Attention Span – Stan Apps
Roberto Bolaño | The Savage Detectives | Picador | 2007
I read it too, and it’s as good as they say. The best conventional novel about avant-gardism ever!
Martha Dandridge Custis, with afterword by Abigail Smith | Comment is Free: Participatory Politics for a New Age | Lil’ Norton | 2008
A fine study of free speech of the comment box variety, tonic for all of us who think that dictators are usually good for the first 14 months and that the Bush family should not be allowed to procreate. Because this book tackles the most important issues of our time, it naturally does not matter; we are reminded that, in these times of crisis, there is nothing so idle as to speak of significant things.
K.W. Jeter | Dr. Adder | Bluejay | 1984
I don’t know if it really started cyberpunk or not, but this early 80s classic has to be read to be believed. It must be the only book ever written in which a person who performs unnecessary amputations is emblematized as a salvific moral force. The sex scenes with the rat-eating sewer girl are good too. Mythic!
Stewart Home | Memphis Underground | Snowbooks | 2007
Home’s newest evolves from a satire contrasting suburban and urban (ghetto) life, to a touching memoir of friendships in the art world. He’s probably the best British novelist writing at the moment, and this is his most playfully intimate novel. Do the British people a favor and read this instead of any of their dreary official novelists.
Douglas Mao and Rebecca Walkowitz, eds. | Bad Modernisms | Duke | 2006
This fine book of essays resurrects the evil and awful sides of Modernism, pointing at some of the courageous badness and sniveling abjection that coexisted with the boring masterpieces. This book helps us to perceive a less sanitized Modernist era which prefigures contemporary interest in the communicative power, utility, and authenticity of awful writing.
Sheron Mesmer | Annoying Diabetic Bitch | Combo | 2007
Finally a poet meaner than Lenny Bruce. For all those who have been spiritually exploited by the iconography of the Olsen twins, get this book and be healed.
Jennifer Moxley | The Middle Room | Subpress | 2007
There’s a quality to the tone of this book, as if Tolstoy were resurrected as a Valley Girl, that is truly charming. It’s also nice to be reminded that, when it comes to literature, “charming” finally does transcend all else. This book succeeds in engrossing me in the details of all sorts of things that I would have thought I had no interest in, as well as being completely (but not at all brutally) honest about the real motivations for writing poetry.
bpNichol | The Alphabet Game: a bpNichol Reader; ed. Darren Wershler-Henry and Lori Emerson | Coach House | 2007
A great collection of Canada’s most versatile and inventive poet. Poem-drawings like “Aleph Unit” amaze me every time I look at them. Nichol’s greatness comes from his ability to draw attention to and make expressive use of language’s semantic and visual properties simultaneously, keeping the reader alert to the crisis point at which visuality becomes semantic.
Ara Shirinyan | Your Country is Great: Afghanistan—Guyana | Futurepoem | 2008
This book revolutionizes (will revolutionize?) poetry based on internet searches, showing us the nature of the attention archived on the internet by taking us to the margins of that attention. It’s the first attempt to view the globe as the internet does: I’m very interested in what sort of work will be forthcoming from people who digest and react to this book.
Gary Sullivan | PPL in a Depot | Roof | 2007
Gary Sullivan demonstrates that free speech is all about hurting people, wanting to hurt people, and other illusions of agency. These plays show us how much it matters by being brutally honest about how little it matters; the formal care and attention that goes into these collages weights even the lightest, most banal statements with foreboding emblematic import.
Joseph Thomas | Strong Measures | Make Now | 2007
I think this is the first book of avant-garde poetry ever constructed 100% out of lines and words plagiarized from a volume of conservative poetry. Beginning with the anthology of “new formalist” poetry, Strong Measures, Thomas wrings interest out of the most grey-suited academic work imaginable, producing an awkward and zany beauty. As an act of critique, this book is hilarious; as an act of salvage, it shows just how much a work can be improved by the right plagiarist.
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