Attention Span 2012 | Tim Conley
Frans G. Bengtsson, trans. Michael Meyer | The Long Ships | NYRB Classics | 2010
A ripping yarn, all right, but can you imagine Vikings as written by Jane Austen? Well, neither can I; but the archness of Bengtsson’s novel compels the imagination to try harder.
Phil Hall | Killdeer | BookThug | 2011
It’s autobiographical and intimate, but not a memoir and not confessional poetry. It gets down its knees, but it’s not about abjection: the gestures are fuller than that, inclusive. Communal poetry.
Daniel Heller-Roazen | The Fifth Hammer: Pythagoras and the Disharmony of the World | Zone | 2011
Irene Gammel and Suzanne Zelazo, eds. | Body Sweats: The Uncensored Writings of Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven | MIT | 2011
“Eternityshit!” The Baroness gets her due at last. A beautiful production, too.
Donna Stonecipher | The Cosmopolitan | Coffee House | 2008
A nice book to stay put and travel with.
Philip Dray | There is Power in a Union: The Epic Story of Labor in America | Random | 2010
A solid overview of the ups and downs in the ongoing struggle for workers’ rights in the United States. Needless to say, the book has pressing relevance now, though perhaps not for that one percent.
Matthew Rohrer | Destroyer and Preserver | Wave | 2011
The weird sensation that the Beach Boys would make a terrific album out of this book gradually overtook my reading to the point that I’m convinced that the reading involved wearing headphones. Just let it drift: “and dreams that complicate / things their velocity / is a mystery but if we / stay there you don’t / have to leave in the morning”
Ingeborg Bachmann, trans. Peter Filkins | Darkness Spoken: The Collected Poems | Zephyr | 2006
Bertrand Russell | History of Western Philosophy | Routledge | 1946, rpt. 2005
“It is strange that the last men of intellectual eminence before the dark ages were concerned, not with saving civilization or expelling barbarians or reforming the abuses of the administration, but with preaching the merit of virginity and the damnation of unbaptized infants. Seeing that these were the preoccupations that the Church handed on to the converted barbarians, it is no wonder that the succeeding age surpassed almost all other fully historical periods in cruelty and superstition.” That’s Russell writing in the last years of the second world war, with one eye clearly fixed on the present while recounting the past.
Tim Conley is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Brock University in Canada. His most recent books are Nothing Could Be Further (2011), a collection of short fiction, and the anthology Burning City: Poems of Metropolitan Modernity (co-edited with Jed Rasula, forthcoming in 2012).