Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span 2009 – Josef Kaplan

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Kevin Killian | Action Kylie | ingirumimusnocteetcomsumimurigni | 2008

They said they would never put any photos of cats in Artforum.

Michael Scharf | For Kid Rock/Total Freedom | Spectacular Books | 2007

Re-read this after the post-’08 election euphoria (and my money) had been plowed into corporate handouts. Scharf refracts the claustrophobic political atmosphere of 2002/2003 through an equally stringent pyramid of de rigueur poetics to show that “total freedom” is, of course, totally not. The book’s appulsion of liberal aesthetics and furtive atrocity reads both cogent and anxiously sympathetic, a “bourgeois panic” that is mordant, lucid, the relentlessness of its critique entirely correct.

Gordon Faylor | 5 6 | Self-Published | 2009

The Mechanical Turk meets Amazon.com’s Mechanical Turk.

Stephen McLaughlin and Jim Carpenter, eds. | Issue 1 | For Godot | 2008

The fall of the house of usher.

Roberto Bolaño | 2666 | Farrar, Straus and Giroux | 2008

It’s nice how this post-modern novel is almost totally unconcerned with the meta, how it instead just ruthlessly tails the fractal, internal details that spin off from stuff like… ordering a coffee, or a city’s (sub)conscious conspiracy to murder every woman living in it. The Baudelaire epigraph: “an oasis of horror in a desert of boredom”; Sonora stretching out its infinite ends.

Anne Boyer | odali$qued | Blogspot | ongoing

Poetry’s Battlestar Galactica: humans create little machines which create other little machines and they all blow each other to pieces, over and over again. Also a response, doing Kafka one better by cutting out the Max Brod-style middleman. An anti-bureaucratic literature that inverts and immolates against pretty much every authoritarian context in sight.

Tan Lin | HEATH (PLAGIARISM/OUTSOURCE) | Zasterle | 2009

Poetry’s The Blob. Less a “book” than an open source platform for critical reimagining. Strikingly handsome for being that, too—like the titular man himself? Or the shrub?

Rachel Loden | Dick of the Dead | Ahsahta Press | 2009

“This machine” / you know / “kills hypocrites”

Marie Buck | Life & Style | Patrick Lovelace Editions | 2009

“People! Cool personalities!” These burrowings into consumerism, vanity, gender cultures, celebritydom (both literary and pop-culture-y), social networking, social damage, flagellism and futurity are often as gentle as they are disturbing. Not a small feat. The absence of irony doesn’t come off as pedantic, but instead gives everything a tragic, keen(ing) sheen.

Brad Flis | Peasants | Patrick Lovelace Editions | 2009

The Lottery-esque scratch-and-win cover reveals a severed head, which is kind of how the whole book works. Also worth noting that the severed head looks like a combination CNN image capture/Chuck Close portrait, which, again, is kind of how the whole book works.

David Lau | Virgil and the Mountain Cat | University of California Press | 2009

Stately state mash-ups. Lau redistributes allusion across a field of junked discourses, declares a new decadence based in the reification of history. The tone of this book is just so oddly, wonderfully grandiloquent, like wigs worn to the King’s beheading: “a domed frieze phrased in freedom, / extra moiety signum // as time’s / dipterous nonextension / deemphasized dispatches to come– // incurable, its miserable son.”

More about Josef Kaplan here.

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