Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span 2010 – Meredith Quartermain

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Thomas Bernhard, trans. Richard and Clara Winston | Gargoyles | Vintage | 2006

A poem/novel that takes it all in: man & nature; man & industry; man & art—generations of the human animal.

Thomas Bernhard, trans. Ewald Osers | Old Masters: a Comedy | Quartet | 1989

This droll piece consists of the narrator’s thoughts as he stands in a particular room in a gallery waiting for his friend, a distinguished music critic, who on a daily basis, likes to come to this room to contemplate the image of a white-bearded old man (like himself it would seem). The museum attendant is the only other character.

Lisa Roberston | R’s Boat | California | 2010

Rousseau’s boat has extended itself, with Robertson’s customary wit and inventiveness, which inevitably turns comfortable subjectivity on its head.

Robert Walser, trans. Susan Bernovsky | The Tanners | New Directions | 2009

An early, autobiographical novel, but then all of his work is autobiographical. Life’s journeys torqued by a deeply feeling and crazily, stubbornly, beautifully resistant mind.

Robert Walser, trans. Susan Bernovsky | Microscripts | New Directions | 2010

At last the microscripted manuscripts (lengthy stories drafted entirely on one side of a post card) are available in English. Even crazier, more deeply feeling, more stubbornly beautifully resistant. We also learn much from the accompanying introduction, such as that Walser wrote out his novels non-stop, without correction, in a matter of six weeks, simply for the pleasure of fine handwriting.

Javier Marías, trans. Margaret Jull Costa | All Souls | HarperCollins | 1992

Set in Oxford and concerning the sojourn of a Marías-like Spanish professor, the tale spins around translation, both linguistic and cultural. His send-up of dining at high table is side-splitting.

Javier Marías, trans. Esther Allen | The Dark Back of Time | New Directions | 2001

In this novel Marías amuses himself by examining the relation between “real” characters and the ones in his novel All Souls. Very witty, post-modern foldings and refoldings.

Javier Marías, trans. Esther Allen | Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico | New Directions Pearl | 2010

Impersonation takes on a whole new meaning in this Elvis encounter.

Javier Marías, trans. Margaret Jull Costa | Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear | New Directions | 2005

Obviously I’m hooked on Marías. This one examines othering—when do we see the other as evil—when do we cross that line?

Kate Eichorn & Heather Milne, eds. | Prismatic Publics | Coach House | 2009

Featuring interviews and work by Nicole Brossard, Margaret Christakos, Susan Holbrook, Dorothy Trujillo Lusk, Karen Mac Cormack, Daphne Marlatt, Erín Moure, M. NourbeSe Philip, Sina Queyras, Lisa Robertson, Gail Scott, Nathalie Stephens, Catriona Strang, Rita Wong, Rachel Zolf. In other words, a ground-breaking collection in Canadian letters.

Sina Queryas | Expressway | Coach House | 2009

I read Queryas for her panache, her in-your-faceness, her tightly woven structures.

More Meredith Quartermain here. Quartermain’s Attention Span for 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004. Back to directory.

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