Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span 2012 | Laura Moriarty

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Julian Brolaski | Advice For Lovers | City Lights | 2012

This lovely book is a classic case of highly prosodized syntactic units seeming to be lyric poetry but in fact taking off from the lyric platform into the wild blue yonder of poetic flight with swoop after swoop of spectacular deftness.

Brent Cunningham | Journey to the Sun | Atelos | 2012

What could be better than a comedic treatment of one of your favorite genres by one of your favorite writers? The answer might be a wonderfully light touch and subtle evocation of writers from Dante to Robert Burton to Mayakovsky. Each time I look at it I find new things to like.

Jean Daive, trans. Norma Cole | A Woman With Several Lives | La Presse | 2012

Initially there was the astonishing appearance of xeroxes of a letter to Cid Corman by Lorine Niedecker on Norma Cole’s floor, having been pushed through the mail slot by Jean Daive when he was in San Francisco, in which Daive proposes that Norma should translate writing he is doing in relation to Niedecker and then there is finally this amazing book of those transitions beautifully presented by La Presse/Fence.

Thom Donovan | The Hole | Displaced

The Hole has a kind of sincerity that drew me in right away and then I stayed for the interesting language and the sense of something like suspense that obtains as something like non-narrative, as we used to say, unfolds before one’s very eyes.

Ben Friedlander | One Hundred Etudes | Edge | 2012

I have just started this book and look forward to reading it all. I like the occasional nature of the poems and the run-on aspect of their presentation. The design of the book is a pleasure; the language a continual surprise and comfort. The itals are epic. “I love dearly. You / Guys mean the / World to me // Even if we / Never see each / Other any more.”

Rob Halpern | Music For Porn | Nightboat | 2012

This is a dense clanky work of great passion and complexity. It was an honor to be one of its blurbers.

Pam Lu | Ambient Parking Lot | Kenning | 2011

This novel accumulates around you like snow or let’s say, in Bay Area terms, like fog. I admired its examination of ideas of success and artistic commitment, enjoyed the lumping of the characters together into “we,” and really liked the subplot.

Aaron Shurin | Citizen | City Lights | 2012

Thoughtful prose by this master of poetry about daily life, love, death, experience, “[r]ingtones, steam whistles, church bells …”

Suzanne Stein | Tout Va Bien | Displaced | 2012

It is incredibly enjoyable to think along with Suzanne in this book. It is more essay-like than some books of poetics, it is more performative than many performance artists and it is more conceptual than the Conceptualists. “I wanted to write a book that would—not perform—but function, one that would build a more humane being while that being read.”

Chris Vitiello | Obedience | Ahsahta | 2012

One of the best poetry books of the year. The lines are good but not “crafted.” They are excellent plain lines made of plain words. (The book is dedicated to the word, “this.”) There is an insistent sense of surprise and as you go along you find you are enjoying the mind of the writer more and more. Having read it you want to read it again and do. You take it on your vacation so you can read it still more.

Tyrone Williams | Howell | Atelos | 2012

Finding it as mysterious as it was completely engaging, I couldn’t put Howell down once I started it. (Really.) “Stakes Is High,” as Tyrone writes, quoting De La Soul.


Laura Moriarty’s books include A Tonalist, an essay poem from Nightboat Books, and the novels Cunning and Ultravioleta. A Semblance: Selected and New Poems, 1975 – 2007 came out from Omnidawn in 2007. She is the author of ten other books of poetry going back to 1980. She won the Poetry Center Book Award in 1983, a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Award in Poetry in 1992, a New Langton Arts Award in Literature 1998 and a Fund for Poetry grant in 2007. She works as a bookseller, nonprofit arts administrator and, occasionally, as a teacher.

This is Laura Moriarty’s first contribution to Attention Span. Back to 2012 directory.

Written by Steve Evans

September 22, 2012 at 4:41 pm

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