Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span – John Wilkinson

with one comment

Keston Sutherland | Hot White Andy | Barque | 2007

The most astonishing poetic performance in English of the century so far. My review uh effusion is on Jacket so I’ll leave it at that.

Rob Halpern | Rumored Place | Krupskaya | 2004

So everyone knew about this but me, and I can’t wait for new work by Halpern. A densely-implicated (in all the history of that word) poetic work, while passionately driven. That’s its affinity with Keston’s.

Barbara Guest | The Blue Stairs | Corinth | 1968

How dumb! Only in typing this have I realised that The Red Gaze is a little joke on The Blue Stairs. Anyhow, Guest has been my obsession through the year, and I am sitting in England hoping the Collected Poems will reach me soon. This choice is a bit arbitrary, but I found a signed copy for almost nothing.

Jennifer Moxley | The Middle Room | Subpress | 2007

The acme of chick-lit.

D.S. Marriott | Hoodoo Voodoo | Shearsman | 2008

Morally, philosophically and politically complex meditations on black history and culture in clear language and regular syntax (the complex language is reserved for Marriott’s critical writing, see Haunted Life, Rutgers 2007). Untouched by any present fashion; fearless integrity.

Robert Kaufman | Various essays | NA | NA

Writing about Barbara Guest, I discovered Kaufman’s ‘A Future for Modernism’ published in American Poetry Review in 2000. After acres of dreariness, here was reading worth reading. I’ve been collecting Kaufman since.

Edward Gibbon, ed. David P. Womersley | The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire | Penguin | 1995

An unabridged copy was on the shelves of the Chicago apartment we sublet a couple of years ago. I started at the beginning. Then I asked for the unabridged Womersley edition for a birthday present, seeing the hardback set at a go-for-it-or-regret-it-forever price. Should keep me going for a decade and generate mordant comparisons with another empire’s decline and fall.

Cy Twombly | Various works | Tate Modern

The most bothersomely enigmatic of twentieth-century artists. Back I go, time and again, scratching my head. If I scratch it enough, my scalp too will streak and splodge.

Lorraine Ellison | Soul Sister: The Warner Brother Recordings | Rhino Handmade | 2006

At last the problem of vinyl and deck on one continent and CD collection on another is solved (yes, I ripped my Ellison albums onto iPod, but she needs a vaulted ceiling, not earbuds).

M.I.A. | Kala | Interscope | 2007

I stole from ‘Paper Planes’ (as well as Duke Ellington) for my new book. But this is joy in a mash-up (and on a running machine, let me advise).

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  1. […] The acme of chick-lit. (John Wilkinson) […]


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