Attention Span – Kristin Prevallet
Walter Benjamin, trans. Esther Leslie | Walter Benjamin’s Archive: Images, Texts, Signs | Verso | 2007
This beautifully produced book includes lots of snapshots from Benjamin’s archive, including his wooden toy collection and—my favorite—the log he kept of his child Stefan’s funny expressions as he was learning language.
Anne Tardos | I Am You | Salt | 2008
I saw Tardos give a reading from this book at the Bowery Poetry Club sometime last Fall, and thought, this is “beautiful, sexy, hilarious and smart—and most important, it’s REAL!” I got the book and still think the same thing—Tardos give 100% in this book.
Roberto Tejada, Kristin Dykstra, Gabriel Bernal Granados, eds. | Mandorla Nº 10 | 2007
I was thrilled to see the long awaited Mandorla 10, with such carefully edited selections from a wide variety of writers, many of them bi-lingual or presented in translation. For me, it is an anthology of everything I’ve been missing in poetry in the last five years (in terms of both form and content).
Susan Howe | Souls of the Labadie Tract | New Directions | 2007
I love the “lexical landscape” Howe creates in her books, this one in the time of the language of the Labadists, a 17th century Quietist sect.
with me here between us–of
our being together even in
english half english too late
Roberto Bolaño, trans. Natasha Wimmer | The Savage Detectives | Picador | 2007
The tale of two wild poet boys in an On The Road Adventure… at least that’s how the book is characterized by reviewers. It seems to me to be more about the attempt to recover the mythology of poetry and the bohemian ethic of beauty, love, and self-indulgence … remember when we were racy, spontaneous, scandalous, drunk, oversexed, high on ambition, low on productivity? Not me, I came of age in the 90s. But I remember clearly thinking that literature ended with my generation—now that’s youth! Bolaño hits it on the head (sometimes…). In my reading, however, Natasha Wimmer is the true genius here—she’s clearly an amazing writer herself, and the book reads as if it was written in English. Quite a feat, given how raunchy most of the language is.
John Bellamy Foster | Ecology Against Capitalism | Monthly Review | 2002
I caught the tale end of Foster’s talk at a poetry conference at Evergreen College, and was struck by his ecological critique of capitalism, so I bought the book. It has me thinking about how difficult it is to think outside of economic models—Cartesian thinking is economic! Yikes.
Selah Saterstrom | The Pink Institution | Coffee House | 2004
A genre blend of poetry and narrative, the tale comes undone along with all the characters. And the writing is as gorgeous as her voice, reading it.
Rachel Zolf | Human Resources | Coach House | 2007
The back cover suggests reading this book as “the creative potential of salvage” and that’s a pretty good description. This book has a pissed-off ironic tone that reveals how junk-language permeates our everyday life, and there’s no redemption: “Our abstractions stink of pure gibberish.” Ain’t that the truth! This book is definitely not wallowing in abstractions – which is very refreshing. Susquehanna by Dale Smith
Isabelle Garron, trans. Sarah Riggs | Face Before Against | Litmus | 2008
An immersion in language, slow but energetic…. these precise and elegant translations sometimes remind me of Mallarme’s A Tomb for Anatole; others remind me of It Then by Danielle Collobert. Something between elegy and remembrance, body, woman, and thought.
Marina Abramovic | 7 Easy Pieces | Charta | 2007
I paid $60 for this whopper of a book, documenting Abramovic’s reenacted performances by Beuys, Export, Nauman, Pane, Acconci, and Abramovic herself. This woman terrifies me—she builds walls, and then moves through them.
More Kristin Prevallet here.