Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Attention Span 2012 | Miles Champion

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Paolo Baldacci, trans. Jeffrey Jennings | De Chirico: The Metaphysical Period, 1888–1919 | Bulfinch | 1997

Bought used for $3.56 (with free shipping) from the quite baffling Better World Books of Mishawaka, IN. If you only have room for one Chirico monograph on your shelf, it’s gotta be this one.

André Breton, trans. Mark Polizzotti | Anthology of Black Humor | City Lights | 1997

Lately my bathroom book of choice. The selections are excellent and Breton’s prefatory notes are sharp. Freud hops into bed with a dialectics of the impossible object. Cloaca as process. Excrement cocktails all round.

Alastair Brotchie | Alfred Jarry: A Pataphysical Life | MIT | 2011

A long, luxurious bath in ether. Truly a labor of love and well worth the wait. Congratulations, Alastair!

David Ellis | Byron in Geneva: That Summer of 1816 | Liverpool UP | 2011

There’s lots of information here, plus it’s nice to read a book about Byron that bucks the recent trend by being sympathetic to its subject. (Incidentally, why did the Greeks hang on to his lungs? did they still have air in them?)

Larry Fagin | Complete Fragments | Cuneiform | 2012

This was a long time coming and Kyle did a great job.

P.V. Glob, trans. Rupert Bruce-Mitford | The Bog People: Iron-Age Man Preserved | New York Review Books | 2004

The Donald M. Allen of the 1st century B.C. The 2,000-year-old Tollund Man reminds me a little of Keats. If Glob were still with us, would he have a blog? 

Jess | Paintings | Tibor de Nagy Gallery | 2011

Only a slender catalogue (22 reproductions), but this gem of a show (at Tibor de Nagy in Dec/Jan) sustains me still. It was a revelation to see a handful of early (‘50s) paintings for the first time: uneven, yes, but somehow the unevenness was every bit as thrilling as the works themselves. Off the charts. Totally.

Bernard Lassus | Jardins Imaginaires | Les Presses de la Connaissance | 1977

Another absolute steal ($7.07) from the irrepressible Better World Books (Dunfermline branch). A desert island book, worthy of a cult, etc. Now I just need to find Masques Eskimo d’Alaska for under $10.

Lauren Levin | Working | Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs | 2012

I was introduced to Lauren’s work via her stunning book Not Time (Boxwood Editions, 2009) and I can’t think of a dull word that’s issued from her typewriter since (I have a photograph of her typewriter, if you’d like to see it). A tremendous poet. What a treat it is to follow her work.

Beatrix Potter | The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher | Frederick Warne | 1906

Most of the reading I did this year was out loud to my two-year-old daughter. We’ve read the first 10 of the 23 Peter Rabbit books, of which this—the seventh—is my favorite (hers is the first, The Tale of Peter Rabbit).

Robert Walser, trans. Christopher Middleton, rev. Susan Bernofsky | The Walk | New Directions | 2012

As devastating as it is beautiful. Part at least of the astonishment derives from the fact that, as open to the whatever-may as Walser’s walker–writer appears to be, not once does he deviate from Kafka’s true way, that tightrope stretched not aloft but just above the ground. A jaw-dropping work; remarkable to think Walser was alive when Middleton translated it in 1954.


Miles Champion’s How to Laugh is due out from Adventures in Poetry. A book-length illustrated interview with Trevor Winkfield, How I Became a Painter, is also forthcoming. He lives in Brooklyn.

This is Miles Champion’s first contribution to Attention Span. Back to 2012 directory.

Written by Steve Evans

September 27, 2012 at 10:00 am

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