Archive for the ‘Attention Span 2009’ Category
The sixty contributors to Attention Span 2009 are: Leonard Schwartz, Bill Berkson, Meredith Quartermain, Allyssa Wolf, Cedar Sigo, Rae Armantrout, Elizabeth Treadwell, Jessica Smith, Stephen Cope, G.C. Waldrep, Brandon Brown, Philip Metres, Michael Scharf, Stan Apps, Charles Alexander, Don Share, Joel Bettridge, John Palattella, Suzanne Stein, Patrick Pritchett, Thomas Devaney, Pam Brown, Keith Tuma, Daniel Bouchard, Rodney Koeneke, CA Conrad, Joshua Edwards, Chris Hosea, Elizabeth Robinson, David Dowker, Eileen Myles, Gina Myers, Joanna Fuhrman, Scott Thurston, Alli Warren, Jennifer Scappettone, Andrew Epstein, David Buuck, Kevin Killian, Melanie Neilson, James Wagner, Josef Kaplan, Tim Conley, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, CE Putnam, Craig Dworkin, Joseph Mosconi, Omar Berrada, Sawako Nakayasu, Kit Robinson, Michael S. Hennessey, John Latta, Benjamin Friedlander, Barbara Jane Reyes, Juliana Spahr, Anselm Berrigan, K. Silem Mohammad, Harold Abramowitz, Michael Gizzi, and Tim Peterson.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s installment, whether by sending a contribution, or simply reading along.
Soon to come, an overview of this collectively-drawn map of the ever-shifting territory, including frequently mentioned titles, authors, and presses.
Filip Marinovich | Zero Readership | Ugly Duckling Presse | 2008
Paolo Javier | Megton Gasgan Krakooom | manuscript
Evelyn Reilly | Styrofoam | Roof Books | 2009
Sueyeun Juliette Lee | Mental Commitment Robots | Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs | 2007
Andrew Levy | Memories of My Father | Self-published | 2008
Brenda Iijima | revv.you’ll—ution | Displaced Books | forthcoming 2009
Eileen Myles | The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art | Semiotext(e) | 2009
Charles Borkhuis | Disappearing Acts | manuscript
Julian T. Brolaski | Gowanus Atropolis | Ugly Duckling Presse | forthcoming 2010
Tenney Nathanson | Ghost Snow Falls Through the Void (Globalization) | manuscript
Charles Alexander | Pushing Water | manuscript
More Tim Peterson here.
Keith Waldrop | Transcendental Studies | California | 2009
Brian Evenson | Fugue State | Coffee House | 2009
Brian Evenson | Last Gasp
Robin Kelley | Thelonious Monk | Free Press | 2009
Jennifer Moxley | Clampdown | Flood | 2009
Lisa Jarnot | Night Scenes | 2008
Kit Robinson | Train I Ride | Bookthug | 2009
Robert Pogue Harrison | Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition | Chicago | 2008
William Carlos Williams | White Mule
Richard Holmes | The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science | HarperPress | 2008
More Michael Gizzi here.
Kevin Davies | The Golden Age of Paraphernalia | Edge Books | 2008
Like Davies’ earlier Comp, this is structurally little more than a series of sound bites strung together as “verse.” Yet also like Comp, it crackles with Ecclesiastical scorn and verve. The conscious and subconscious minds are sitting together on a sofa trying to relate the big game to the latest CSPAN feed of senate hearings, and these broadcasts interrupt them.
Craig Dworkin | Parse | Atelos | 2008
Page after page of … parsing. And the text that is parsed (an 1874 grammar manual by Edwin A. Abbott) is itself a treatise on parsing. One might think that this is a perfect example of a “conceptualist” book that asks merely to be thought about rather than read, and for some people that is probably the more attractive option. But those people will miss the metagrammatical massage that prods the reader’s brain into little shudders (not quite paroxysms) of attentiveness, of alertness, of being-in-poetry.
Robert Fitterman | Rob the Plagiarist | Roof Books | 2009
Contains the already-classic “This Window Makes Me Feel,” as well as other manipulations of public discourse and commercial sense-input. Fitterman plays the part of a Benjaminian flaneur, but one as he might exist in the world of John Carpenter’s They Live—a flaneur who is not wearing those special glasses that let you see the aliens and the capitalist dystopia they have erected for what they are.
Robert Fitterman and Vanessa Place | Notes on Conceptualisms | Ugly Duckling Presse | 2009
Shallow art-theory rehash or stimulating commentary on contemporary poetics? Both? Oh, it couldn’t be both. Admit it: for a week or two, you too were reading this little blue booklet and actually trying to make sense of the proposition that conceptual writing is allegorical writing.
K. Lorraine Graham | Terminal Humming | Edge Books | 2009
A deftly casual versish essay on different stages of social ambience (from “droll” to “malignant”). Its timbre is perfectly captured in the title pun: either a bustling public nexus, or a fatal condition of subverbal singing-along. Graham hits a perfect balance of easygoing “girlishness” and sardonic bemusement.
Kevin Killian | Action Kylie | ingirumimusnocteetcomsumimurigni | 2009
There should be a periodic announcement made over loudspeakers on the main streets of major cities: Citizens! Why do so many of you seem to have neglected to notice that Kevin Killian is one of our finest poets? Because you were too busy being impressed by his fiction? No excuse. He is also (this is me now, not the loudspeaker) one of the few poets writing today who can still do transmissive (e.g., Spicerian) lyric convincingly. Heartbreakingly.
David Larsen | Names of the Lion | Atticus/Finch 2009
Go find a book that is either a more beautiful physical object or a more stunning instance of creative scholarship. Larsen’s loving translation of Ibn Khalawayh’s treatise (with commentary) should be written up in every arts and literature review section of every major newspaper and magazine worldwide as a major publishing event. Mindbogglingly, this unbearably gorgeous Atticus/Finch “chapbook” (too humble a word) costs only $10.
Chris Nealon | Plummet | Edge Books | 2009
It’s hard to think, in the world of contemporary poetry, of very many books that spawn a popular (I mean, popular among other poets, anyway) catch phrase within what seems like mere moments of their publication. I wouldn’t be surprised to see “I am not gay, I am from the future!” on T-shirts and bumper stickers soon. The obvious stylistic reference point for Nealon’s “voice” is O’Hara, but this is far from being derivative nth-generation New York School; it’s absolutely modern in all the right ways.
Mel Nichols | Catalytic Exteriorization Phenomenon | Edge Books | 2009
Nichols asks early in this book, “can a woman compete with the city”? The question is answered in the pages that follow by a flurry of winged images and phrases like paper scraps from a shredded diary flying down busy streets, between skyscrapers, in and out of shops and offices and homes. Nichols renders both the sensually vivid and mundanely bureaucratic details of everyday life with a lyric attentiveness that constantly places the “nucleus of the individual / in productive tension with the collective expanse of white.”
Jordan Scott | Blert | Coach House Books | 2008
The author, a chronic stutterer, set out deliberately to write poetry that would be hard for him to read aloud. A pretty rudimentary concept, but the resulting verbal bumper car ride taps into essential currents of recent prosodic weather patterns. Rubbery, blubbery, heap big unheimlich fun.
Stephanie Young | Picture Palace | ingirumimusnocteetcomsumimurigni | 2009
Sometimes I forget that Stephanie Young is not a phenomenally famous pop-soul diva. I really don’t have words to describe the complex and passionate effects her work produces. Tonally and formally, it’s all over the map, and it makes the map look fabulous. Maybe my favorite move of hers (among the many she routinely busts) is her talent for the abrupt declaration of a devastating, obvious fact, such as her observation that “of course the revolution won’t be televised! Not because the most important things don’t appear on television but because the revolution will knock out electrical plants and the TV itself will collapse under the collapsing house.”
More K. Silem Mohammad here.
Allison Carter | A Fixed, Formal Arrangement | Les Figues Press | 2009
Ara Shirinyan | Handsome Fish Offices | Insert Press | 2008
Carlos Blackburn | Selected Poems of Hamster | Ugly Duckling Presse | 2008
C.J. Martin | Lo, Bittern | Atticus Finch | 2008
Deborah Meadows | Goodbye Tissues | Shearsman | 2009
Dolores Dorantes | SEXOPUROSEXOVELOZ And SEPTIEMBRE | Kenning Editions-Counterpath Press | 2008
Jane Sprague, ed. | Palm Press | 2008-2009
K. Lorraine Graham | Terminal Humming | Edge Books | 2009
Kim Rosenfield | re: evolution | Les Figues Press | 2009
Kyle Schlesinger, Thom Donovan and Michael Cross, eds. | ON Contemporary Practice 1 | Cuneiform Press | 2008
Mairéad Byrne | Example As Figure | Ubu Editions – Publishing The Unpublishable | 2008
Mathew Timmons | Lip Service | Slack Buddha Press | 2009
Matthew Klane | Sons and Followers | Matthew Klane | 2009
Rosa Alcalá, Ash Smith, Sasha Steensen | UNDOCUMENTARY, Water Shed, The Future Of An Illusion | Dos Press | 2009
Stan Apps | Grover Fuel | Scantily Clad Press | 2009
Stephanie Rioux | Sticks | Mindmade Books | 2009
The Pines | “Peek thru the pines” | thepines.blogspot.com | 2008-2009
More Harold Abramowitz here.
Will Alexander | “Exobiology as Goddess” from Exobiology as Goddess | Manifest Press | 2005
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge | “The New Boys” | Brooklyn Rail | October 2008
Stacy Szymaszek | Hyperglossia | Litmus Press | 2009
Allen Ginsberg | “Television Was That Baby Crawling Toward The Death Chamber” from Planet News: poems 1961-1967 | City Lights
Douglas Oliver | “The Infant and The Pearl” from Selected Poems of Douglas Oliver | Talisman | 1996
Dana Ward | “Typing ‘Wild Speech’” | na | unpublished
Renee Gladman | To After That (TOAF) | Atelos | 2008
Lawrence Giffin | Get the Fuck Back Into That Burning Plane | Ugly Duckling Presse | 2009
Marcella Durand | “Anatomy of Oil” from Area | Belladonna | 2008
CA Conrad | (Soma)tic Midge | Faux Press | 2008
CA Conrad | The Book of Frank Chax 2009
Fred Moten | Hughson’s Tavern | Leon Works | 2008
John Coletti | Same Enemy Rainbow | Fewer & Further 2009
John Coletti | Mum Halo | Rust Buckle | forthcoming
Jennifer Moxley | Clampdown | Flood Editions | 2009
Frank Sherlock and Brett Evans | Ready to Eat Individual | Lavender Ink | 2008
Douglas Rothschild | Theogony | Subpress | 2009
Also: Flaubert’s A Sentimental Education, Octavia Butler’s Kindred, Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, W.G. Sebald’s Rings of Saturn, Laird Hunt’s The Exquisite, If You Give A Moose A Muffin, Blackest Night #2, and Le Carre’s Smiley novels.
More Anselm Berrigan here.
I keep thinking to myself that it has been a really amazing year of reading for me. I have loved so much of what I have read. I have no complaints. I’m not sure I have read a book I thought was a waste of my time all year. I think I feel this way because I have had trouble reading because I have a two year old who is at that stage where if I am reading in his presence, he comes up and grabs the book and says no, no, no. Reading feels a little illicit right now when I get to do it. Thus all the more sweet. So I should also confess that I think I might write this very differently if I was reading more inclusively. There are many books that came out this year that I have not yet gotten to read. I have an exciting large stack to read.
Mark McGurl | The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing | Harvard | 2009
I confess that I have at moments gotten bogged down in the long readings of Thomas Wolfe and Flannery O’Conner. Mainly because I’m not a super huge fan of that work and so not very well read in it. But the money shot, if one can say that, is the analysis of what he calls “program fiction.” So much here that feels right. Mainly that the university system has shaped US writing dramatically in the last half of the 20th century. Also really interested in his talk about how this fiction has a sort of generic localism (my term not his). But at same time I find McGurl’s respect for “program fiction” super frustrating. He keeps talking about how he likes it! And I’m so suspicious of the writing that this system has produced (not the teaching of writing, that is another complicated story). Primarily because it is a sort of generic local writing that has isolated writing from more activist and urgent concerns.
M Nourbese Philip | Zong! | Wesleyan | 2008
Super obsessed with this book. It has everything. Anti-imperial righteousness, avant garde extremity, ghosts or channeled beings, lists, etc. I love how she “recovers” the names of those lost on the Zong.
Ian Baucom | Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History | Duke | 2005
Also about the Zong and the development of credit around the slave trade. He talks a little about Philip’s book. I was reading it just as the financial markets were collapsing.
Renee Gladman | To After That | Atelos | 2008
Gladman at her best.
Aaron Cometbus | Cometbus | na | na
Joshua Clover gave Chris Nealon the issue of Cometbus on the Berkeley bookstores. And I had to go out and get my own copy. And then I started buying more and more copies to give to people because it such a lovely history of the complications around Telegraph Avenue.
Felix Feneon | Novels in Three Lines | NYR Classics | 2007
Reznikoff-style. Or I should say Reznikoff is Feneon-style. Classic playful social realist writing.
Mark Nowak | Coal Mountain Elementary | Coffee House | 2009
It surprised me! I don’t need to say anymore. I am so in love with this book right now.
Roberto Bolano | 2666 | Farrar, Straus, Giroux | 2008
I know, everyone else has already said all that needs to be said. I will add this though: there is no other male writer of women that is better than Bolano. Plus I keep rereading the sermon in the third book.
David Buuck | The Shunt | Palm Press | 2009
Juggling, with disgust.
Jennifer Moxley | Clampdown | Flood | 2009
I want to say something about beauty and lyric but I feel that would piss her off. But really, the book made my heart happy.
C. D. Wright | Rising, Falling, Hovering | Coffee House | 2008
How the world defines the personal. Also a really beautiful book. With hope for poetry despite its claim “What is said has been said before / This is no time for poetry.”
More Juliana Spahr here.