Attention Span 2011 | Nathaniel Otting
Amanda Nadelberg | Bright Brave Phenomena | Coffee House | 2012
It’s been another Year of the Song Cave & it’s hard to believe that Nadelberg’s Building Castles in Spain, Getting Married, the second book in this peerless series, emerged in November 2009. The Age of the Song Cave is too long (it’s ongoing) to properly document here but it seems wrong not to sing some books: Amaranth Borsuk’s Tonal Saw (“tremble | fire | A | kind | of | fire” & “o | o | o | stumble” & “mmandm | Append”), Jane Gregory’s Some Books (“Instead of this book I set out to prove the birdnoise to the bird as my mind was in my office and my office was in my mind.”) Jared Stanley’s How The Desert Did Me In (“Uh! Principia, uh, I’ll think about it.”), Macgregor Card’s The Archers (“There there, manual severity / of being, bonus being, being general / general poet—”), and Graham Foust’s To Graham Foust on the Morning of His Fortieth Birthday (“Tiny hawks of poetry all over you, you sit at screens to punch a book into the world.”), Lisa Jarnot’s Amedillin Cooperative Nosegay (“odyssia’s very original boobs and the warm apt facts of john thaw”) to list just half the 2010 titles. Songcavewise, 2011 has been nonstop, too. To name only the first few (well, half): Andy Fitch’s solo Island, Rod Smith’s whatwow What’s the Deal, Peter Gizzi’s purplegreen Pinnochio’s Gnosis, Jennifer Moxley’s worldly Coastal, and Dana Ward’s doubleheader, The Squeakquel. When I visited the Cincinnati of The Squeakquel, I told Dana that my dad had left Erga kai hemerai in the car back in Kentucky, so he lent me Bill Luoma’s Works and Days (with a graceful note from Michael Gizzi: “Dear Mr. Ward”) which probably would have just been this list if I hadn’t left it in a car bound for Kentucky. One of the greater Song Caves, Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s Hesiod (“All song at once, isn’t this / like balancing the needs of friends?), a working over of Hesiod’s ‘Days,’ is as beautiful as the original chruson genos, the Golden Age. Like Luoma’s, O’Brien’s Works is as ageless as H’s. (And an H is not even an H.) All of this just to say that Amanda Nadelberg is our age’s poet in an Age of Poets. Awaiting Bright Brave Phenomena is like waiting for the things themselves to appear, brighter and braver and phenomenally more than ever before.
Brandon Brown | The Persians by Aeschylus | Displaced
Farrah Field & Jared White | Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Book Shop | Est. 2011
Bookstores need to get brighter and braver in the Post-Border’s Age and Brooklyn is the beacon. Jon Beacham’s Hermitage presses on, as The Brother in Elysium, on Bedford Ave. Around the bend, Book Thug Nation maintains a sill full of Book Thug (no relation). Above all, may Adam Tobin’s unbeatable Unnameable Books, in Prospect Heights, outlast all of us. Into the fray, enter poets Field and White, whose Berl’s, growing so well it may have a roof before Fall. When I made a pilgrimage to their table at the Brooklyn Flea, I found the only thing one can ask, exactly the one book I was looking for in the whole world. No small feat considering they display around 20 books on any given day. Tyrone Williams’ beautiful, everything-breaking elegy, Pink Tie (Hooke Press, 2011). Chapbooks to seek at Berl’s: Wondrous Things I Have Seen (Mitzvah Chaps, 2010) by Herodotus, jk by Brandon Brown (aka Aeschylus aka Catullus) & Preserving The Old Way Of Life (Factory Hollow Press, 2007) by Shannon Burns.
James Copeland | Fax II | self | 2011
CAConrad | MUGGED Into Poetry | Cannot Exist | 2011.
Copeland knows, and how, his Hölderlin. Does Coolidge (circa THIS 6) know his Copeland, writ large? Fax II exists, tho it doesn’t say so. Andy Gricevich’s Cannot Exist (Issue 7 has Conrad + Coletti, Copp, Hauser, Higdon, Larsen, Ward, &c) exists chapbooks! Besides Conrad’s: Roberto Harrison’s Bridge of the World, Sara Larsen’s The Hallucinated, Jess Mynes’ How’s the Cows. Conrad continues being amazing. His devastating reading of “MUGGED Into Poetry” (written after he was mugged en route to a reading by new CE co-editor Lewis Freedman) at the Supermachine 3 launch awed my mom. Cannot wait to get her A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon (Wave Books, 2012). Until then, I got her Heather Christle’s The Trees, The Trees (Octopus Books, 2011).
Tim Dlugos | A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos | Nightboat | 2011
Patrick James Dunagan | A Gustonbook | Post-Apollo Press | 2011
“It’s hard enough to find a parachute / in New York City, I remember thinking, / but finding one the right shade / of canary is the accomplishment / of the sort of citizen with whom / I wish to populate my life.” Dlugos’ “Parachute” (and Conrad’s devastating reading of it) is one of the saddest, and most beautiful, wakes, and makes me cry every time. And “G-9”, with its double wake, is the great elegy of our time. If Steve Carey was the news of 2010, and to me, too, he was, Dlugos is, to me (with Carey, still, too) the news of 2011. Except to me (tho nothing new is in print) the news was, and will be for some time, Peter Seaton, who would not have existed so suddenly and indispensably in my life without Craig Dworkin’s Eclipse. A Book + Craig Dworkin = Eclipse. (Dworkin’s own The Perverse Library, like all of his books, is to be owned.) I’ve only started settling into Dunagan’s There Are People Who Think That Painters Shouldn’t Talk: A Gustonbook, but already it’s taken its place next to Coolidge’s Guston’s Collected Writings (UC, 2010). Banes’ (copy of) Rodefer’s Four Lectures aside, “Writers paint, they don’t speak.”
Emily Pettit | Goat in the Snow | Birds, LLC | 2012
Ben Estes | Alan Felsenthal | The Song Cave | Sea Ranch
I’ve been in love with Pettit and her poems since I first read three of them, in the second issue of Seth Landman’s Invisible Ear, in October 2008. Her poetry workshop at Flying Object is a laboratory for making poets, and no wonder why: reading her poems taught me how to write. There are so many great Bens (at least ten), and Ben Estes, whose Cymbals (“Like a container for a flower inside of a flower.”) opened The Song Cave, is beyond exception. If Estes’ Lamp Like L’Map (Factory Hollow Press, 2009) is every indication, and it is, his The Strings of Walnetto Arrangements (Flowers and Cream, 2011) will be every sensation. There are a few Alans, too, but only one this one. The ultimate symmetry would be an ultimate Song Cave; until then, the inaugural Sea Ranch, a split with his co-editor, is the best start imaginable. Long live, Song Cave, up with the Sea Ranch. P.S. Dos-a-dos are the new split 7”s. Flying Object paired James Copeland w/ Alex Phillips. I would like to hear Will Edmiston’s effing great Effie (3 Sad Tigers Press, 2011) b/w Lewis Freedman’s Freedman’s font-glossed Non-Symbolic Non Symbolic Non-Symbolic (for Catherine Malabou)
Renee Gladman | Event Factory | Dorothy, A Publishing Project | 2010
Rachel B. Glaser | Pee on Water | Publishing Genius | 2010
Prose by poets, does saying that make this not bending my own one-from-2011 rules? Whatever, Glaser is killing it in 2011: poems plenty, “Turid,” the soon famous “Ellen” story. Gladman, of course, is one of the Greats, and who wouldn’t have started a press, as Danielle Dutton (whose Sprawl, Siglio, 2010 fits right in here) did, to publish Gladman’s Ravicka trilogy? That the sequel, The Ravickians (Dorothy, 2011), is to be published on the same day as Gary Lutz’s Divorcer (Calamari Press, 2011) will make deciding what two books to read on that day very easy.
Hailey Higdon | How To Grow Almost Everything | Agnes Fox | 2011
Harmony Holiday | Negro League Baseball | Fence | 2011
Holiday dances (I hear) and writes “Chances you are my Chances” and “dimelemon” and “He said some things about Philadelphia Clay” and Higdon (who just moved from Philadelphia to Nashville) sings (I heard it!) and writes “Oh Hailey Poor Hailey” and “how healthy this / how healthy this” and publishes The Dimes, like Lisa Hollenbach’s Speculum (What To Us, 2011), to boot. Both books are horizons hovering.
Ish Klein | Poem from the Book of Changes | Notnostrums | 2012
Ish is 2011. First one of the great books: Moving Day (Canarium Books). Then movies: Success Window (Poor Claudia). Now the poems keep coming. I hear “Poem from the Book of Changes,” one of the great poems, will appear next year in one of the great places, Notnostrums. An LP wouldn’t surprise me. Like the one Unicorn Evil/Flying Object Records made of Lucy Ives’ Anamnesis. Love that one.
Paolo Javier | The Feeling Is Actual | Marsh Hawk | 2011
Kent Johnson | A Question Mark Above The Sun | Punch | 2010
I want to have read Paolo Javier’s 60 Lv(bo)embs (O Books) and LMFAO (OMG) so I can be reading his new book, right now. I want to be the first to echo the title, and to add (after Dana Ward) “It is that actual book.” Which: Kent Johnson, like the Prynne in his book, is himself a magisterial literary hoax, the way Harold Bloom is, like Falstaff himself, a great literary figure. A Question Mark Above The Sun is a harmless, hilarious book of genius. Alas, Johnson’s latest escapade, seems, at first glance, to take its selves too seriously, ultimate Attention Span bumper-sticker notwithstanding.
Ben Kopel | Because We Must | Brave Men | 2011
Frances Kruk | Down We Go or Negation de Bruit | Punch | 2011
Kopel is off-kilter, on fire: “Hope is how I assassin // past drunken stadia / unshot by the sky.” His Laminated Cats, Ltd. published Seth Landman’s Parker’s Band. He just moved from Noha to Nola. Because We Must is part of a box of beautiful books printed by Emily Goodale. Another is Lily Brown’s Being One, page two of which might be the best 23 word poem ever written (certainly it has the best Henry James reference o.a.t.):
(A Pleasant Multitudinous Image)
You have a bone
for an arm and
a bone for a mouth.
I don’t have
some water full of strether.
Kruk’s book, which is après Danielle Collobert, I got in the mail today and read as I wrote this. After I wrote that, I read it, but I sense already that I will still be reading it long after I am writing this.
Mark Leidner | Beauty Was The Case That They Gave Me | Factory Hollow | 2011
Sam Lohmann | Stand On This Picnic Bench And Face North | Publication Studio | 2011
Tonight, for the third time in less than a month, I heard Mark (through no fault of his own) read, without repeating a poem, from his first book (of poems: his aphorisms, the angel in the dream of our hangover, arrived, in April, from Sator Press). The book, Beauty Was The Case That They Gave Me, is so beautiful and its gifts so endless, that each time I hear Mark read, I have a new favorite poem, even as I know that he won’t, as he didn’t tonight, read my favorite poem, “Pearls Before Swine.” Tonight, when he read “Love In The Time Of Whatever Disease This Is,” I didn’t remember Lewis’ one-liner (“O no! Cholera in the cholera!”), but I did fall in love with the lines,
When we climax I tell you I love you
but it comes out, “I hate language.”
When some dumb politician says something stupid
intended to justify the slaughter
of innocents in some far-flung province
of whatever empire this is, I only hear
the latest movements in the synthesis
of reality with our ludicrous idiom.
I’m so stupid the word the is my favorite word.
The t and the h and the e
are like these brittle little hieroglyphs
of birth and death and life to me.
I believe in the blind, unthinking
Egyptification of everything.
Leidner’s poems are living life comma larger than, ala Dotty Lasky’s Black Life, half Minnis half Massey, with a whole left over, all their own. The same Lewis made up a game, “What’s more similar?” Like Lewis (Freedman), like Mark (Leidner), like Seth Landman, Sam Lohmann is less similar. When Michael Barron gave me Onlooking, his Airfoil chapbook, I read and read and read it, and read it. When I read Stand On This Picnic Bench And Face North, when it comes in the mail, tomorrow, or the day after, I know I will immediately want to read it again and again and again, and give it to everyone. Lizzie Lenson would, and will, love it.
Chris Mason | Hum Who Hiccup | Narrow House | 2011
Chris Martin | Becoming Weather | Coffee House | 2011
Meanwhile, on the one hand, Paul Legault (The Other Poems, Fence, 2011), and, on the other, Chris Martin (See Sea Ranch, Spring 2011). Meanwhile, James Copeland lends me Hum Who Hiccup which I read all over the house. Meanwhile, CJ Martin’s Two Books (Compline, 2011) arrives in the mail. Looks great. Meanwhile, Becoming Weather is great, it’s two thousand books.
Daniel Nohejl | Live A Little Better | The Physiocrats | 2009
Alice Notley | “Along A Spectral Trail” | Skein 7 (ed. Seth Parker) | 2011
Live A Little Better is endless greatness endlessing greatnessing. You could do no better than read all of Nohejl’s manuscripts (I should know, I haven’t), starting with The Saragossa Manuscript (2001), unearthed at the only Unnameable Books. If you don’t believe me, listen to “from A Nervous Handbook” at the Poetry Project. One day Nohejl will read to all of us. (You don’t have to tell me, I wasn’t there.) After reading Hoa Nguyen on Notley (at Evening Will Come) after reading Patrick James Dunagan’s review of Culture Of One (Penguin, 2011) it seems impossible that I haven’t yet read Notley’s new book. Her poem in the new Skein, an event in itself, seems simply impossibly good. Notley’s “Along A Spectral Trail” : Skein 7 :: Nguyen’s “Medusa” : Peaches & Bats 6 and it was exciting to read the latter again in Chinaberry (Fact-Simile, 2010).
Eugene Ostashevsky | closing reading | Opening, Flying Object, October 1, 2010
Pirates! Plus, pssst, we whispered, “Have you heard about the Peepeesaurus?” Poetry as encore ensued. P.S. Lance Olsen (whose novella, 10:01, it’s always time to read) visited Flying Object in November, an ocean ago, in Flying Object time. Have you heard about the Flying Object? PeepeeS: on October 1, 2011, Ostashevsky and others will read at the The New York Aquarium.
P-Queue | Volume 8 | 2011
Caryl Pagel | Visions, Crisis Apparitions, and Other Exceptional Experiences | Factory Hollow Press | 2008
If it, P-Queue 8, exists (editors, ps and q?), this is in it: the pages from “Pretend to Think” that Lewis Freedman read at the Poetry Project: “…the tiniest New York City.” If it doesn’t, read: Greg Purcell’s abcedarian phantasy, The Fundamentals, which ought to. Printed again and again, Pagel’s chapbook sensation is perfect, page after (and beyond the) page. Plus P.S! Pagel’s Rescue Press represents: Rahe, Rexilius. RP, like CP, is what’s next.
Quilty [Andrew Leland] | Goodjobbbbbbbbb: The online journal of SUCCESS | wordpress.com
Arlo Quint | Drawn In | Fewer & Further | 2010
Goodjobbbbbbbbb: “The best thing on the internet” quoth Joshua Cohen, to wit, writer of that wonder, WITZ (Dalkey Archive, 2010). I’ll believe that Arlo Quint, quthor of the memorable Photogenic Memory (from Gina Myers’ Lame House Press), exists when I meet him. No matter. With Quint’s chapbook, Jess Mynes’ Fewer & Further is, as always, on fire.
Ben Roylance | Georgia Poems | New Fraktur | 2011
Stephen Rodefer | Four Lectures | The Figures | 1982, 1987 (reissue, please!)
Ashbery is as right about Reverse Rapture (read equally by Roylance and Rodefer) as he is about Raymond Roussel, whose New Impressions of Africa (Princeton, 2011) and Impressions of Africa (Dalkey Archive, 2011) have both been newly translated, by Mark Ford and Mark Polizzotti, respectfully.
Robert Seydel | Book of Ruth | Siglio | 2011
Bianca Stone | http://www.poetrycomics.com/ | 2011-
(THE) BOOK OF (THE) YEARS, Book of Ruth is our—is the—Anatomy of Melancholy and Seydel was our Burton, our Walser, the world’s Seydel. Formerly found at whoisthatsupposedtobe, Bianca Stone’s poetry comics are who we are supposed to be. They art. Like Blake’s Marriage of Poetry and Comics, Bianca’s books (and Monk Books: Bernadette Mayer, Ben Pease) are wedded, too: like Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Argos Books, 2011), like life. Watch out for not just Anne Carson’s Antigonick but also for Bianca Stone’s Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons. Seriously.
Michelle Taransky | Barn Burned, Then | Omnidawn | 2009
Genya Turovskaya | New Year’s Day | Octopus | 2011
Taransky predicted that banks would barns way back when. Watch out for the Woods to come. Some words of warning: “Wolvewhales and sheepwhales” (from “Despite the Woods” from, where else, Wolf in a Field). Tied with: Taransky’s cat, This Charles Barkley, reading This In Which. Genya Turovskaya, great translator. And poet. NYD was the first chapbook of 2011—will Dear Jenny (Supermachine) be the last? Both are best.
Uljana Wolf | Falsche Freunde / False Friends | Ugly Duckling Presse | 2011
Translated by the genius who brings us our Walser, Susan Bernofsky (and telephoned by others; see also, Telephone Journal, Issue 1, ed. Paul Legault & Sharmi Cohen. Cf. Maureen Owen’s Telephone.) Uljana und Christian Hawkey (author of Ulf, Factory Hollow Press, 2010, to be included in Hawkey’s 2012 Wave Book) have also been translating Ilse Aichinger. Achtung, Ventrakl (Hawkey, UDP, 2010)!
Anna Vitale | Breaststa | Mondo Bummer | 2010
Divya Victor | Sutures | Little Red Leaves | 2011
Wolf in a Field (via Marie Buck) broke the news of Anna Vitale to me. News this good stays news. Breaking news (August 9, 2011), Anna Vitale has been dreaming at limit (historyrepeating.wordpress.com). And there’s always her Anna Vitale’s Pop Poems ([Brandon Brown’s] OMG, 2010). Little Red Leaves sure knew how to sew, and now wow what a web Sutures is. Divya Victor is the author of (is it okay to say it this way?) Vanessa Place’s Hellocasts by Charles Reznikoff by Divya Victor (ood press). Is she the author of all of us?
Dara Wier | Reverse Rapture | Verse | 2005
Dana Ward | This Can’t Be Life | Edge | 2011
I read Wier every year for a year. Why not start with A Civilian’s Diary of the War Years (The Song Cave, 2011) and Selected Poems (Wave, 2009) and go in reverse. Once she lived in Ohio. (Tom Raworth did, too. You did.) And, OH, her books to come. Riverines, all of them. Wait for them. Wait, don’t wait! What would Walt Whitman write? “Than Reverse Rapture (in which X in Fix) there is not a better book.” Is there a more generous poet than “The DW” (—The TSE), who is wont to invite Facebook to Flying Object to read, say, Cathy Wagner to each other? Which, why wouldn’t we? Weird, no Walser? (What better. He said what to Zykov?) No (Alli) Warren? No (Cathy) Wagner? No (Jacqueline) Waters? No Diane (Ward or Williams)? No (Tyrone) Williams? Well, why yes, all of them. Ward contains multitudes, metropolises, Cincinnatis, Dallas Wiebes. “The worst shit ever written, [he] wrote it. You didn’t.”
Burning Deck X 50
New Directions X 75
Lesley Yalen | This Elizabeth | Minus House | 2007
Joey Yearous-Algozin | Buried | Troll Thread | 2011
Lesley Yalen again and again. This Elizabeth, the first from the Minus House of Eric Baus, is endless. I must recuse myself from quoting The Beginning In (minutes BOOKS, 2011) but, citing the darkness directly below, I won’t: “The first word was a noun / The first thing was a box”… The first book your press should publish is The Hearts of Vikings, yes. Buried, see above, begins: “Darkness. / In total darkness. / Blanket of absolute darkness. / Total darkness. / In the darkness. / Darkness once again.” See also The Lazarus Project: Alien vs. Predator (Troll Thread, 2010).
Steven Zultanski | Copkisser | Book Thug | 2010
Vladimir Zykov & Erica Prince | A Radiation of Forms | artist book | 2011
Finally a book from the thug that wrote the chapbook of 2008, This and That Lenin: “This Lenin likes Marx / yet that Lenin dislikes the tsar / yet this Lenin likes Woodrow Wilson.” Forgodot: never forget. Not yet. Yet this Zykov can read and write (and Erica Prince can draw) with the best. That Zykov even wrote a Crayola app.
Nathaniel Otting is a sub-sub librarian for minutes BOOKS at Flying Object.
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