Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

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Posts Tagged ‘Caroline Bergvall

Attention Span 2011 | Román Luján

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Raúl Zurita | Purgatory: A Bilingual Edition | California | 2009

Raúl Zurita | Song for His Disappeared Love / Canto a su amor desaparecido | Action | 2010

Manuel Maples Arce | City : A Bolshevik Superpoem in 5 Cantos / Urbe : Poema bolchevique en 5 cantos | Ugly Duckling | 2010

Myriam Moscona | Negro marfil / Ivory Black | Les Figues | 2011

Uljana Wolf | False Friends | Ugly Duckling | 2011

Carlos Oquendo de Amat  | 5 Meters of Poems / 5 metros de poemas | Ugly Duckling | 2010

Michael Palmer | Thread | New Directions | 2011

Marosa di Giorgio | The History of Violets / La historia de las violetas | Ugly Duckling | 2010

Jose Kozer | Stet: Selected Poems | Junction | 2006

Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith, eds. | Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing | Northwestern | 2011

Jen Hofer | One | Palm | 2009

Caroline Bergvall | Meddle English | Nightboat | 2011

Charles Bernstein | Attack of the Difficult Poems | Chicago | 2011

Gonzalo Rojas | From the Lightning: Selected Poems | Green Integer | 2006

Juliana Spahr | Well Then There Now | Black Sparrow | 2011

Robert Walser | Microscripts | New Directions / Christine Burgin | 2010

Cecilia Vicuña and Ernesto Livon Grosman, eds. | The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry  | Oxford | 2009

Brian Kim Stefans  | Viva Miscegenation | Make Now | Forthcoming 2011

Marjorie Perloff | Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century | Chicago | 2010

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Román Luján is a Mexican poet and translator currently living in Los Angeles, where he is studying for his Ph.D. in Latin American Literature at UCLA. His books of poetry include Drâstel (Bonobos, 2010), Deshuesadero (FETA, 2006), Aspa Viento in collaboration with painter Jordi Boldó (FONCA, 2003) and Instrucciones para hacerse el valiente (CONACULTA, 2000). Some of his poems and translations can be found at Eleven Eleven, Mandorla, Aufgabe, and Jacket2.

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Attention Span 2011 | Pattie McCarthy

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Elizabeth Willis | Address | Wesleyan | 2011

“I’m building the haystack / I’ll disappear into”

Cole Swensen | Greensward | Ugly Duckling | 2010

“It’s the future that vanishes, not thinking, and the dog sets off at a run, as it is, as it always has been, her gift and wish to bring it back to him.”

Carlos Soto Roman | Philadelphia’s Notebooks | Otoliths | 2011

“one pack one pagan one pain one panic one paper one / parachute one paradox one paragon one parade one”

Jena Osman | The Network | Fence | 2010

“Plaster, spikes, and rivets all overboard as ballast. To gain altitude, to fly high over the city like a small planet.”

Linda Norton | Public Gardens | Pressed Wafer | 2011

“She cries every night for three or four hours, and sometimes I think I’m going crazy, I’m so tired. But her shit really does smell sweet.”

Susan Howe | That This | New Directions | 2010

“That this book is a history of / a shadow that is a shadow of”

Ryan Eckes | Old News | Furniture | 2011

“you know by looking at the dunkin donuts / walt whitman is buried in camden / ben franklin is buried in philadelphia / and the delaware river is a zombie”

Julie Carr | Sarah—Of Fragments and Lines | Coffee House | 2010

“The / idea, which she knows to be illogic, but cannot let go of, is that / if she is pregnant the baby will keep her mother alive.”

Sarah Campbell | Everything We Could Ask For | Little Red Leaves | 2010

“Some bird brought you here / On foot”

Anselm Berrigan | Notes from Irrelevance | Wave | 2011

“Digging the ecstasy / of swinging? Yes. Laughing / at the tree? Is the tree / funny? Yes.”

Caroline Bergvall | Meddle English | Nightboat Books | 2011

“The body is ay so redy and penyble’, / the heed of advertising for Telewizja Polska, / the state-run TV network, / told the Associated Press news agency. / BBC NEWS 25 May 2006. / Here is endeth the Summer Tale.”

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Pattie McCarthy is the author of Table Alphabetical of Hard Words, Verso, and bk of (h)rs, all from Apogee Press—as well as L&O, forthcoming this year from Little Red Leaves Press. She teaches literature and creative writing at Temple University and is a 2011 Pew Fellow in the Arts.

McCarthy’s Attention Span for 2010. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2011 | Marjorie Perloff

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Caroline Bergvall | Meddle English | Nightboat | 2011

The title poem is Bergvall’s brilliantly satiric version of Chaucer, anatomizing the current socio-cultural scene, but this rich collection also includes the experimental verse of “Goan Atom,” and (my favorite) “Cropper,” Bergvall’s multilingual exploration of sedimentation—of “borders, rules, boundaries, edges, limbos at historical breaches.”

Craig Dworkin | Motes | Roof | 2011

Minimalist procedural lyrics that uncover the secrets within given words and morphemes. Dworkin’s version of Duchamp’s With Hidden Noise, it’s a totally delightful and pleasurable but also intellectually rigorous book.

Peter Gizzi | Threshold Songs | Wesleyan | 2011

This may be Gizzi’s best book to date: the mood is elegiac (the poet’s brother Michael had just died) but also jaunty: whenever the darkness becomes too hard to bear, a colloquial—even funnynote brings us back to the everyday world: “Don’t back away. Turtle into it / with your little force.”

Christian Hawkey | Ventrakl | Ugly Duckling | 2010

Hawkey’s surreal lyric sequence, prompted by the life and work of Georg Trakl. Using a great variety of verse forms and prose interludes, Hawkey produces a terrifying and moving poem about legacy, memory, and the stories we tell ourselves so as to avoid self-recognition.

Heinrich Heine, trans. into Portuguese and with an introd. by André Vallias | Heine, hein? – Poeta dos contrários | Sao Paulo: Perspectiva | 2011

Heine, one of the great lyric poets of all time, is still very little known in the US and translations have been partial and problematic. But Vallias, himself a fine poet, has produced an amazing book, including all the major poems as well as essays, letters, and bibliographical material. My Portuguese is very rudimentary but I marvel at what can—and is being—done elsewhere to bring one nation’s poetry into the present of another’s.

Christian Marclay, dir. | The Clock | a film | 2010

To my mind, the finest conceptual work ever produced: this 24-hour montage of film clips played in real time (featuring an infinite variety of clocks, watches, and verbal signals indicating that exact time in each shot) is endlessly enchanting—a Waiting for Godot for the 21st Century where we are always waiting—for the event that never happens and which is immediately eclipsed and displaced by another event. Can life be this dramatic? The Clock is nerve-wracking, funny, moving: and when you come out of the gallery (I saw about 8 hours worth at LACMA) you think you’re still in the picture, about to witness the bank robbery or the wake-up call, even as the music bleeds unaccountably from one scene into the next.

Vanessa Place | Tragodía: 1: Statement of Facts | Blanc | 2010

This compendium of court testimonies and police reports—all of them taken from Place’s own files (she is an appellate criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles) has raised enormous controversy: Place has been accused of being soft on rapists. But the fact of this Statement of Facts is that she has simply arranged her material so as to tell it like it is—no sides taken, no points made, and yet an unforgettable image of how events in the contemporary city play themselves out. The book reads like a Henry James novel: what, we ask at every turn, really happened?

Srikanth Reddy | Voyager | California | 2011

Reddy’s writing-through of Kurt Waldheim’s memoir (3 times in 3 different ways) is a devastating exposé of political mendacity and maudlin self-justification. It’s a brilliantly rendered work that literally “speaks for itself.”

Jonathan Stalling | Yingelishi | Counterpath | 2011

Yingelishi (pronounced yeen guh lee shr) sounds like an accented pronunciation of the word “English,” even as, for the Chinese reader, its characters spell out “chanted songs, beautiful poetry.” Spalding combines homophonic translatation, with the dictionary meaning of the different phrases as well as their Chinese characters so as to demonstrate what the new language of some 350 million people looks and feels like. Comes with a website so that we can hear these sounds spoken and chanted. It’s a brilliant tour de force.

Uljana Wolf, trans. Susan Bernofsky | False Friends | Ugly Duckling | 2011

These DICHTionary poems are based on so-called “false friends” in German and English—words that look and/or sound familiar in both languages but differ in meaning.  The comedy that results is full of surprises—a lovely sequence for our multilingual moment. And Ugly Duckling’s production is, as always, a pleasure.

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Susan Howe | THAT THIS | New Directions | 2010

I list this last and separately because Howe’s very important book won the Bollingen Prize and I was one of three judges so my comment on it is a part of the award citation.

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Marjorie Perloff‘s most recent book is Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century. Her Wittgenstein’s Ladder has just been translated into Spanish and is soon coming out in French. She is Professor Emerita of English and Comparative Literature at Stanford University.

Perloff’s Attention Span for 2006, 2004. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2011 | Erín Moure

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Theodor Adorno, trans. Rodney Livingstone | Lectures on Negative Dialectics | Polity | 2008

Not Negative Dialectics in itself, but a real way into that book, this book holds Adorno’s preparation notes for his lectures on his theory of intellectual experience that became ND. The lectures provide both a way into Adorno’s methodology in that book, and also lay out a kind of field of responsiveness, as Adorno prepares to address an audience, and moves his ideas outward. I love books like this, that let me enter into a practice more deeply.

Oana Avasilichioaei | Spelles | No Press and Hex Laboratorium | 2010

Echoes of the medieval distaff gospels, and of performance of poetry as voice (for there is a CD) and as spelling, performance of spelling (and the “elle” in “spelles” is a critical gendering of the text) as performance of the book without author (for the author’s name figures nowhere on or in the object/book), now in the hands of the reader. Echoes yes of Bergvall and Robertson here, and of the performancing in and out of English that is characteristic of Avasilichioaei’s work.

Caroline Bergvall | Meddle English | Nightboat | 2011

Bergvall’s strange rich turnings in and returnings to an English that is old, raw, syncopated, new. And feminist!

Natalee Caple | The Semi-Conducting Dictionary | ECW | 2010

Strindberg’s life. Poems amazing in their structures and a book that opens a wonderful presence and questioning of gendering.

Paul Celan, trans. Pierre Joris, ed. Bernhard Böschenstein and Heino Schmull | The Meridian: Final Version—Drafts—Materials | Stanford | 2011

Drafts, preparatory notes, revisions, and references to Paul Celan’s seminal speech on poetics, the Meridian speech. A poetics in movement, meticulously prepared. Essential.

Phil Hall | Killdeer | BookThug | 2011

These long-lined essays in poetic form are both a poetics and an autobiography of a poetic practice, and are an incredible entry (like the Adorno, like the Celan) into a poetics of space, movement, articulation, process, by a Canadian poet often underestimated.

Christian Hawkey | Ventrakl | Ugly Duckling | 2010

Trakl tracked and trailed by Hawkey, keenly on-key. Tremulous, lovely, Hawkey explores language’s strangeness by entering the foreign language—German, here—in its physicality and in its links with a human person, Georg Trakl, and another human person, Christian Hawkey. Curiously, as well, the book makes a lovely pairing with my own O Resplandor (also 2010). To enter the body of the other, by reading, in any language, making one’s own language strange.

Anxo Angueira and Teresa Bermúdez, eds. | Que lle podo ofrecer a quen me intente? un monográfico sobre Lois Pereiro | Xerais and U Vigo | 2011

A look at the work and life of the iconoclastic Galician poet Lois Pereiro (1958-1996) that includes an anthology of his poetry in translation, portraits of him by other writers, a transcript of a major reading he gave in A Coruña shortly before his death, critical articles, and new poems by others.

Meredith Quartermain | Recipes from the Red Planet | BookThug | 2010

These stories simply delighted me. Their broken turns of logic and semantics are lovely and reflect, somehow, the way I think. To read and reread.

Timothy Snyder | Bloodlands | Basic | 2011

The most comprehensive look at Eastern European 20th century history, at the turmoils, genocides, exclusions across an entire territory between Germany and Russia. A history that was kept from me, in any case, in school in Canada, and that, I suspect, is still not taught. Snyder’s book enables a new look at the area and will inspire future historians; a signal book.

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More Erín Moure here.

Moure’s Attention Span for 20102008. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2011 | David Dowker

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Will Alexander | Compression & Purity | City Lights | 2011

Caroline Bergvall | Meddle English | Nightboat | 2011

Michael Boughn | Cosmographia | BookThug | 2010 

Clark Coolidge | This Time We Are Both | Ugly Duckling | 2010

Robert Duncan, ed. Michael Boughn and Victor Coleman | The H.D. Book | California | 2011

William Fuller | Hallucination | Flood | 2011

Carla Harryman & Lyn Hejinian | The Wide Road | Belladonna | 2011

Susan Howe | That This | New Directions | 2010

Alice Notley | Culture of One | Penguin | 2011

George Quasha | Verbal Paradise | Zasterle | 2010

Leslie Scalapino | The Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom | Post-Apollo | 2010

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More David Dowker here.

Dowker’s Attention Span for 201020092008200720062005. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2011 | Julie Carr

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Jennifer Moxley | Coastal | The Song Cave | 2011

Brutally honest, and masterfully formed. It feels intimate and distant at once. I read it five times in a day trying to figure out how she strikes that balance.

Linda Norton | The Public Gardens | Pressed Wafer | 2011

I’ve been waiting for and needing this book for years. The voices of Boston and Brooklyn. Mixing genres sweetly, powerfully.

Dawn Lundy Martin | Discipline | Nightboat | 2011

One of the strongest uses of the prose poem I’ve seen maybe ever. Each page hits it.

John Keene | Annotations | New Directions | 1995

Gorgeous language. The sentence is played like a viola. Fast, unexpected, but deeply connected.

Michael Ondaatje | Coming Through the Slaughter | Vintage | 1976

Reading this for the first time. Stunned by the surprises of it, the shifting voices, and by its musicality.

Tim Roberts | Drizzle Pocket | Blazevox | 2011

Though I am married to the author, the book is by someone I only meet by reading it. Scary and great and unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

Noah Eli Gordon | The Source | Futurepoem | 2011

Though this is a procedural work, the poems press way beyond their method. This is my favorite of Noah’s books. It’s funny and sharp, but in many moments also quite meditative and moving.

Lydia Davis | The Collected Stories | Picador|  2010

This is the first time I’ve really gotten all the way into Lydia Davis, and I read every story in this 752 page book in three days. In my favorite ones, the speaker is estranged, lonely, and frightened. A good book to bring on a midlife crisis.

Caroline Bergvall | Reading at Naropa | Naropa SWP | 2010

Caroline’s new book, Meddle English (Nightboat, 2011), is amazing. But I am reporting on hearing her read from it. I would travel pretty far to hear her again. One of those readings that will stay with me a very long time. Life giving.

Eileen Myles | The Inferno | O/R Books | 2010

Um. Pure pleasure—and a little embarrassing to read on an airplane when someone’s looking over your shoulder.

Joseph Lease | Testify | Coffee House | 2011

I blurbed this book, so to paraphrase myself: political/personal poems that matter and sing. Tough and necessary.

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Julie Carr is the author of Sarah—Of Fragments and Lines and 100 Notes on Violence and co-publisher with Tim Roberts of Counterpath Press.

Carr’s Attention Span for 2010. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2009 – Scott Thurston

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Karen Mac Cormack | Implexures (Complete Edition) | Chax Press and West House Books | 2008

I’d read extracts from this project first in The Gig back in 2004, then got hold of the beautiful Chax / West House edition of the first nineteen parts published in 2003. Mac Cormack has written what she calls a ‘polybiography’, responding to a family history written by her great- aunt Susan Hicks Beach and letters to and from her own grandparents and parents, whilst traversing an extraordinary array of other discourses from post-structuralist theory to cultural history and etymology. At its launch in London in June 2008, Alan Halsey summed it up when he said it’s both not a big book and it is a big book because there’s a lot in it. This is a very rich text indeed.

Jennifer Moxley | Clampdown | Flood | 2009

I was first presented with this book by its author on a visit to Maine at Easter 2009 and my re-reading of it is even now bound up with that locale. Moxley continues her project of revivifying the lyric, and all that entails, in a collection of reflective poems on the possibilities that being both presents and denies us. Some of the poems here come on in a similar mode to Moxley’s autobiography The Middle Room in the way they handle experience and memory, and all the pieces have an understated technical assurance that constantly reminds one of the possibilities of language itself. I shall be re-reading these pieces for a long time to come: a phrase which stays with me is ‘my accuracy is unstable’.

Caroline Bergvall | Cropper | Torque Press | 2008

In common with the two previous titles, Bergvall’s book explores the autobiographical mode and is a story of her relationships with language(s) (French, Norwegian and English) and desire, and a demand that the body be heard in-between. The piece unsettles the English it is written in with orthographical, phonological and cross-linguistic play and also incorporates lines in Norwegian (the piece was a response to write a text in Norwegian, only partly met). However, it is also one of Bergvall’s most candid pieces to date – deepening my understanding of how the complex range of formal practices in her work all stem from the way in which she experiences herself as on the border of languages.

Andrea Brady | Wildfire: A Verse Essay on Obscurity and Illumination | Dispatx | 2006

This text has been online for some time and this indeed is its natural habitat as it was designed with a tapestry of hyperlinks woven in to indicate source materials, which are legion. As a way of revealing the compositional approach of the author, these links are very generous. That said, I found my encounter with the piece only really took off when I painstakingly cut and paste sections together to form a printable copy (I have admitted this to the author!). In this work Brady explores the history of Greek Fire as an analogue of the use of White Phosphorous in the attack on Fallujah in 2004. Thought through a trail of damages that includes the horrific treatment of phosphorous workers at a match factory in London’s East End, this is a highly political poem that is full of memorable and disquieting images. Still available online at dispatx.com.

Robert Musil, trans. Sophie Wilkins and Burton Pike | The Man Without Qualities | Picador | 1997

I’m still only about half way through this massive, unfinished novel, that I’ve been digesting in slow intense chunks over a six month period. This is a book often compared to Proust’s In Search of Lost Time or Joyce’s Ulysses, but to me it also illuminates and complements the works of two great C20th Polish novelists: Stanislaw Witkiewicz (Nienasycenie – Insatiability) and Witold Gombrowicz (several novels and the infamous Dziennik – Diary). Musil’s observational writing is superb but it is the way he handles the theme of cultural change which is totally fascinating and which makes the book seem fresh and relevant to our current predicaments. As Karen Mac Cormack has pointed out, at times it reads like a philosophical treatise.

James Lovelock | The Vanishing Face of Gaia: A Final Warning | Allen Lane | 2009

The creator of the Gaia hypothesis, a theory of the Earth as a physiological system, and inventor of the electron capture detector, Lovelock’s scientific credentials are second to none, which makes the impact of this book about as gloomy as can be imagined. Lovelock essentially argues that we need a shift in emphasis in green thinking from sustainability to managed retreat in the face of inevitable global climate change. This book cuts through much received thought about green issues, for example Lovelock is a strong advocate of nuclear power, and though doubtless raising as many problems as it ‘solves’ for the scientific community, to the lay reader this is urgent and important information.

Gil Ott | traffic | Chax Press | 2001

I first fell in love with Ott’s work when I read an extract from his Zasterle Press book The Whole Note on Silliman’s Blog. That was about as perfect a book I could imagine at the time and perhaps still is, though traffic is also remarkable. Complete with a generous preface (in content rather than length), this is a long slow burner that I seem to favour reading on trains at present. Each page has a short verse or verses then a space then a short prose paragraph at the bottom. Endlessly fascinating, meticulous and rewarding poetry: ‘this poem, the notebook open on the bed where you might find it. One is one alone, is one among others’.

Kevin Davies | Comp. | Edge Books | 2000

Miles Champion told me years ago I should read this, but I had to actually go to the United States to secure a copy (thanks Steve!). I’ve since learned that Davies has only published one book since so at least I’m not too far behind as this was a real wake-up call even nine years after its first publication. A review by Brian Kim Stefans noted Jeff Derksen’s use of the term ‘rearticulatory’ which seems to me the way to go in keeping a post-Language political critique alive and kicking. And this book definitely is. And hilarious: ‘Entropy is built into the chicken’!

Maggie O’Sullivan | Waterfalls | Etruscan Books | 2009-08-13

A handsome cloth-bound edition of pieces which I’d only previously read in photocopied pamphlet form. O’Sullivan’s stunning poems really benefit from resetting and the addition of colour to her images but they are as tantalisingly incantatory as ever, poems to spell with, to do ritual by: ‘DID YOU KNOW THE AIR – THE WASH OF HAZEL / MAPPED ON THE SWING OF HER SIGHT?’ Parts of the work are responses to the Irish Famine of 1845-52 and explore O’Sullivan’s own Irish roots.

Nicholas Johnson | SHOW | Etruscan Books | 2001

This book shows English verse music working to its full height and depth in long-lined long lyric poems which make the everyday world full of rich, almost mythic, potential. There are also voices here, heavily accented, speaking in dialect in a way which reminds me of the late, great Bill Griffiths, whose last book Johnson published with his own Etruscan press. The book closes with ‘The Margarete-Sulamith Cycles of Anselm Kiefer’ which responds to Celan’s ‘Todesfuge’ and is practically a sound poem.

Jacques Rancière, trans. Gabriel Rockhill | The Politics of Aesthetics | Continuum | 2008

I tend to read theory as poetics, for what can inform practice, and this was a productive encounter for me. I don’t know other works by Rancière although at times he seemed to be simply going over the commonplaces of postmodern theory, including ideas associated with Lyotard in particular, without acknowledgement. However, it is his notion of the ‘distribution of the sensible’ (le partage du sensible), a law that produces a system of self-evident facts of perception, that enables his assertion of the aesthetic dimension as inherent in any radical emancipatory politics, by ‘undoing the relations between the visible, the sayable and the thinkable.’

More Scott Thurston here.