Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Clover

Attention Span 2011 | Jeanine Webb

leave a comment »

Joshua Clover | Fragment on the Machine | Handmade chapbook, 4 poems plus translations into French by Abigail Lang | 2011

“Gilded Age”’s throwdown aphorisms: “The best poetry will have contempt for its era but so will the worst” ; “it must align itself with work—meaning hatred/of work—it must desire/change so much it is accused of being in love/with annihilation.” Dante’s Francesca in the whirlwind of the Inferno’s 5th Canto illumed as the subject of circulation of capital, of love’s inability to fully remove us from this peregrination (Yeats, yes), where we are caught “sweet with longing” as “downwards to darkness/on extended credit” we fall, the industries of the empire abandoned massively still shining on the farther shore of the crisis—

Brian Ang | Paradise Now | grey book | 2011

Lenin horizontal, orgies on acid, free education Pavlovas, FLCL metabeer, bankrupt Chocobos anniliate the banks, and you know, cats. Receive +3 Intellect. Bitey. Ang,: “My poems disturb myself.” Perhaps an increasingly worthy aspiration.

Claude Closky | Les miens suivi de Biennales | Éditions Al Dante | 2009

Conceptual French poet uses celebrity names as raw material for sonnets in alexandrines, then juxtaposes them to poems formed in the same way from the names of artists from the Biennales. Surprising wit and pleasure quotient gained in reading them.

Uyen Hua | a/s/l | ingirumimusnocteetconsumimurigni | 2011

Age, sex, location. Melancholy, dendrital, funny-ass remix that understands our divided hearts, and keeps our constellations while avoiding mere glibdom (Lil Wayne approached like a pietà, heartfelt dreams involving Kevin Spacey, bombs in Kandahar mixed with tabloid hot or not sorrows). The “fee” one “pays to Mary J. Blige.” These are “songs about us.” “sometimes you just have to shrug/ put the record on repeat.” Dude, it’s so like that. Everyone I know is already imitating her, she’s that good. ❤

Chris Nealon | Plummet | Edge | 2009

Dear Chris Nealon, I can read this book again and again. And have this year. You make my trips to the drugstore so much better because I think of your lines on “pure despair.” It’s a groove. “If you treat the day as a melody, is that a kind of friendliness? Or text – is genre friendly?” I’m happy to dance to this workable theory up in da club. “Future anterior, hey/I’m running a little late” The system (thankfully) is still breaking down.

Juliana Spahr & Stephanie Young | A Megaphone | ChainLinks | 2011

Welcome outpouring of shiny ludic incisiveness and awful fact. Rhizomatic tentacled global hybridity and voices of women on their poetry communities and projects. Expansive, best read in doses, to my mind. Feels productively circular. Includes Spahr’s and Young’s great essay from 2007, “Numbers Trouble,” the importance of which 2010’s VIDA study again affirmed, to our dismay and ongoing critique.

K. Lorraine Graham | Terminal Humming | Edge | 2009

Honeycombs of zircon bureaucracy and power beeswax in the passive servomechanisms and pentagons. “I was a very minor missionary, actually a heretic, but I toiled/wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was funfunfun.” Ready to bloodlet (blow up) through lacrosse (soup and salad) and an axe (automatic shredder) and go with produce bounce (get potassium). “Schizoid and hermetic.” Incandescent anger illuminates a lot for the ALIVE. “Missing trains, feeling wild in empty transit gates.”; “Female/until further notice.”

Tu Fu, tr. David Hinton | The Selected Poems of Tu Fu | New Directions | 1989

For when the crows come in from far capitals and tumbleweeds skip over the wells. “Mountain yellows fall. Startled I call out to my son Are there northern winds?” We are facing snow. “There isn’t time for new dikes. Enlisting /Mu Wang’s turtles and crocodiles is impossible.” The moaning of painted horns, will it ever stop? “Let’s talk things over, little buds—open delicately, sparingly.”

Frank O’Hara | manuscript translation of Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (A throw of the dice will never abolish chance) | unknown date

Wouldn’t you like to know! The text’s a continuous block with no forced carriage returns or lineation, though Mallarmé’s capitals are retained. It is my conviction that this intrapoet formal denial experiment produces a new kind of beauty all compact. Writing about it, when I can. It’s like two of the hot poets I love having sex in my mind because and well furthermore that’s what is IS.

Kevin Killian | Action Kylie | ingirumimusnocteetconsumimurigni | 2008

Glitter hymn and invocation to the “secret understanding” of fan and diva, touched by “cold, hard” tears. A “secret understanding” that is also like “E.M. Forster’s concept of homosexuality as a willed gift.” Also, more, you know, cats.

Sandra Simonds | Warsaw Bikini | Bloof | 2008

I read at least one half of this on the beach in Kona in a bikini. The semantics are aggregrated gloriously and constantly threaten to deforest themselves. Or hammerhead shark-attack themselves. Plathian and Beckettish in the most brainy and sinister sense: manic nursery rhymes and the social contaminations, water wasps, the awful Doctor Dura Mater undercarriage.

§

Jeanine Webb’s poems have appeared in many journals, most recently in ARMED CELL, with two poems forthcoming in Lana Turner. Her essay on celebrity and poetics will appear in Tripwire. She helps organize San Diego’s Agitprop reading series and edits the cartonera-style journal TACOCAT. 

Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2011 | Joshua Clover

leave a comment »

Bruno Bosteels | The Actuality of Communism | Verso | 2011

A fantastically useful orientation guide for the recent boom in political theory: Ranciere, Moreiras, Badiou, Zizek, various others. I can’t say I share the basic supposition, regarding the virtue of formalizations of concepts which attend the non-abstract problem of state form. But I was grateful to understand a bunch of stuff much better after reading.

Silvia Federici | Caliban and the Witch | Autonomedia | 2004

We read this book in reading group in the summer; I was interested to discover that many others’ experiences of it were quite different from mine. Someone took it as a defense of witchiness, rather than a history of how the conjured threat of feminine dark magic served as pretext to dispossess and discipline women. Well okay. But I have been pretty obsessed with revisiting the Italian Marxist feminists; while it seems to me more and more that their male comrades (Negri, Virno, Marazzi) got really crucial things wrong, they themselves were making some of the great breakthroughs of the era, ones that are with us more than ever, I think.

Jean-Marie Gleize | Tarnac, un acte préparatoire | Seuil | 2011

What poetry should be doing, if one is willing to submit to the ambiguous discipline of the word “should.”

David Harvey | Enigma of Capital | Oxford | 2010

Basically a primer version of the longer and more ambitious Limits to Capital, attempting to recast it along the lines of his Brief Introduction to Neoliberalism. And indeed it is lucid, clear, systematic, and persuasive: a nice reminder that spending decades thinking about a problem set can lead to refinement and immediacy of ideas rather than the opposite. In that sense it’s like a refutation of the idea of “Late Style.” But actually I miss the grander version: in the condensation and reader-friendliness of this account, certain explanations of causality within the dynamic of capital become too clear, too one-directional, less dialectical, and even sometimes mistaken. Of little matter. The best recent guide to the most complex man-made object in the word, endlessly useful, and with luck it will lead readers to the fuller and more frustratingly suspended—and finally more adept—versions.

Uyen Hua | a / s / l (age / sex / location) | ingirumimusnocteetsonsumimurigni | 2011

Tao Lin with a soul, albeit a fascinating and strange one, provisionally new.

Ke$ha | Animal | RCA | 2010

Vomiting up tequila and glitter.

Christopher Nealon | The Matter of Capital | Harvard | 2011

It is a delight to watch this book become influential, not because it deserves it—it does—but because it is clearly advancing the conversation.

Pasolini | In Danger: A Pasolini Anthology | City Lights | 2010

Pasolini! who had to leave the communist party to be a better communist! Reading this I was reminded of “On A Generation That Squandered Its Poets,” and how we tend to think of that essay as concerning how communism ruined, wasted, and killed its blindingly beautiful writers—until we revisit the essay, and rediscover that the story it tells of Mayakovsky unfolds his misery arising from the failure of the revolution to be communist enough, the ways that it stopped short, blunted itself, made concessions, quit the promise of its total radicality. Also, a couple of the Pasolini poems are translated by Jonathan Richman, which is just the oddest thing in the world. Trying to parse the subterranean connection between the atmospheres of Friulia and the summer air of Route 128 when it’s late an night is a real mindfuck.

Arthur Rimbaud trans. John Ashbery | Illuminations | Farrar | 2011

I haven’t read this yet but I’m sure it’s great.

McKenzie Wark | The Beach Beneath the Street | Verso | 2011

There is some sense now that histories of the Situationist International are like Harry Potter fanfic; the main impulse is to sustain the imagined experience of life in that bohemian Hogwarts of the group’s milieu in a neighborhood or two in mid-century Paris. The vital difference is that there is a self-reflexive claim here about what the imagination might be for, other than self-sustaining profitability.

Ellen Willis | Out of the Vinyl Deeps | Minnesota | 2010

“Willis’s music writing was clear and direct, without gamesmanship, but never one-dimensional. No one had previously captured the nuanced double motion in which rock could generate untold pleasures, presentiments of freedom and equality and unfettered sexuality—but could never escape the gravity of the exclusions and inequities and unacknowledged labor on which it depended. This dialectical conception of the world and its workings can be as every bit as revolutionary as rock, the last great invention of the postwar boom.”

§

Joshua Clover is a Professor of English Literature at University of California Davis. He is currently at work on a book tentatively entitled The Epic of Capital, bringing together the study of poetry with contemporary political economy, and finishing a poetry collection called Tranche/Syntagma.

Clover’s Attention Span for 2008, 2007, 2006, 20052004, 2003. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2011 | Brian Ang

with 3 comments

Alain Badiou | Conditions | Continuum | 2008

The best introduction to Badiou’s system as immediately useful for literary criticism, due to its accessible thematic organization around Badiou’s four truth procedures of poetry, mathematics, politics, and love: an opening parry and complement to the denser Being and Event. I’ve found Badiou and the strength of his system, as a philosopher proper, to be a cleansing challenge to post-structuralist and Marxist tenets grown dogmatic: philosophy restores contextual problematics to conclusions simplified into the present.

Calvin Bedient & David Lau, eds. | Lana Turner 3 | 2010

A wealth of emergent ideas pursued all year: I’ve returned the most to David Lau and Joshua Clover’s works, and Ben Lerner, Marjorie Perloff, and Gopal Balakrishnan’s works were also highlights. Lana Turner’s sustained editorial argument achieves a hybridism with the capacity to take a stand.

Alastair Brotchie & Harry Mathews, eds. | Oulipo Compendium | Make Now | 2005

Editor Ara Shirinyan gave me the Make Now catalogue when I visited Los Angeles in June. A trove to the endurance of form and stalwart ideas, and an historical authority behind the wager of contemporary conceptual writing.

Joshua Clover | Fragment on the Machine | self-published | 2011

An occasional pamphlet made for the “Can Art and Politics Be Thought?” conference in Los Angeles in June in an edition of 50. Contains Clover’s recent poems “Gilded Age,” “In the City It Was Warmer,” “Poem (Oh capital let’s kiss and make up)” and “Years of Analysis for a Day of Synthesis” in English and French. The first and last were published in Lana Turner 3 and 2 respectively. Clover’s recent poems are his best and most urgent.

Benjamin Friedlander | Period Piece | porci con le ali | 1998

I had correspondence of poems and thoughts with Ben this year and among items received was this poetic tribute to San Francisco Bay Area Language poetry as he knew it. It was a fascinating reading experience, for the effects of Ben’s Bay Area moment are strongly sedimented in the present Bay Area in which I live. It was a helpful work in thinking about historical cultural sediment in both spatial specificity and concept and an affirmation of how poems are a uniquely maximal form of communication over time’s milieus.

Richard Kempton | Provo: Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt | Autonomedia | 2007

Read as part of the suggested material for Joshua Clover and Juliana Spahr’s Durruti Free Skool, along with Raul Zibechi’s Dispersing Power: Social Movements as Anti-State Forces and the East Bay Skool specific complement, Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch. I found this book to be the most directly useful of the materials to the immediate situation by the Provo anarchists’ similarity of environment of a modern city and their insistence on playful insurrectionary performance art. It was also a reminder of the importance of a rigorous theoretical understanding of material conditions: the Provos proved not to be sustainable past the exuberance of their moment without a program.

Ron Silliman | The Alphabet | Alabama | 2008

Silliman’s works take such a commitment to read, their experiences are unforgettable and permanently transformative. In the pressure chambers of Silliman’s works, some sentences only read once have echoed in my head for years. Preparing for and presenting at Louis Cabri’s Alphabet symposium in March gave me the necessary energy to finish this. I can’t think of any other book in which time-congealed labor is so palpable in every sentence.

Brian Kim Stefans | Viva Miscegenation | Insert | 2010

I received Insert Press’ PARROT chapbooks nos. 4-7 from editor Mathew Timmons when he read in my apartment in May, and I’ve returned the most to this one. Stefans leans more toward his Ashbery inclinations than his Bernstein ones here, subordinating thickness of language to making an antechamber of communication toward the ineffable importance of a potential recipient, striking an exceptional pleasurable organization between intimate address and expansive play.

Dan Thomas-Glass, ed. | With + Stand 5 | self-published | 2011

Thomas-Glass’ generous experimental sensibility and DIY community sensitivity capture the organic ambiance of the moment and let the spray paint and duct tape dangle. This latest issue is the densest yet and a rich document of the year.

Tiqqun | Call | 2004

I hosted several Talk events at my apartment this year and this was distributed at one of them for discussion. I’ve found the Tiqqun texts stimulating for redeploying Situationist-style energy out from historical contemplation back into urgency in confronting contemporary particulars. Contentions with and lessons from Tiqqun have been immediately contributive in recent activist movements, including for student activists engaged in and coming out of current Californian public education struggles.

Barrett Watten, ed. | THIS 9-12 | THIS | 1979-1982

Barrett gave me these when we both attended the Alphabet symposium in March. It’s moving to read the major poems of Language poetry of the period, including Tjanting, a.k.a., “I Guess Work the Time Up,” and Four Lectures, in their first appearances and organization through Barrett’s visionary editing.

§

Brian Ang is the author of Communism (Berkeley Neo-Baroque, 2011) and Paradise Now (Grey Book Press, 2011) and the editor of ARMED CELL. Starting in October he will be a Guest Commentator on the PennSound archive for Jacket2. He lives in Oakland, California.

Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Allyssa Wolf

leave a comment »

Teresa Carmody, Vanessa Place, and Christine Wertheim, eds. | Feminaissance | Les Figues | 2010

everyone has his reason, That’s what’s terrible

Luce Irigaray | Elemental Passions | Routledge | 1992

Boris Groys | The Weak Universalism | online here

Mark Wallace | Felonies Of Illusion | Edge | 2008

Joshua Clover | 1989: Bob Dylan Didn’t Have This To Sing About | California | 2009

More Allyssa Wolf here. Her Attention Span for 2009, 2008. Back to directory.

Written by Steve Evans

September 21, 2010 at 10:51 am

Attention Span 2009 – Andrew Epstein

leave a comment »

Roberto Bolano | The Savage Detectives | FSG | 2007

As many others have said, this novel has to be one of the most exhilarating, devastating, exhausting, and revealing accounts to be found of avant-garde poetry and the movements that sustain it – the avant-garde as dream, as farce, as tragedy, as inspiring coterie and impossible community, tantalizing possibility and heart-breaking, inevitable failure. “The problem with literature, like life, said Don Crispín, is that in the end people always turn into bastards.”

Jack Spicer, ed. Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian | My Vocabulary Did This To Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer | Wesleyan University Press | 2008

“I gave you my imaginary hand and you give me your imaginary hand and we walk together (in imagination) over the earthly ground.” Such a beautiful, and beautifully edited, book. The early work, like Spicer himself, feels suddenly indispensable. “Plague took us and the land from under us, / Rose like a boil, enclosing us within.”

Lisa Robertson | The Weather | New Star Books | 2001

“Days heap upon us,” Robertson writes. As do words, well-turned, elusive, gorgeous, consistently surprising, like days themselves. “A slight cloud drifts contrary to the planet; the day might be used formally to contain a record of idleness… It is the clear, magnificent, misunderstood morning; we pick up the connections.”

David Shapiro | New and Selected Poems (1965-2006) | Overlook Press | 2007.

A radiant gathering: always surprising and strange, mournful, playful, and wise. “Thus, in presenting sleep // The poem must leap over the cut-offs. / You see clearly in a revolution, // Look down and notice how you have slept.” … “Out of the pills and the pencils, out of toothbrushes and night guards, out of CDs and Altoids, out of feathers and staplers, out of time clocks and syllabi, out of tissues and scissors, nothing straight has ever been made.”

Gabriel Gudding | Rhode Island Notebook | Dalkey Archive Press | 2007

This is a seriously big, seriously funny book: ambitious and capacious, sharp-eyed and dangerous (at least to other drivers on the road). “Very hazy / the bug splats collect & remark / upon the butterscotch light / of the sun directly / ahead. The corn stands in lines of / musketeers row upon rank / : It is late corn. It is late. / At 5:47 PM the sun is a / sharper orange, juicier. Then it pales.// What strange fate light is here: as if / a pig is coming out of the sun instead of / sunlight. what white, fat, changing light.”

Alice Notley | Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems: 1970-2005 | Wesleyan University Press | 2006.

Like the other large selecteds here, this volume is such a welcome, generous bringing together. “Your Dailiness, / I guess I must address you / begin and progress somewhat peculiarly, wanting / not afraid to be anonymous, to love what’s at hand / I put out a hand, it’s sewn & pasted hingewise & / enclosed in cover. I’m 27 and booked …”

Katie Degentesh | The Anger Scale | Combo Books | 2006

Flarf is trying to break your heart. “I hated my mother for hating cats / but I wanted her to live, and I knew that // in this era of navel gazing, / it was my navel she was always gazing at. // After mastering the rules of grammar / she was like a ghost to all my friends // No one felt they had the right to have her committed / while baking cookies.”

Ron Silliman | The Age of Huts (compleat) | University of California Press | 2007
Ron Silliman |
The Alphabet | University of Alabama Press | 2008.

A remarkable, inexhaustible achievement. “Ketjak,” like the rest of the works in these books, has a rare quality: addictive and good for you at the same time. “The form itself is the model of a city, extension, addition, modification.”

Carole Maso | The Art Lover | New Directions | 2006 [reprint, 1991]

“I am a lover of detail, a marker—it’s a way of keeping the world in place. One documents, makes lists to avoid becoming simply petals. I am like you, Max: a looker, an accountant, a record keeper, a creator of categories, a documenter. For evidence, I rip flyers from telephone poles, save every scrap of paper I get. Listen carefully. Organize. Reorganize.”

James Schuyler | Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler, 1951-1991 | Turtle Point Press | 2004

A wonderful trove of chatter, wit, news, and aperçus. “December in New York is one big mess. Everybody gets drunk too much: Mike Goldberg looks gray and shaky; New York looks bright and shaky; Frank, I’m sorry to say, looks gray and shaky. Write him plenty heap big buck-up notes and postals; Xmas is depressing for some of us deracine Christians.”

Joshua Clover | The Totality for Kids | University of California Press | 2006

Under the paving stones, the city! But it’s another city, a shattered and shattering place which Clover discovers to be where we already are living: “City which is / A love letter. Interior to that, / City emerging naked from the white / Indifferences of winter. City / Once hidden in the library and now / Drowsing in the sleep of the collective.” “Say hello to the generation that burned itself in effigy.”

More Andrew Epstein here.

Attention Span 2009 – Michael Scharf

with one comment

Ange Mlinko | assorted reviews in The Nation

Best Seidel takedown ever.  Better than the Possum Pouch essay claiming Seidel for Flarf.

Douglas Rothschild | Theogony | subpress | 2009

Truer than Williams or Olson. Half a Hesiodic Janus-face (with Luoma’s Works & Days). The great book of turn-of-the-century New York.

Jane Dark’s sugarhigh! | October 1, 2008 thru June 13, 2009 | janedark.com

Joshua Clover | poems read on May 13, 2008 at Princeton

Compiled the above set of entries into a PDF (minus a few things), resulting in le livre de la crise, a book of exquisite exposition. The poems, some written before Fall 2008, promise definitiveness of a different order.

Jeet Thayil, ed. | The Bloodaxe Book of Contemporary Indian Poets | Bloodaxe | 2008

Great love and side-taking. Can sense many poems behind the choices even if I can’t see them, and can also catch sight of the social formations behind them (in a way that I haven’t for 20th C. Canada, Britain, Australia and related diasporim). Not the place to read Kolatkar and others for the first time, but for me the place, transformatively, to read Gopal Honnalgere for the first time.

John Ashbery | Collected Poems 1956-1987 | Library of America | 2008

The 12 poems of Rivers and Mountains take on a momentous scale and aspect, with “Clepsydra” and “The Skaters” as oeuvre prisms: light enters them in spectra, and leaves in lines (of what is to come). Double Dream as the best book of Fall 2008 (“Soonest Mended”; “Decoy”; “Definition of Blue”).

Jordan Davis | Reading at the Zinc Bar with George Stanley and Chris Nealon | May 15, 2009

This seemed to take place in bullet time.

Josef Kaplan | Our Heavies | chapbook | 2009

T-Pain presents The 1990s, a bildungsroman.

Juliana Spahr | “The Incinerator” | Lana Turner | 2008

Total destruction of the pathetic fallacy.

Kevin Killian | Action Kylie | ingirumimusnocteetconsumimurigni | 2008

She stands, at 5′ 1”, like Donatello’s David, hand on cocked hip, sword resting at waist, hat pulled low. Seconds until the voice comes in, on, over. Each death and loss adds to its saturate. It sings through (“spell it ‘galaxie'”) life, this unbearably beautiful book its form. Icon incarnations as multiply era-synechdochic; metamorphoses as mirror; close encounters as abrasions, as identifications, interstices, and interpellations (“the magnificent instability of the sign”). Attack, Sustain, Decay, Release.

Kunwar Narayan, trans. from Hindi by Apurva Narayan | No Other World: Selected Poems | Rupa | 2008

Xi Chuan, trans. from Mandarin by Arthur Sze | “On Wang Ximeng’s Blue and Green Horizontal Landscape Scroll, A Thousand Miles of Rivers and Mountains” | Boston Review 34.3 | May-June 2009

Hans Varghese Mathews | “Words and Picturables: Image and Perlocution in English Verse” | Phalanx 3 | http://www.phalanx.in

The Almost Island conference in Delhi this past February (curated by Bei Dao, Sharmistha Mohanty, and Vivek Narayanan) brought together poets from China and India for a multi-day set of dialogues, visits, and retreats. (Gist: movement, led by Ashis Nandy, toward some meanings for India and China as “civilizations,” in senses that avoided much that is either discursively co-opted or out-of-bounds.) Kunwar Narayan and Xi Chuan read together the first night. I’ve lent away my copies of No Other World, but Narayan is considered to be, and felt like, a Stevens-caliber figure, a poet whose subtlety matches the stakes of the Hindutva era. Xi Chuan, part of the circle of poets associated with Bei Dao’s journal Jintian (founded in 1978), read a selection of poems that included “Wang Ximeng”; the poem seemed a reply to “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” with society as self. I agreed with Hans Mathews, one of the respondents, that it seemed to destroy the framing of the event; Mathews’s own essay contains a phenomenal phenomenology of the poetic image.

Roberto Calasso | The Forty-Nine Steps | Minnesota | 2001

Brilliant on Nietzsche. Devastating on Brecht (while preserving the poems). Stirner, Schreber, Wedekind all also here, and Benjamin. The best possible antidote for George Steiner. Calasso’s Ka also a great restorative following unreadable translations of the Mahabharata.

More Michael Scharf here.

Featured Title – Golden Age of Paraphernalia by Kevin Davies

leave a comment »

Kevin Davies | The Golden Age of Paraphernalia | Edge | 2008 | Goodreads | LibraryThing | 7 mentions in Attention Span 2008

davies-paraphernaliaSharp, witty, incisive—this book has a lot to keep me busy. The prosody (the driving issue for this reader) catches my eye because Davies has a lot of textured variation. The main thrust, so to speak, of the poet’s concerns is contemporary social commentary, and this commentary is rich and informed. But it’s the reoccurring pig image/references that hooked me! Since I’ve been out of the country for so long, Davies is a wonderful discovery. (Dawn Michelle Baude)

Lovers of late JA meanderings through pre-code detritus who look to counter other lovers’ complaints about cut & pasteability will find, here, that reading each section ‘in order’, or continuously across the breaks and gaps, makes the book lose part of its meaning. The obsessive superfineries of the arrangement, shorn against undoing, and the intricate intactness of “Lateral Argument” underscore the point perfectly: within a supersaturate, none of the pieces fit. The author also wishes to inform you that Stephane was wrong about the book/bombe; the blank page 68 is a comment on the French. (Michael Scharf)

O’Hara said that Whitman , Crane and Williams were the only American poets who were better than the movies, but today, in a world with Apocalypto and 3-D Imax Beowulf, only Kevin Davies is better than the movies. Maybe you’re in it for the giddy surprise of a turned phrase. Maybe you’re in it for the zonked formal apparatus (“floaters”?). Maybe you just want to drink a Corona and take pot shots at the government. Anyway you want it, that’s the way I need it. More than one Davies book a decade? Yes, please. (Stephen Zultanski)

The benefit of Edge being a little shambling in their publication schedule is that I have gotten to put some version of this book on the Attention Span list for eleven consecutive years. For all the magnificent of the parts (with Lateral Argument still magnificentest), the book is the thing: an overlapping structure which asks you ceaselessly to reevaluate the scale of parts and wholes, to read every passage as an ambiguous instance shifting within a structure within a circuit. In this sense it’s a triumph of thinking globalization/late capitalism/the lives within it, comparable only to the markedly different Kala, M.I.A.’s album which nonetheless takes up very much the same problem, about the representability of part and whole in the world-system. Or: it’s basically the soundtrack for Mike Davis’s World of Slums. In making a mystified situation experienceable —in this case the circuits of economy, terror, epidemic, and culture that form what we call globalization—it stands with any work of art this millennium. (Joshua Clover)

Also mentioned by Rod Smith, Dana Ward, and David Dowker.

Written by Steve Evans

May 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm