Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Posts Tagged ‘Laura Moriarty

Attention Span 2011 | Suzanne Stein

leave a comment »

Brian Whitener | False Intimacy | Trafficker | 2011

Erika Staiti | In the Stitches | Trafficker | 2011

Dana Ward | Cory Arcangel’s “All the Parts from Simon and Garfunkel’s 1984 Central Park Performance Where Garfunkel Sings with His Hands in His Pocket” | Open Space, the SFMOMA blog | November 10, 2010

Kaja Silverman | Flesh of My Flesh| Stanford | 2009

Barrett Watten | Total Syntax | Southern Illinois | 1985

§

There are some other things I loved this year also. Laura Moriarty’s | A Tonalist | (Nightboat Books | 2010). David Brazil’s | yo! eos! | (Neo-Baroque, 2011). Sara Larsen’s | The Hallucinated (cannot exist, 2011). I stopped going to poetry readings at the beginning of November. I read The Coming Insurrection. I remembered I went to work in an art museum because I love the way I feel when I am looking at paintings, so I looked at a lot of paintings. I read The Handbook of Poetic Forms. I watched Gena Rowlands in Opening Night again and I bought the John Cassavetes | Five Films box set from The Criterion Collection | 2004. I went to the Bancroft Library for the first time. I listened to Stephen Cope’s | Conference of the Birds | podcasts. I went to Detroit. I stopped in Boston, Baltimore, and Denver. I went to Maine. I visited the Kabuki Hot Springs eight times. I read The Painting of Modern Life. I didn’t go to the office on a lot of Fridays. I looked at a calendar chronology of Duchamp. I bought a rotary telephone and a Sunday subscription to the New York Times. “No knows where that humming is coming from; one could not stop it if one tried.” (Barrett Watten, Total Syntax, 1985.)

§

Suzanne Stein is a poet. She works currently as community producer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, editing the museum’s online magazine, Open Space, and organizing a variety of talk- and conversation-based programs. She lives in Oakland. Stein’s Attention Span for 20102009. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Brent Cunningham

leave a comment »

Mel Nichols | Catalytic Exteriorization Phenomenon | Edge | 2009

The title of Nichols’s book, to my ear, indicates a kind of linguistic density that actually the poems inside don’t much have—instead you get poems of such emotional authority and seriousness of purpose that immediately I was ready to go anywhere with them. There’s lightness and levity as well, lots, but it’s in the refreshing context of feeling like the poet really, deeply knows what she’s doing, I mean really. Even the formal moves, the spacing, leaving phrases off in space, composition by field and the like, has a kind of rightness and intentionality to it that I don’t often accept so unquestionly. This is the kind of book I take around with me to remind me how to write as well as how to read. What else can I say? I know it came out last year and was mentioned often then, but I just love this book

Aaron Kunin | The Sore Throat & Other Poems | Fence | 2010

A lot of writers are influnced by philosophy, but Kunin is one of very few living poet I know where I feel like I’m reading someone with truly philosophical sensibilities and skills, i.e. who really lives in a Kantian or maybe in this case more a Spinozian reality. What his work shows, I think, is in part how much feeling there is in thinking, and also how much pleasure there is in the artistic distanciation of self-conciousness

Khaled Mattawa | Tocqueville | New Issues Poetry & Prose | 2010

I’m not entirely persuaded by all the elements of Mattawa’s work, but I like to mention him since I think he’s completely worthwhile yet almost completely off the radar of most self-identified experimental writers. This makes sense if you read his early, more conventional and overly-wringing writing, or if you look at those who blurb his books, etc., but this book is serious and thoughtful about its politics, courageous in its formal experimentation, and fervent in its contempt for false emotion. If you read one book blurbed by Yusef Komunyakaa this year, it should be this one, etc.

Brenda Iijima, ed. | eco language reader | Nightboat | 2010

To the properly sceptical this book probably won’t, and probably shouldn’t, prove there’s a new movement or even a new sensibility afoot, but whatever Iijima’s anthology is or isn’t claiming in those terms it is certainly very well edited, filled with a great group of contributors, and embarrasingly rich with new ideas and new passions.

Laura Moriarty | A Tonalist | Nightboat | 2010

I should perhaps recuse myself here since I’m one of Laura’s “A Tonalists,” but whether the pseudo-movement/anti-movement/non-movement of the title has any reality or not, Moriarty has used the idea of groups and groupings to make a fierce, delicate, layered text that stands as a work, and an art, of its own.

Douglas Rothschild | Theogony | Subpress | 2009

Rothschild has, basically, a classical sensibility (where “classical” is considered as running the gamut from the unadornedness of certain ancient greek writers to the unadornedness of Ted Berrigan), which is then shot through with a whole lot of eccentric, baroque intelligence. I may have been a little less taken with the long middle section about NYC than some: it’s what seem to be framed as the more “minor” poems that really have stayed with me. And in a way that makes perfect sense because the significance of the minor is what Rothschild himself is so productively interested in.

Tan Lin | Heath (Plagiarism/Outsource) | Zasterle | 2009

There’s something fascinating about limit cases, and Lin has been exploring those frontiers for a few books now, but this is the first time I really & completely got it. I like to carry around what I’ll call Heath (the title is a subject of debate by the way) just to show aspiring conceptualists how tepid and obvious their plans often are, by comparison. Really I can’t think of another book that seems to have gone farther off the grid of our presumptions about “the book” and “poetry” than this pleasantly transgressive text. It’s a further mystery that it remains, inexplicably, rather readable (with the right kind of approach). Everything in it—images, computer code, emails, texts—have the feeling of being placed, not overly systematically, but such that they beg for your own thinking to complete them.

Michael Cross, Thom Donovan, Kyle Schlesinger, eds. | ON: Contemporary Practice, Issue #2 | Cuneiform | 2010

Some will say the structure of this magazine, where poets talk about the work of poets, will only add to the feeling that experimental poetry is a small coterie with a secret knock to get in. Others, including me, find ON to be just what was lacking, and will find it far less about in-group backslapping than one might presume (very much like the Attention Span project, which has a lot in common with ON). Coterie is a sword of the two-edged variety, and ON is a much needed venue for poets to not only talk about works by their contemporaries but to fashion a renewed sense of basic, shared critical values.

Yedda Morrison | Girl Scout Nation | Displaced Press | 2008

This is the oldest book on my list but I only just got to read it. I had the pleasure of hearing a lot of the poems in this book for a few years at various readings, but the effect of reading them all together is fierce and splendid and at an entirely other level. Anger and love seem to be Morrison’s twin obsessions here and in other works—the love that both lies and lies in every anger, maybe. These concerns dovetail into her starkly eco/feminist/activist/understandably-pissed-off approach in ways that I find enviously original. She’s doing some great work and to me this book is both sweeping and, despite or because of the intensity, suprisingly personal.

Tyrone Williams | The Hero Project of the Century | The Backwaters Press | 2010

Unlike a decade ago Williams is not a secret anymore, but he’s still one of those poets I always read no matter what. I’d say I liked this book just a sliver less than On Spec, but it’s still terrific. Compared to On Spec it’s driven a bit more by content than form, but regardless TW is always, to me, most compelling in the way he works with linguistic density, counterpunctuating it with sudden moments of simple anger and direct content. I never thought enjambed aesthetic complexity could come across as so persuasive and natural, but it is here.

More Brent Cunningham here. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Dana Ward

leave a comment »

Patti Smith | Just Kids | Ecco | 2010

I read this as the sun went down during a three hour layover at the Philadelphia airport turning what looked to be three of life’s most tedious hours into three of its most magical.

Franco “Bifo” Berardi | The Soul at Work | Semitotext(e) | 2010

“The mobile phone makes possible the connection between the needs of semio-capital and the mobilization of the living labor of cyber-space. The ringtone of the mobile phone calls the workers to reconnect their abstract time to the reticular flows”

Word to Bifo.

David Brazil | Spy Wednesday | TAXT | 2010
David Brazil | 1-18-09 | @ A Voicebox | 2009

“One is not permitted to forget that/this world is ordered as it is/according to protocols of violence/& exploitation. On which we/batten.”  (from Spy Wednesday)

Anne Boyer | The 2000s: A History of the Future in Advance of Itself

“I wrote yet another revolutionary email. The revolutionary email said: ‘Culture is a barbarism against the soul’ & ‘because I have loved so many others the stakes are not myself.’”

Laura Moriarty, ed. | A Tonalist Poetry Feature | Jacket #40 | 2010
Laura Moriarty, ed. | A Tonalist Poetry Feature | Aufgabe #8 | 2010

“Some people write lyric poetry because they just want to and think it’s great. Some write it though they think it’s impossible. The latter are A Tonalists.”

So much incredible writing in these two sections that I can’t even begin to name favorites. Both sections have been inexhaustible resources of pleasure & inspiration this year.

Thom Donovan | Wild Horses of Fire | whof.blogspot.com | ongoing

Thom’s blog is an incredible ever evolving constellation of art writing, poems (his own & others), proposals, calls for action, & always, more generally, a call for re-thinking. Astonishing intelligence is mated here to astonishing warmth.

Lisa Robertson | R’s Boat | California | 2010
Lisa Robertson | The Lisa Robertson Issue; ed. Dan Thomas Glass | With+Stand #4 | 2010

Glass’ great editorial work in the Lisa Robertson issue of With + Stand made for a beautiful & diverse companion while reading through R’s Boat this spring in one long extended sigh of happy envy.

Lisa Howe | Sensible Sensations | unpublished manuscript | 2010

This long poem of Lisa’s is a work of ekphrasis (written after a show by Cincinnati artist Matt Morris), &  also a  celebration of community, written with a special consideration for the artists & writers & musicians in Cincinnati’s Brighton neighborhood. I had the pleasure to hear Lisa read it twice this spring, & each time the dynamism & loveliness of the writing linked me up to the loveliness & dynamism of our local experience together.

Lauren Dolgen, concept | Teen Mom | MTV | 2010

Too powerful, complex & problematic to say a lot about here, but this is the first reality series I’ve ever loved, if that’s what I should say about how this show makes me feel.

Mark Fisher | Capitalist Realism | Zero Books | 2010

“So long as we believe (in our hearts) that capitalism is bad, we are free to continue to participate in capitalist exchange.”

Helene Cixous | Three Steps of the Ladder of Writing | Columbia | 1993
Brandon Brown | The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catallus | Unpublished ms | 2010

A friend sent me the Cixous thinking I’d like it & boy oh boy was he right! With the Patti Smith thing this book has been the calibrating writing of my summer. I’ve read it twice & keep going back, & every time I end up exhilarated, dying to read all the books she’s attending, & dying to write more books of my own. Outstanding! As to Brown’s translation of Catallus I’ve been reading this book off and on through out the year& it’s as big, as stupefying & wondrous as the universe itself. Don’t sleep.

More Dana Ward here. His Attention Span for 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Michael Scharf

leave a comment »

Adil Jussawalla | New Poems | Almost Island | 2009

“Your future’s got nothing to do with what’s happening to me.”

Douglass C. North, John Joseph Wallis, Barry R. Weingast | Violence and Social Orders: A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History | Cambridge | 2009

Reading with this and this, and getting a sinking feeling c. 2000. Waiting for this on inter-library loan. Still haven’t read this.

Jeffrey Jullich | Portrait of Colon Dash Parenthesis | Litmus | 2010
Stacy Szymaszek | Autoportraits | omg! | 2008

Brandon Downing | Lake Antiquity | Fence | 2009

All consuming likenesses.

Randy Allen Harris | The Linguistics Wars | Oxford | 1995
Geoffrey K. Pullum | “The Evolution of Model-Theoretic Frameworks in Linguistics” | Posted version (pdf) | 2007
Geoffrey K. Pullum | “Computational Linguistics and Generative Linguistics: The Triumph of Hope over Experience” | Posted version (pdf) | 2009

A version of the book could be the basis for the perfect 20th century American linguistics course, but as is it’s a little too deliciously disinterested. The papers are the ripostal P.S.

Laura Moriarty | A Tonalist | Nightboat | 2010

Summative, and summoning. Ne plus ultra.

Martin Amis | Money: A Suicide Note | Jonathan Cape | 1984
Dennis Johnson | The Stars at Noon | Knopf | 1986

Plus ça change (et je vous remerci Jonny & Joshua).

Rachel Zolf | “L’amiral cherche une maison à louer” | Zinc Bar | 2010

Reveals a ground of contestation, a way in, that was not there before.

Tan Lin | Heath | Zasterle | 2008

A true and beautiful account (sauf le dig à cet endroit là) of recent forms of attention.

More Michael Scharf here. His Attention Span for 2009 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – David Dowker

leave a comment »

Will Alexander | The Sri Lankan Loxodrome | New Directions | 2009

Laynie Browne | The Desires of Letters | Counterpath | 2010

Mark Goldstein | Tracelanguage | BookThug | 2010

Karen Mac Cormack | Tale Light | BookThug / West House | 2010

Camille Martin | Sonnets | Shearsman | 2010

Steve McCaffery | Verse and Worse | Wilfrid Laurier University | 2010

Laura Moriarty | A Tonalist | Nightboat | 2010

Alice Notley | Reason and Other Women | Chax | 2010

Lisa Robertson | R’s Boat | California | 2010

Leslie Scalapino | Floats Horse-Floats or Horse-Flows | Starcherone | 2010

Lissa Wolsak | Squeezed Light | Station Hill | 2010

More David Dowker here. His Attention Span for 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Patrick F. Durgin

leave a comment »

Tan Lin | Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking [AIRPORT NOVEL MUSICAL POEM PAINTING FILM PHOTO HALLUCINATION LANDSCAPE] | Wesleyan | 2010

I wrote the following blurb for Tan’s metadata event: Tan Lin is the first poetic conceptualist with personality; it is no wonder he has paid scholarly attention to Eliot. But what was tradition has dissipated, as if it so needed, into detritus, and that cultural clog of ingredients are what you find “controlled” in SCV. In my estimation, this is the best book of poetry written yet this century, and precisely because the politics it demands are yet to come, but their context already so familiar.

Christine Wertheim, ed. | Feminaissance | Les Figues | 2010

One of several anthologies that have been useful to me in unexpected ways, the others include The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, and…

Brenda Iijima, ed. | eco language reader | Nightboat | 2010

Several things seem to be coming together lately: ecological thinking, somatics, conceptualism (updated, or exploited, depending), feminism, and it’s all here. What’s great about how this collection is comprised and presented is that it posits a center and clarifies the radius of sources past and present for making a foray—you don’t just sit there and absorb, as we say, “the material.” It invites practical pluralities of response. Praise seems beside the point.

Andrew Levy | Cracking Up | Truck | 2010

An old favorite (of a poet) from a new press. The cover shots of Ann-Margaret doing “Bye Bye Birdie” perfectly illustrate the methodically coagulated spurts of late-capitalist wisdom in these pages.

Hannah Weiner | Page | Roof | 2002

I typeset this book almost a full decade ago. Now I am rereading it for a talk I am preparing to give. I have always thought it deserved as much attention as Clairvoyant Journal. It is a family drama—practically no name-dropping, which might explain why it is overlooked and why, as a new father, I have that much more interest in cracking it.

Ayane Kawata, trans. Sawako Nakayasu | Time of Sky & Castles in the Air | Litmus | 2010

I have nothing but admiration for Nakayasu’s work as writer, translator, and editor. But this one, I wish it’d gotten to me before I ordered the books for my “20th Century Writing by Women: A World View” course. I did manage to fit in Werewere Liking, Mahasweta Devi (though not Breast Stories—why let it go out of print, fools?!), Nicole Brossard, and other old favorites. Kawata is a new favorite, though I have so little context for saying so, or understanding why, exactly, I feel this way. I chalk much of it up to Nakayasu’s skill as a translator, though. After all, I need a translator, thus I have some basis for evaluating it. Maybe Kawata is proto-A Tonalist

Laura Moriarty | A Tonalist | Nightboat | 2010

Unlike Cole Swensen, who blurbs the book, I wouldn’t set Moriarty’s work under the oft-speculated upon third way rubric. She knows her history too well—Laura, I mean. What’s important to me about this book is how the concept unfurls, and what it seems capable of including, e.g. one of the sharpest critical assessments of how aesthetic communities are born, function, and die. So the book is, a lot like Tan Lin’s book in this list, both a joy to read and a compelling challenge to believe. And so it’s sort of what’s missing from conceptual writing in its current phase, as opposed, say, to the half-step between language and “uncreative” writing: Jackson Mac Low or Hannah Weiner. It also manages to be attractive, i.e. that moment you realize you won’t look up from a page you’re reading to see whose face emits that voice you just heard, and, the writing now victorious, the lyric “voice” is decisively overthrown. As for myself being included in an A Tonalist clan, I defer to Brent Cunningham’s remarks on the matter.

Fiona Kumari Campbell | Contours of Ableism | Palgrave Macmillian | 2009

I’m working on a project concerning “post-ableism,” and this is the first book to take on the converse with a satisfying scope. I don’t agree with the entirety of her argument. And it could have used a sustained sitting with a copyeditor before going to print. But it’s a good continuation of what people like Simi Linton, Lennard Davis, Tobin Siebers and Michael Davidson have begun.

Eduardo Kac | Signs of Life: Bio Art and Beyond | MIT | 2007

This takes me from the “post-ableism” project to the next big essay I’m writing, this time on “New Life Writing.” New Life Writing is not bio art, but sometimes it gets awfully close.

Marquard Smith and Joanne Morra, eds. | The Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future | MIT | 2006

Just when he was getting somewhere with disability by devising a new critical category, “dismodernism,” Lennard Davis organized a highly publicized sidestep to “biocultures,” from which he has never returned. I came to this book initially as part of a disability studies reading group in Chicago, and we read Vivian Sobchack’s essay “A Leg to Stand On: Prosthetics, Metaphor, and Materiality.” In it, she uses the metaphor/metonymy distinction to say something brilliant (though abrupt) about somatics. Someone ought to link that discussion back to dismodernism, right? I tried, but have since moved on to the other essays, all of which are pretty great.

Marc Bosquet | How the University Works | NYU | 2007

“1. We are not ‘overproducing Ph.D.s’; we are underproducing jobs. 2. Cheap teaching is not a victimless crime. 3. Casualization is an issue of racial, gendered, and class justice. 4. Late capitalism doesn’t just happen to the university; the university makes late capitalism happen.” It is also ruining my life.

More Patrick Durgin here. Durgin’s Attention Span for 2007, 2005. Back to 2010 directory.

Attention Span – Tom Orange

with 2 comments

Jules Boykoff and Kaia Sand | Landscapes of Dissent: Guerrilla Poetry & Public Space | Palm Press | 2008

The smartest demonstration and open invitation I’ve seen of what a poetics off the page and engaged with the world does, can and might look like.

Benjamin Friedlander | The Missing Occasion of Saying Yes | Subpress | 2007
Laura Moriarty | A Semblance: Selected Poems: 1975-2006 | Omnidawn | 2007

Overviews from two of our most important poets at mid-career, presenting new opportunities to see where they’ve come from and where they’ve now brought us.

David Harvey | A Brief History of Neoliberalism | Oxford University Press | 2007
Naomi Klein | The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism | Picador | 2008

Particularly instructive when read together.

Maggie Nelson | Women, The New York School and Other True Abstractions | University of Iowa Press | 2007

It’s about time someone like Nelson has come along to explode the conventional wisdom on these matters! Her refusal to accept the terms of debate on their own terms is utterly refreshing.

Michael Pollan | The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World | Random | 2002
Michael Pollan | The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals | Penguin | 2007

“Everything’s connected” goes the ecological credo, but Pollan’s exemplary studies show that credo operating with new subtleties and depth, a true parti pris des choses that is at once a profoundly important politics and ethics as well as ecology.

Rod Smith | Deed | University of Iowa Press | 2007

What the small press poetry world has known for years now finally garners national attention: this is a poetry to be reckoned with.

Charles Gayle (alto sax), Sirone (bass) & Rashied Ali (drums) | Stadtsaal, Burghausen (Germany) | 8 March 2008 | audience recording circulated via dimeadozen.org

With this formidable rhythm section behind him, Gayle trades in his trademark scorched-earth tenor saxophone for a lighter and sweeter horn. Be assured, his alto tone is still incredibly biting and intense, but it’s somehow more soulful, warmer, more human. He has blended the blusey wail of Ornette Coleman, the flurrious attack of John Coltrane and the ecstatic leaps of Albert Ayler with his own genius to become a true master of the idiom.

Harmony Korine | Mister Lonely | IFC Films | 2008

An expatriate Michael Jackson impersonator alone in Paris finds the company of kindred spirits when he is invited by a Marilyn Monroe to join a commune of other impersonators in the Scottish highlands. The trailer for this film made it look overly sentimental and sappy  — in stark contrast to the shock tactics of Korine’s previous efforts (Gummo, Julien Donkey Boy). To my surprise, however, and with the addition of flying nuns under guidance by Werner Herzog in cameo, Korine has put together a truly touching mediation on freedom, marginalization and utopia, and what it means to discover and be yourself in all its joyous possibilities and painful limitations. Attending the Nashville premier, which featured a special appearance and Q&A session by hometown hero Korine, was an added bonus.

*

More Tom Orange here.