Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Featured Title – Golden Age of Paraphernalia by Kevin Davies

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Kevin Davies | The Golden Age of Paraphernalia | Edge | 2008 | Goodreads | LibraryThing | 7 mentions in Attention Span 2008

davies-paraphernaliaSharp, witty, incisive—this book has a lot to keep me busy. The prosody (the driving issue for this reader) catches my eye because Davies has a lot of textured variation. The main thrust, so to speak, of the poet’s concerns is contemporary social commentary, and this commentary is rich and informed. But it’s the reoccurring pig image/references that hooked me! Since I’ve been out of the country for so long, Davies is a wonderful discovery. (Dawn Michelle Baude)

Lovers of late JA meanderings through pre-code detritus who look to counter other lovers’ complaints about cut & pasteability will find, here, that reading each section ‘in order’, or continuously across the breaks and gaps, makes the book lose part of its meaning. The obsessive superfineries of the arrangement, shorn against undoing, and the intricate intactness of “Lateral Argument” underscore the point perfectly: within a supersaturate, none of the pieces fit. The author also wishes to inform you that Stephane was wrong about the book/bombe; the blank page 68 is a comment on the French. (Michael Scharf)

O’Hara said that Whitman , Crane and Williams were the only American poets who were better than the movies, but today, in a world with Apocalypto and 3-D Imax Beowulf, only Kevin Davies is better than the movies. Maybe you’re in it for the giddy surprise of a turned phrase. Maybe you’re in it for the zonked formal apparatus (“floaters”?). Maybe you just want to drink a Corona and take pot shots at the government. Anyway you want it, that’s the way I need it. More than one Davies book a decade? Yes, please. (Stephen Zultanski)

The benefit of Edge being a little shambling in their publication schedule is that I have gotten to put some version of this book on the Attention Span list for eleven consecutive years. For all the magnificent of the parts (with Lateral Argument still magnificentest), the book is the thing: an overlapping structure which asks you ceaselessly to reevaluate the scale of parts and wholes, to read every passage as an ambiguous instance shifting within a structure within a circuit. In this sense it’s a triumph of thinking globalization/late capitalism/the lives within it, comparable only to the markedly different Kala, M.I.A.’s album which nonetheless takes up very much the same problem, about the representability of part and whole in the world-system. Or: it’s basically the soundtrack for Mike Davis’s World of Slums. In making a mystified situation experienceable —in this case the circuits of economy, terror, epidemic, and culture that form what we call globalization—it stands with any work of art this millennium. (Joshua Clover)

Also mentioned by Rod Smith, Dana Ward, and David Dowker.

Written by Steve Evans

May 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm

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