Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span – Keith Tuma

with 2 comments

Trevor Joyce | What’s in Store | The Gig and New Writers’ Press | 2007

If verse is a turning, the short poems here have some of the tightest corners on the road.  New poems as if carved in stone; old folksongs from Ireland, Hungary and all over the map made new; birdsong collaged. A big book of lyric poetry plus: “not all / plants / are alike // some are / astringent / some are / salty // some sour / some sweet // some men / are short / -lived / some long // some ugly / others fortunate // weak strong / stupid clever / poor rich // was it / brevity / you wanted?”

Linh Dinh | Jam Alerts | Chax | 2007

Imagine Catullus in a tiki bar having a drink with an unemployed rodeo clown, contemplating the end of empire.  Or don’t: “Bombs / scared them away? Hell no, / We ate them all.”

Marjorie Welish | Isle of the Signatories | Coffee | 2008

Modernism as bricks in a wall you think you can tag: “WITH INDETERMINANCY WE SHALL BURY YOU.” Blue and white: are they true?

Keston Sutherland | Hot White Andy | Barque | 2007

No fire extinguisher left, they’ll be sorting stage directions for this at mid-century, looking for the way out: “He always does this. You get used to it. It is / what brains means.”

Norma Cole | Do the Monkey | Zasterle | 2006

Thinner than Spinoza in Her Youth and every bit as smart.  Here and there more flip, e.g. a waka is a 31 syllable poem: “My dog Stoutie is a stout little pal, kind of sugary, damp little nose, especially when he wants to go for a waka.” Check out “Heavy Lifting,” “The Olympics Is All in Your Mind,” and the rest: a “full sea / outside the self.”

Tyrone Williams | On Spec | Omnidawn | 2008

Cornucopia of hybrid texts. Jimmy Webb and Jacques Derrida tango on one page: “Pop ain’t s’posed to drawl and corn in the bright can’s just plain wrong.” “Derrida clarifies and develops this difference between the Platonic and Christian concepts of the soul in Chapter Three.”

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

As if Plath read Wittgenstein aloud in the town square: “God knows the question arises from its own background / like a bas-relief, so that if one located it / one could chisel the whole thing off the wall and throw it away.”

Tom Raworth | Let Baby Fall | Critical Documents | 2008

When hungry, eat fast: “what are the chances? / what do they want with the bowl?”

Devin Johnston | Sources | Turtle Point | 2008

Not least for translations of Sappho and Propertius, and for more poise and balance than I’ve seen since Thom Gunn left these peeling shores: “Wake and sleep / sleep and wake.”

Rod Smith | Deed | Iowa | 2007

Something about the house is probably a metaphor, Mr. Jones: “Then the house / is popping.”

Frances Kruk | A Discourse on Vegetation & Motion | Critical Documents | 2008

There are other books, there are larger books, maybe you do and maybe you don’t need them: “today the Penalty is Self.”

2 Responses

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  1. [...] If verse is a turning, the short poems here have some of the tightest corners on the road. New poems as if carved in stone; old folksongs from Ireland, Hungary and all over the map made new; birdsong collaged. A big book of lyric poetry plus: “not all / plants / are alike // some are / astringent / some are / salty // some sour / some sweet // some men / are short / -lived / some long // some ugly / others fortunate // weak strong / stupid clever / poor rich // was it / brevity / you wanted?” (Keith Tuma) [...]

  2. [...] Cornucopia of hybrid texts. Jimmy Webb and Jacques Derrida tango on one page: “Pop ain’t s’posed to drawl and corn in the bright can’s just plain wrong.” “Derrida clarifies and develops this difference between the Platonic and Christian concepts of the soul in Chapter Three.” (Keith Tuma) [...]


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