Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Featured Title – The Transformation by Juliana Spahr

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Juliana Spahr | The Transformation | Atelos | 2007 | Goodreads | LibraryThing | 4 mentions in Attention Span 2008

spahr-transformationSpahr’s poetic memoir blends the personal and the political in a different way. (Rae Armantrout)

The Transformation may be, by the author’s account, a novel. I’m not sure. If so it’s a little out of place on this here poetry list, but who cares? The disregard for genre is part of its charm. Spahr’s increasingly intensive connective writing brings as many things into relation that can fit into a linguistic scene. Actually that’s not quite true – the relationships she builds are precise ones, with particular contemporary and political resonances. For instance, the migration from Hawaii to NYC narrated in The Transformation brings us from a colonial scene to it’s obverse: late 2001 America. Within this broader frame, all manner of institutional effects, social contradictions and forms of natural life are brought into conversation. That’s what keeps Spahr’s work from lapsing into a hippie monism or relativism: the politicized frame always reconfigures the disparate material into a specific critique. And Apocalypto. (Steven Zultanski)

Also mentioned by Megan London and Michael Kelleher.

Written by Steve Evans

June 1, 2009 at 5:38 pm

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