from last year. Same idea though: where I'd rather be. This is north of Whistler (and pre-Whistler mania) on a glacial lake. Too cold to swim, the only smart thing to do is float. Can't remember the name of this lake--near Pemberton. I want to say it's Lilloet Lake...but I doubt it somehow. Wish I were there...

The Library, Haverford

There is a special collection of Quaker poetry and ficiton. Who knew? Can you name a Quaker poet?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Readings in Toronto

I'm wondering why there is not more flow between New York, Philly, Boston, DC, and Toronto. People do email to ask where they should read in various cities and that's often a difficult question--part of reading is a conversation isn't it? So it seems to me that one should read where one thinks one will connect with an audience...but perhaps once again I'm too blunt. In any case, do go to Toronto, and do check out Mark Truscott's Test Reading Series. Where in Montreal?? Someone tell me quick. And I do know that these are not the only two cities in Canada...and I do know that the American cities above are NOT the only cities...readings anyone?

Oh, and do check out the online recordings Mark offers on Test, too.
JESSE HUISKEN and DONATO MANCINI (bios below)
Thursday, August 24, 7:30 p.m.
Toronto Free Gallery (note special location)
660 Queen Street East
Pay what you can ($5 recommended), all of which goes to the readers

Please see the series site (www.testreading.org) for information on and
recordings of past readings featuring Stephen Cain, Margaret
Christakos, Brian Joseph Davis, Jay MillAr, Lisa Robertson, and Rachel
Zolf.

Stay tuned as Test embarks on a special two-month celebration of the
number twenty-three with readings by, among others, Jason Christie
(launching his new book, i-Robot), Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, and
Nathalie Stephens.

Gertrude Stein

Listen to the girls reading History, or Messages from History, plus other selections. Wow! So cool. Check out WBAI and scroll down to the show from 11 am to 12 am on Sunday, August 20th.

Now what?

Yup, that's Maya Deren. Screenshot from At Land, which you can see for yourself. Amazing.

Elizabeth Willis, Meteoric Flowers

From "Glittering Shafts of War"
Lost words are lost boys. Those woods are combing the hair of paradise. You're waking and thinking, an opera of our minor ways: Sweet William, Virginia. What we fear in fearlessness turns over the table. You don't blame the lamp for what you cannot read, the fire in the match not struck.
Baudelaire and Darwin meet in Willis' prose poems. Wonderful syntactic and semantic leaps. They remind a little of Anne Carson's Short Talks, a favorite of yours truly. The sentence, I love the sentence...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Reading at Mollys Books




My first Philly event as a bonafide Philly person. Friends, including Molly herself, read work by Bob Gallagher, a local writer who passed away very recently. Brandon Holmquest (above) read a wonderful essay about the Mutter Museum which intrigued, but only in the abstract: I don't want to go but I enjoyed hearing his account. The young poet Laura Jaramillo read a complex and nuanced work responding to Benjamin's Aracades Project with a little help from a friend (also above). And there was the cat, and then there was the floor, both quite stunning.

Craig Allen Conrad

Found this poem on Silliman with a lengthy review of Deviant Propulsion by CAConrad, one of the Philly folk I'm looking forward to meeting in person. Jordan Davis says this is about as close to "living verse" as you'll find this year, and I have to agree. Terrific energy.

It's True I Tell Ya

My Father Is a 50¢
Party Balloon

my father paper thin
lost on the basement floor

but who will put their lips
to his stiff old hard-on?
who will blow him up?
who will want this
man floating
stupid
stuck in
a tree again?

Calgary Blow-Out

Wow, wow, wow. Check out the Calgargy line-up: Jordan Scott, Jonathan Ball, ryan fitzpatrick, Natalie Simpson, Natalee Caple, Natalie Walschots, Rajinderpal S. Pal, Melanie Little, Christian Bok, Neil Scott, Jason Christie, Jessica Grant...What a vibrant community.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quote of the week

"think in language not about it"
Joshua Corey, from Composition Marble.


Philly has books

Yes, Philly has books. And plenty of them. You can tell a little something about the place you're in by the books in a given number of used book stores. The shelves in Mollys Books in the Italian Market offer some great poetry. You've got your CK Williams and your Rumi (though I didn't notice any Mary Oliver and she's usually a staple...), but you'll also find Zukovsky, Pound, Williams, Bernstein, Silliman, Waldman, Welish, Olson, Howe, more Olson, and poetics, lots and lots of poetics. I found a copy of Rae Armantrout's Made to Seem. Here is a snippet from "Next":

Dreamed I doubted what I heard.

Dreamed what was called
mannish, wasn't.

Dreamed there was trouble,
about a drawer, about understanding
its contents.

Dreamed I was rummaging
through the top drawer
of Maonna's bureau,
searching for a claim check.

Hey, everybody needs somewhere
in which to present
the drama of their limitation.

Is it upcoming?

Is it collapsing?

Will something
double for it?

Philly, it seems, has everything a girl needs and more. As for Armantrout, just when I was beginning to doubt the use of line breaks, here she is with chisel in hand going down the page, notch, notch, notch.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Go Canada! Go United Church.

Here, here! I have always been concerned about this whole bottled water thing...

Joshua Corey


Stopped off for lunch at the Moosewood, in Ithaca, which was everything you would expect, and, well, I'll be back. What a great town, too. Is it limestone? It feels like Christopher Dewdney's southwestern Ontario, all those layers like the Icelandic cake (Vínarterta) my grandmother used to make. Of course it probably is very similar since it's the downside of the Niagra Escarpment.
Found a great little bookstore there as well, and in it a new chapbook from Joshua Corey, the third Joshua who got a short shrift in my earlier post. I was looking to fill out my knowledge of his work and picked up Composition Marble, from Pavement Saw Press. I'm just dipping into it, and should probably wait to post, but I can't. I'm enjoying it too much. I love the confident voice, the steady eye looking at the world around, seeing not only the surface, but depth and motion. I assume this is part of a longer work, this intense looking, at least from the size and breadth of the canvas:
The Hudson flows backward into a history
that maybe meant something.
Voyageurs and pelts. Algonquin people
turning to wit and byword
The poems careen with great, driving force, pulling toward something--I haven't yet finished this little chapbook yet so I don't know what, but I'm loving the ride, and the observations.
There are still galleries in Soho if you know where to look,
while parts of Brooklyn are remembered for their grass.
Ferries find the suburbs--I'm crossing by EZ Pass.
Forever sutured to a birthplace, Mt. Sinai been seen,
Sloan-Kettering may yet see. Yet first I breathed this air:
savor of wine and monoxide, wind picking up
a vacuum abhorred by English, tan of unseen sea.
Sun-barred buildings in Midtown, snow never white for long.
The bio says Corey is working on a dissertation on modernist pastoral. I can't wait to read that too. GREAT idea.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

a performance of History or Messages From History

That was fun! Whenever and wherever possible folks should just read Stein. Organize it, read it. Do it. With women. Without. Whatever. Just read Stein out loud.

Quote of the week

"I wanted my Imagism and my slither too."

The quote of the week is from Rae Armantrout and can be found in her essay "Cheshire Poetics". Wondering this week about the value of poetry in the face of so much conflict and fragmentation. Also thinking that part of the resistance to language poetry must be this slight of hand. One wants something firm to tred upon, one wants to avoid the pitfalls and potholes of language. As if one could! Armantrout says "the poetry I value, can reproduce our conflicts and fractures and yet be held together in the ghost embrace of assonance and consonance, in the echoed and echoing body of language." Here, here. Shouldn't one trust what one knows more than what one sees?

I end with the title poem from Veil, reprinted in the American Poetry Review.
The doll told me
to exist.

It said, "Hypnotize yourself."

It said time would be
transfixed.

*

Now the optimist

sees an oak
shiver

and a girl whiz by
on a bicycle

with a sense of pleasurable
suspense.

She budgets herself
with leafy

prestidigitation.

I too
am a segmentalist.

*

But I've dropped
more than an armful

of groceries or books

downstairs
into a train station.

An acquaintance says
she colors her hair

so people will help her
when this happens.

To refute her argument
I must wake up

and remember my hair's
already dyed.

*

As a mentalist
I must suffer

lapses

then repeat myself
in a blind trial.

I must write
punchlines only I
can hear

and only after
I've passed on

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I'm it, or I've been tagged, or other people's responses are always so much more interesting

Survey in which one reveals a good deal about their reading habits.

1. One book that changed your life:
Virginia Woolf's The Waves.
2. One book you've read more than once:
This is a long list with entries that range from Gertrude Stein's How to Write, to Tolkien's The Hobbit.
3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
Very easy: The Diaries of Virginia Woolf. And if I could only have one volume it would have to be 2.
4. One book that made you giddy:
Lisa Robertson's The Weather.
5. One book that wracked you with sobs:
Sobs? I can't remember the last book that made me sob. Possibly Coetzee's Disgrace.
6. One book that you wish had been written:
A Girl's Guide to Not Giving a Shit & Being Bloody Fabulous & Genius, by Gertrude Stein with end notes by Virginia Woolf updated with several asides from notable contemporaries and exemplary others.
7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Fear of being struck by lightening caused me to delete this response....
8. One book you're currently reading:
Meteoric Flowers, by Elizabeth Willis (post to come...).
9. One book you've been meaning to read:
Coming After, by Alice Notley.
10. Tag six people:
I'm not good at tagging. Feel free however.

Anne Carson's Euripides

You'll find a review and excerpt of Carson's latest here. Another wow.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Bergvall does Chaucer

Curated by Charles Bernstein and hosted in part by Poets House at Fordham Lincoln Center, last Friday's night of Chaucer inspired verse was a good one. Wendy Steiner, Susan Stewart and Caroline Bergvall took on Chaucer, all in vastly different ways, but none, I have to say, quite as successful as Bergvall's four tales. Over and over again I'm impressed with Bergvall's vision, and with her ability to take such great risks--the third of her four tales contained a list of countries in which women are currently suffering sexual confinement at the hands of warring factions. This combined with her lampoon of the Pope and her usual astute language play riffing on Chaucer's already pleasing verbal play, made for a glorious and wholly original response...I'll let you know as soon as a podcast becomes available.

bird dog and more on Jason Christie

A smart review of Christie's Canada Post by derek beaulieu over at the new site I mentioned yesterday. I'm interested, very interested, in beaulieu's thoughts about the connection of lyric and nation, particularly as it plays out in the poetic longing found in Canadian poetry. A poetry of the pastoral which, as he points out, Christie "troubles" in Canada Post.
Thinking too of one of the comments in the thread on the Babstock review, I think by Z. Wells, which insinuates, well, check out yesterday's post and see for yourself. Lets just say that I don't understand this idea that any kind of art have only one source...that's just craziness. How might we conceive of an elegy if we could get past our understanding of it historically? If we could loosen our grip on a particular kind of pose? A language pose, a sentimental pose, a poetic pose. How did poetry get so conservative?
Ramble, ramble, but there is something in this post that wants to understand several things at once: the intense ownership of lyric by certain schools of poetry (how dare they?), the tension between elegy and pastoral, and again this tension between lucid and a sense of "completeness."
Isn't the latter, the lyric or "lyric completeness" as bealieu points out, a problem of consciousness as much as poetic? A fear of "open spaces" of "unsettled thinking?" I sometimes want the poem to be situated mid leap--to not necessarily have a sense of where it might land. Is it also a question of perspective? Why not from the point of view of a rubber sole? Why not looking up through the cracks in the concrete? I'm being extreme I know, but you get the idea, fragmented and unfinished as it is...

An issue of Sarah Mangold's Bird Dog landed in my mailbox and I am very pleased. It's lovely. You'll find concrete poetry by the same beaulieu as mentioned above, plus some fine prose poetry by Joshua Marie Wilkinson and Ray Bianchi of Chicago Postmodern and excellent reproductions of paintings by Patricia Hagen. Check it out.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Oops, and more on reviewing

I had to take down the Radiohead and Berssenbrugge videos temporarily because for some reason my MAC, or Mozilla doesn't like them... Interesting little thread on reviewing happening over here, a site I only discovered recently. What's the deal? I have deleted several long and meaningful rants in response to this thread and leave in its place a long








blank







space.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Three Joshuas: Beckman, Clover and Corey

Every time I see Shake, by Joshua Beckman, I can't help picking it up. And moreover, once I begin to read, it's difficult to put it down. So to with Joshua Clover's the totality for kids. As for Joshua Corey, his latest is reviewed here by Paul Foster Johnson. Shake is one of those loping narratives of musing quotidian asides. There is something compelling about the energy here:
Headlights in daylight.
Our first exchange was Arizona crossing California.
Pulling out the water, floating down the river,
whistling, disappointed and riverless.
Not caring for a new motorcycle and walking all the way back.
The lines aren't working as hard as I would normally want to see and yet I find them satisfying, completely. Later on in the same poem:
Lizard lizard go away, come again some other day.
I am fashioning the world's largest sand garden, for pride,
for the respect of my family,
and for contemplation's sake.
The moon will rise over it.
The old will crease it with their cadillacs.
The lizards, at night will be entertained by my effort.
I will miss work and reproduce the feeling of driving alone.
I will rake with out music.
I will ignore the military, their planes passing, and they will ignore me.
These lines...these sentiments, there is just something completely inhabitable about them, a pleasant stretch in lines like "The old will crease it with their cadillacs." But perhaps my favorite part of Shake is the poem sequence "Let the people die." Here the language play is as satisfying as the content, more powerful, direct, and damn that dirty word again, but lucid:
A rake in the garden. The garden
is rotting. The house and the yard.
The garden is rotting. A rake in
the pond. The pond and the swimming.
The house and the yard, the garden
and pond...
and later, on page 44
I like your handsome drugs. Your pleasant
drugs. Your frozen fingernails. Your painted
fingernails. That man screamed out, "The
karate chop of love," before tackling that woman.
The breeze. Your sort of quiet happy voices...
There are some aspects of this sequence that are disturbing and I'm not sure why, not why they're disturbing, but what affect the disturbing wants from a reader:
The dead girl by the beautiful Bartlett.
I'm sad. I make horrible sentences.
A woman alone in the park waves. The water.
The dead girl by the beautiful Bartlett.
Put down the cell phone. I'm sad. The waves.
The images hitting like waves at a breakwater, and all I, as a reader want to do is stand and stare at the foam and roar, its repetitions meditative, disturbing, slightly dangerous, but ultimately in check.
Clover's the totality for kids is more cerebral, though satisfying in a similar way. There is more direct textual engagement here, more delay, more visual and textual play, more popular references, or perhaps just more pointed ones. Still, there is a lightness to both of these collections. A skimming of things that perhaps accounts for my continued skirting and darting. What do we want from contemporary poetry? One measures the distance from lucid to cerebral. One pulls at verse and wants a certain amount of give. One wants an immediacy, but one also wants a sense of having earned one's aloofness. Candor, not merely arduous. Must we be able to articulate everything? Must one know exactly what it is about a collection that pleases one? I'm not sure. In any case, there's something here that attracts, something that keeps bringing me back to these texts.

I'll give the last word to Clover from "What's American About American Poetry?"
They basically grow it out of sand.
This is a big help because otherwise it was getting pretty enigmatic.
Welcome to the desert of the real,
I am an ephemeral and not too discontented citizen.
I do not think the revolution is finished.
So during these years, I lived in a country where I was little known.
With the thunder of the Gods that protect the Icelandic tundra from advertising,
Great red gods, great yellow gods, great green gods, planted a the edge of the
speculative tracks along which the mind speeds from one feeling to another,
from one idea to its consequence
Past the proud apartment houses, fat as a money bag.
And the third Joshua? That post will be added shortly.

china town bus

$10 bucks gets you from NY to Philly in under two hours. $15 gets you to Boston. It's all good from point A to B but bring ear plugs, avoid the bathrooms, and whatever you do, don't sit too close to the front. There's a reason you get where you're going so fast, and believe me, you do not want to see why your driver is honking so often.