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Posts Tagged ‘Meredith Quartermain

Attention Span 2011 | Peter Quartermain

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

At last! Even if you don’t like Duncan (and quite a few don’t), this is still not to be ignored. Its publication a major event of the year.

Tony Judt | Ill Fares the Land | Penguin | 2010

I lament his death, he’s irreplaceable. Not to heed his work, these essays, would be sheer folly.

Norma Cole | To Be At Music: Essays & Talks | Omnidawn | 2010

Brilliant, pithy, full of news.

George Bowering | My Darling Nelly Gray | Talonbooks | 2010

Bowering in top form.

Robert Pogue Harrison | The Body of Beatrice | Hopkins | 1988

An oldie but goodie, still opening doors.

Meredith Quartermain,  drawings by Susan Bee | Recipes From the Red Planet | Book Thug | 2010

I’m not exactly impartial here, but hey, this is really a very interesting and indeed good book. The publisher calls it fiction; it’s more like poetry to me, and resourceful.

Lissa Wolsak | Squeezed Light: Collected Poems 1994-2005 | Station Hill | 2010

Dense, difficult, bracing—can I say these wide-ranging poems are obsessed with words? They’re sure instructive to anyone who cares about them, and really are exhilarating in their astonished thought.

Guy Birchard | Further Than The Blood | Pressed Wafer | 2010

This is Birchard’s sixth or maybe seventh book of poetry, but nobody seems to have noticed. Maybe his poems are too subtle and careful, perhaps the mode at casual glance too familiar, the skill too unobtrusive.

Michael Boughn | Cosmographia: A Post-Lucretian Micro-Epic | Book Thug | 2010

Issued in fascicles over the last few years, and at last collected together. Boughn is a terrific poet, who actually thinks as he writes. He can be very funny; sometimes he’s very angry. He’s always without fail interesting, so long as you’re paying attention.

Stéphane Mallarmé, trans. Barbara Johnson | Divagations: The Author’s 1897 Arrangement | Belknap / Harvard | 2007

Delighted to find this still in print.


Peter Quartermain has just (July 2011) submitted “Poetic Fact,” a collection of his essays, to an interested publisher. His edition of Robert Duncan’s Collected Early and Collected Later Poems and Plays is currently at the U of California P. The introduction to the first volume appeared in The Capilano Review, Fall 2009.

Quartermain’s Attention Span for 201020082006. 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.


More Erín Moure here.

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

Attention Span 2011 | Meredith Quartermain

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George Bowering | My Darling Nellie Gray | Talonbooks | 2010

Political. Playful. A textbook in procedural possibilities. Also thoughtful and heartfelt.

Sheila Heti | How Should a Person Be? | Anansi | 2010

I think of this as a conceptual novel as all the characters are real people. It’s constantly making us think about arbitrary boundaries between fiction and “the real.” Questioning and extending the form of the novel, too.

Eileen Myles | Inferno: A Poet’s Novel| OR Books | 2010

Cross-cuts are dynamite, I wrote across the top of page 76, the chapter entitled “Poetry is making money.” It’s a poetry page-turner.

Louis Cabri | Poetryworld | CUE Books | 2010

Louis has invented a whole new genre of sound-sight-reference cross-play unlike any poetry you’ve read anywhere.

Miriam Nichols | Radical Affections | Alabama | 2010

A brilliant synthesis of the last 50 years of literary history (the relation of poetry to philosophy), and a map of where we could go from here.

Dodie Bellamy | Pink Steam | Suspect Thoughts | 2004

I read Bellamy for her fascinating house of mirrors.

Kate Eichhorn | Field Notes | BookThug | 2010

Turns the anthropological machine on its head.

Renee Rodin | Subject to Change | Talonbooks | 2010

Renee speaks from the heart—across her kitchen table—about parents dying, about friends who survived the holocaust, about being young and in love.

Stephen Collis | On the Material | Talonbooks | 2010

Winner of this year’s BC Book Prize for poetry. And well deserved too!

Michael Boughn | Cosmographia: A Post-Lucretian Faux Micro-Epic | BookThug | 2010

Who could refuse an epic with Holstein cows grazing in it?


Meredith Quartermain’s Vancouver Walking won a BC Book Award for Poetry. The Dalhousie Review described Matter and Nightmarker as “perhaps the two most noteworthy titles” in recent radical poetry, “prescient, daring,” and “undoing the knot of human understanding.” Recipes from the Red Planet has been shortlisted for a BC Book Award for Fiction and the ReLit prize. Quartermain’s Attention Span for 2010200920082007200620052004. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span – Peter Quartermain

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Robin Blaser | The Holy Forest: Collected Poems, Revised and Expanded Edition | California | 2006

Won (as it should) the Griffin Prize for Poetry. Meticulously edited and with a useful introduction by Miriam Nichols. This book confirms Blaser’s strong claim for recognition as a major poet of his generation, and tells us how and why, from almost the very beginning, he was such a generative power in the San Francisco Renaissance. The poetry, a brilliant welding of philosophical, political and personal threads, demands of the reader the same alert wit and attention that Blaser himself brings to it. The management of sound is, bluntly, magisterial. Now available in paperback, and not to be missed.

Colin Browne | The Shovel | Talonbooks | 2007

Witty, sometimes hilarious, but passionate, troubled and deeply moving as well. An extraordinarily inventive poet of great patience and discipline. Overall a haunted book–even under the concocted absurd and comic adventures with the likes of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida there’s that dark grim world of the early third millennium, so puzzled in its rueful unsettled relations with its past. As the blurb reminds us, this is a book “composed in wartime” – and note that pun in “composed.” A book whose disquiets strangely exhilarate. I find myself coming back to it again and again.

Gerald L. Bruns | On The Anarchy of Poetry and Philosophy: A Guide for the Unruly | Fordham | 2006

“There comes a time in the history of a discipline,” this book begins, “when it must start its history all over again, even if from scratch”–a familiar enough trope, I guess, but tellingly deployed as working principle throughout these thoughtful, learned, imaginative essays—Bruns has a terrific eye for detail, a memory which deploys them tellingly, and a mind which I’d swear never goes to sleep.

Christopher Coredon with Ann Williams | A Dictionary of Medieval Terms & Phrases | D. S. Brewer | 2004

If you like words, then this is a fun book—lots of nifty words I didn’t know, lots of more or less useless information, like “overslop” (a cassock or gown is how that started out), little essays on things like “Ordeal, trial by” (which is pretty horrific) and “ Cocaktrice” (a heraldic monster “with fatal halitosis”—its breath would kill—which came from a cockerel’s egg hatched by a serpent; became a term for whore). Abundant cross references, but also lots of connections as you browse.

Michael Duncan and Kristine McKenna | Semina Culture: Wallace Berman & His Circle | DAP / Santa Monica Museum of Art | 2005

Clothbound exhibition calatogue, nearly 400 pages of illustrations and biographical mini-essays on familiar and not so familiar names: Bruce Conner, Robert Duncan, Michael McClure; Toni Basil, Ben Talbert, Zack Walsh. Annotated inventory of Semina’s individual components; Essays, chronology, letters, and a fairly thorough index. Terrific.

Daphne Marlatt | The Given | McClelland & Stewart | 2008

The publisher calls this a “haunting and multi-layered long poem”; Marlatt says it is the final volume of her novel-trilogy, Ana Historic and Taken. It’s actually both: brilliant, condensed writing, clear though mostly implied narrative, an utterly astonishing meditation on memory, family, the past, the place and role of women, the debts and presences we carry in us. Moving, memorable, writing (and reading) driven by attentive love.

Meredith Quartermain | Matter | BookThug | 2008

I’d plug this book even if it was by somebody else because I love the basic conception, and I love even more its accomplishment. In 1852 Peter Mark Roget, secretary of the Royal Society, published his taxonomy of the English language in his Thesaurus—the species and genera of “ideas”—abstract relations, space, matter, intellect, volition, affections. The poems here explore the relations of inner and outer, world and mind, human and animal. Mind’s matter; matter’s mind. “Knowledge stands on belove” says one sentence in the excursus which closes the book and asks “How can humans mean? Next to birds, trees.”

Maurice Scully | Several Dances | Private | 2007

Scully every so often prints off several dozen (or more) copies of his latest work and send it off to various folk—Meredith and I happen to be two of them—so I’m not sure I should list this 73-page book here at all, at least, not until it finds a trade or even little publisher from whom you can buy it. But Scully really is one of the few really outstanding current Irish poets not in the over-worked Yeats tradition (along with poets like Randolph Healy, Trevor Joyce, Billy Mills, Geoffrey Squire and Catherine Walsh) and he’s someone to look for. No quotation can do justice to this spare language in diverse forms, but here’s a little bit


this is a day.
this is a moment
in a day. this
is the point of

intersection of
a moment in a day

but the stanza (and sentence) doesn’t end there. A persistent mind, snagging on details of words, thought, language, behaviour, with delight in the writing even when the world lived in is as wrong-headed and wrong-hearted as it is. Someone to be reckoned with, he has several books from such as Etruscan, Reality Street, and Wild Honey.

Keith Waldrop |The Real Subject: Queries and Conjectures of Jacob Delafon with sample poems | Omnidawn | 2004

This is a sad but funy book, and I love it. Jacob Delafon, Waldrop’s invention, is unusually inconsequential in his relations with a pointless world, inert even, a tourist of idle possibilities. Thus he “finds in Partridge’s dictionary, // shit! mother, I can’t dance // which, according to Partridge means nothing at all, being simply what one says ‘just for something to say.’” The cumulative effect is mad hilarity. And sometimes real beauty.

Patrick Wright | Iron Curtain: From Stage to Cold War | Oxford | 2007

A fascinating, slightly gossipy and anecdotal history of the career of the iron curtain from its introduction as a Safety Curtain in theatres in the 1790s to its deployment as metaphor by Winston Churchill in 1945 and since the demolition of the Berlin Wall as reflective of a way of thinking about the world. As one might expect from Wright’s earlier books—such as On Living in an Old Country: The National Past in Contemporary Britain (1985), The Village that Died for England (1995), and Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine (2000)—this is really good (and unconventional) cultural / social history by a literate and witty writer / thinker. I learned a lot, and not just via such byways as peptide research on both sides of the iron curtain. Much like good conversation with someone who knows a hell of a lot more than you do.

John Yau | The Passionate Spectator: Essays on Art and Poetry | Michigan | 2006

If I were still teaching undergraduate English courses I’d put this book at the top of the Recommended Reading list: passionate and lucid essays which teach you (and me) how to read and how to think about poetry and art, without once talking down to the reader. And jam-packed with information you didn’t know you needed. The opening essay, on Frank O’Hara’s art criticism, is worth the price of the book. The other essays don’t disappoint either. Such a collection of Yau’s essays is long long overdue.