Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

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Attention Span 2012 | Minal Singh, Kaveh Bassiri, and friends

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Jerome Rothenberg | 25 Caprichos a partir de Goya | Calamus Poesia

Mark Liedner| Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me | Factory Hollow

Joshua Edwards and Van Edwards | Campeche: Poems & Photographs | Noemi

Kim Gek Lin Short | China Cowboy | Tarpaulin Sky

Mary Jo Bang, trans. | Dante’s Inferno: A New Translation | Graywolf

Gina Abelkop | Darling Beastlettes | Apostrophe

Sommer Browning | Either Way I’m Celebrating | Birds LLC

Roger Sedarat | Ghazal Games | Ohio

Julian T. Brolaski | gowanus atropolis | Ugly Duckling

Andrea Rexilius | Half of What They Carried Flew Away | Letter Machine

Loren Erdrich and Sierra Nelson | I Take Back the Sponge Cake | Rose Metal 

Caroline Bergvall, Laynie Browne, Teresa Carmody, and Vanessa Place, eds. | I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women | Les Figues

Julia Bloch | Letters to Kelly Clarkson | Sidebrow 

Rebecca Lindenberg | Love, An Index | McSweeney’s

Brandon Shimoda | O Bon | Litmus

Tomaz Salamun | On the Tracks of Wild Game | Ugly Duckling

Matthew Henriksen | Ordinary Sun | Black Ocean

Dan Magers | Party Knife | Birds LLC | #

Eric Baus | Scared Text | Center for Literary Publishing

Raúl Zurita | Songs For His Disappeared Love | Action

Joshua Corey and G.C. Waldrep, eds. | The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral | Ahsahta 

Dot Devota | The Eternal Wall | Cannibal

Héctor Viel Temperley, trans. Stuart Krimko | The Last Four Books of Héctor Viel Temperley | Sand Paper

Joyelle McSweeney | The Necropastoral | spork 

Frances Richard | The Phonemes | Les Figues

Joseph Harrington | Things Come On: An Amneoir | Wesleyan

Dana Ward | This Can’t Be Life | Edge| $

Farid Matuk | This Isa Nice Neighborhood | Letter Machine

Noel Black Uselysses | Ugly Duckling | *

Anna Moschovakis | You and Three Others are Approaching A Lake | Coffee House


These titles were selected by

C. Violet Eaton
Chris Martin *
Douglas Hahn #
Jared White
Kaveh Bassiri
Mary Austin Speaker $
Minal Shekhawat
Robert Alan Wendeborn
Carrie Murphy
Rosa Alcala
Russel Swensen
Sara Nicholson
Steven Karl


* Microreview of Noel Black’s Uselysses (Ugly Duckling) by Chris Martin 

A much anticipated full-length debut, Black’s book enfolds libraries within its wings, which flap about on sonar-taut lines. It’s a book of friendship and derangement, hope and domestic adventure. It concludes with the New Narrative’s newest classic, “Prophecies for the Past,” which Kevin Killian called “the sort of reading experience they must have invented poetry for.” And Noel wrote that shit in prose.

 Chris Martin is the author of American Music (Copper Canyon 2007) and Becoming Weather (Coffee House 2011).

# Microreview of Dan Magers’ Party Knife (Birds LLC) by Doug Hahn 

Party Knife‘s poems are boiling with dark humor, quiet rage, and poignant sadness. They weave the conscious and unconscious with an Ashberian intensity that verges on schadenfreude, but in the end we glimpse the everyday sublime. On the surface level, these poems are very funny and very bizarre, but they are also fine examples of poetic form and do indeed have a profound overall meaning—this is what makes the book special to me: in a world filled with either self-important or glib post-MFA projects, here is a poet who excels at both entertainment and instruction. On a more personal note, I worked and lived as a poet in post-9/11 New York City for many years, and this is a book that embodies the artist’s experience in that horrible and amazing place in American time.

$ Microreview of Dana Ward’s This Can’t Be Life (Edge) by Mary Austin Speaker

The book that I anticipated most this year is Dana Ward’s This Can’t Be Life, published by Edge Books. Typing Wild Speech, Dana’s excellent chapbook, is included here in full and bowled me over just as much as it did the first time I heard him read from it. To hear Dana read, or to read him on the page, is to hear the unflinching inner monologue of someone who prizes social interaction as much as the drive to make art and is as exploratory in each endeavor. “Take for instance the notion of ‘poet.’ I’ve allowed a lot of myth to hold sway over how I perform that for myself. . . . How to be ‘poet,’ ‘partner,’ ‘good friend,’ on & on. How resolve all this practical alienation,” he writes, fully aware of both the banalities (with which he quickly dispatches) and the moral consequences of asking such a question. It’s brave, totally compelling writing, and beyond that, it is joyful and anxious and stylish and very, very smart.

Mary Austin Speaker is the author of the chapbooks The Bridge (Push Press, 2011) and 20 Love Poems for 10 Months (forthcoming from Ugly Duckling); a collaborative play, I am You This Morning You Are Me Tonight, written with her husband, poet Chris Martin; and the forthcoming full-length collection, Ceremony, due out in 2013 from Slope Editions.


Return to 2012 directory.

Written by Steve Evans

December 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Attention Span 2012 | Joseph Mosconi

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Brandon Brown | The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus | Krupskaya | 2011

Brian Kim Stefans, ed. | The LA Telephone Book, Vol. 1| Free Downloadable PDF | 2012

Andrew Choate | Stingray Clapping | Insert Blanc | 2012

Kate Durbin | E! Entertainment | Insert Blanc | 2012

David Graeber | Debt: The First 5,000 Years | Melville House | 2011

Ariana Reines | Mercury | Fence | 2012

Adam Pendleton | grey-blue grain | Kunstverein | 2010

Alexis Smith | Alone | Self-Published | 2012

Donato Mancini | Fact ‘N’ Value | Fillip Editions | 2011

Corina Copp | Pro Magenta/Be Met | Ugly Duckling | 2011


Joseph Mosconi co-edits Area Sneaks (currently on hiatus). With Ara Shirinyan & Andrew Maxwell he co-directs the Poetic Research Bureau in Los Angeles. He is the author of WORD SEARCH (OMG! 2010), But On Geometric (Parrot, Insert Blanc, 2010), and Galvanized Iron on the Citizens’ Band (PRB, 2009). His book Fright Catalog is forthcoming on Inset Blanc Press.

Joseph Mosconi’s contributions to Attention Span for 2009, 2006, 2005. Return to 2012 directory.

Written by Steve Evans

December 9, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Attention Span 2012 | Lauren Levin

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Michelle Alexander | The New Jim Crow | New Press | 2010
Ruth Gilmore | Golden Gulag | California | 2007
Jonathan Simon | Governing Through Crime | Oxford | 2007

Three powerful lenses on the prison-industrial complex. Prisons, policing, and surveillance as the racist legacy of Jim Crow laws, re-tooled for a supposedly colorblind age. Prisons as California political economy, warping the landscape. And finally, the rhetoric of “crime” as neoliberal governing paradigm, with the victim enthroned as paradigmatic figure in a culture of fear. I want to read these three again in 2013.

Lauren Berlant | Cruel Optimism | Duke | 2011
Lauren Berlant | Supervalent Thought | Ongoing

“A relation of cruel optimism exists when something you desire is actually an obstacle to your flourishing.” Cruel Optimism is the best kind of political education: patient and compassionate; rigorous and unflinching. I might love Lauren Berlant’s blog Supervalent Thought even more. If only because, like optimism and history, Supervalent Thought is still being written.

Corina Copp | Pro Magenta/Be Met | Ugly Duckling | 2011
Jacqueline Waters | One Sleeps the Other Doesn’t | Ugly Duckling | 2011

These two genius books arrive, arrows from the depths of the mystery of poetry, and I’m slain. PS – One Sleeps the Other Doesn’t showcases the best Punxsutawney Phil poem ever written in the history of humanity.

Samuel R. Delany | Times Square Red, Times Square Blue | NYU | 1999
Martha Rosler | Culture Class: Art, Creativity, Urbanism | e-flux | 2011

Samuel R. Delany’s classic on urban space, on contact vs. networking, on public sex as opportunity for cross-class communication, on gentrification. Plus, Martha Rosler’s three recent e-flux essays on the “creative class” and the transnational city as depoliticized pleasure dome. Read together, these two projects were an endlessly provocative utopia / dystopia—troubling the right to the city.

Lara Durback | Projectiles | NoNo | 2012
Sara Larsen | All Revolutions Will Be Fabulous | Ypolita | Forthcoming, 2012
Alli Warren | Personal Poem | City Lights | Forthcoming, 2013

This has been quite a year. Often events outpaced poetry. But, I heard Sara Larsen say “Hunger is free.” Alli Warren said “Lust before dishonor.” And Lara Durback told me, “I didn’t hold any of my own possessions. First I just didn’t have them. Later I rejected property.” Readings by these three scrambled my atoms when I needed it.

Samantha Giles | Deadfalls and Snares | Futurepoem | Forthcoming, 2012

Tender, pained, at times brutal work on (among other issues of empire) the Abu Ghraib tortures. This book re-sees, from many angles, the suffering muted by discourse and mediation. It’s tied, for me, to my first experience of it, at a reading organized by kathryn l. pringle. I wish I could hear all books of poetry read aloud and then talk about them with a group of thoughtful friends and strangers.

Brenda Iijima | Untimely Death Is Driven Beyond the Horizon | Unpublished MS

Antigone enters. Pesticides, eco-cide. a guiding conversation with Leslie Scalapino and the beloved dead. The drone poem and the brain-body of the dancer. This dense, velvety and deeply charged writing is a timely call and warning: also a furnace of the imagination. It “plunges the brain into darkness where it doesn’t fester.”

Killer Mike | R.A.P. Music | Williams Street Records | 2012

Reagan is a tendency. And this Killer Mike album is a testament.

Jared Stanley | The Weeds | Salt | 2012

Poems, like the tenacious weeds themselves, insist on the animist “intelligence of a disturbed earth.” Pathos, cynicism, and wit: or, “What is it you do with your skin / fuckorama worldly knives?”

Dan Thomas-Glass | The Great American Beat-Jack Volume 1 | Perfect Lovers | 2012

This exquisite object has to be held to be believed, and has to be spiraled to be read. And then there’s the poetry. I love Dan Thomas-Glass’s music, his honesty, and his tireless explorations of community, memory, gender roles, and the future—embodied in his daughters Sonia and Alma, and in political hope.


Lauren Levin is from New Orleans and lives in Oakland. She wrote Working (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs), Song (The Physiocrats), Keenan (Lame House Press) and Not Time (Boxwood Editions). Recent work appears or will appear in OMG, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Rethinking Marxism, 1913, and Catch-Up, and critical essays on Anne Boyer & Stephanie Young, and Brent Cunningham, are in Lana Turner Online. She co-edits the Poetic Labor Project blog and the journal Mrs. Maybe.

This is Lauren Levin’s first contribution to Attention Span. Return to 2012 directory.

Written by Steve Evans

December 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm