Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span 2009 – Stan Apps

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Harold Abramowitz | Dear Dearly Departed | Palm Press | 2008

A book about the difficulty and sadness of speaking to someone who is no longer present. Somewhere between an elegy and a guide to epistolary conventions, it contains every emotion that could possibly go in a letter:  “And that was looking around. It was a very serious business and tomorrow was another day, but not a day of torment. Not a day of torment.”

Steve Aylett | Lint | Thunder’s Mouth Press | 2005

An absurdist biography of a fictional science-fiction writer (based loosely on Philip Dick). This book is very funny and written in a complexly mannered and overloaded prose that resembles poetry:  “His very awareness of words’ limitations made him run around like some nutter with a blowpipe, creating a career described variously as a triumph, a benchmark for defeat, a systemized kitsch torus, hell on a stick, a ferocious bluff, the revenge of the Alexandrian library, a strange honking sound, not too shabby, glyph contraband, nutty slack, exhausting, a catalog of fevers, and ‘gear.’”

Micah Ballard | Parish Krewes | Bootstrap Press | 2009

Lyric poems about the beauty of those who are dead. A displaced erotic energy takes the shape of mysterious ritual:  “the theme of death is our thiefhood.”

David Buuck | The Shunt | Palm Press | 2009

Ten years of poems charting the ups and downs of our collective crisis mentality. A poetry of puns and outrage, prying at the scab of our public discourse:  “thus – this – these – / Stanzas in Medication // (spits) // whose side / effects are you / — on?”

Lawrence Giffin | Get the Fuck Back into that Burning Plane | Ugly Duckling Press  | 2009

A prison-house of linguistic complexity. Giffin studies how consumerist discourse encloses and subordinates other discursive modes:  “your comprehensiveness is undercut / by the purchasing power of others.”

Renee Gladman | To After That (Toaf) | Atelos | 2008

The story of an unfinished book, carefully chronicling the book’s drafts and why it was repeatedly dropped and abandoned. Ultimately, the book-about-the-book takes the place of the book per se. A wonderful articulation of the rhythms of a writer’s life and the sensation of nursing along an inchoate book:  “it was devastating. . . to have written a book and to have lost it and to be holding it there all at once.”

Jennifer Moxley | Clampdown | Flood Editions | 2009

This poetry has the political intensity and representational clarity of mid-career Auden. Moxley uses allegorical tableau to frame her progressive critique of liberal political orthodoxy. I admire her embrace of direct statement:  “I remember feeling / a hollow failure at the particularity / of these pleasures.”  Or “The / private-sector mercenaries / ride roughshod over espousers / of eroded nobility as well as the / merely weak.”

Julien Poirier | Back On Rooster | Gneiss Press | 2007

A chapbook length poem, published in an edition of 52. A study of mental process, the inexorable bob-and-weave of consciousness carrying on:  “it’s an accident / when it / happens I like it / it changes me / I appear”

Michael Nicoloff and Alli Warren | Bruised Dick | no press | no date (probably 2007)

A polymorphously perverse collaborative collection. I think it’s sold out but hopefully will be re-released someday with the same silly picture of the two author’s faces blended on the cover. This is probably the most fun book on my list—I read it probably 20 times:  “stake a claim in there / where the damp and emotional / rust builds up all disco / on your balls and ass”

Erika Staiti | Verse/Switch & Stop-Motion | no press | 2008

Just a Xeroxed booklet of very good poems. I expect these will be published in a less ephemeral form eventually. A loving study of aggression as a social dynamic. “when you’ve got nothing to give, you give someone a shiner // dot blogspot dot com”

Stephanie Young | Picture Palace | ingirumimusnocteetconsumimurigni | 2008

A fascinating dislocation of the biographical impulse. Work that charts subjectivity’s accumulation and erosion:  “Many things must be made new for a tonal shift to stick.”

More Stan Apps here.

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