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Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Attention Span 2011 | Daniel Bouchard

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Benjamin Friedlander | Citizen Cain | Salt | 2011

I used to think of “flarf’ as embodying the poetics of insincerity. Ben Friedlander’s book has changed my mind. This is a sincere book, and it’s really weird and wonderful. This stanza, opening the poem (title lifted from Baraka) “Somebody Blew Up America,” provides a kind of framework for the collection’s many modes: “The poem you just heard was ironic and this one is sincere. / How can you tell? Because it was written in ‘my’ voice.” Don’t ask the criteria for insincerity but rather think what the search terms might have been: “The special sin that arouses God’s anger is in reality an aborted baby.” That’s just language from the Web, right? How about “the sticky / white load he pumped on her toes. / Bookmark this site.” I’ve never read such a variety of contemporary voices commandeered in poems. Yet for all the noise that might suggest the poems read with consistent grace and an even pace despite their detachment from the Literary. And they’re hard voices to identify. Maybe it’s better not to think too much about who they may be or represent or where they come from, either as individuals or composites. The Web is dark and strange: your keyboard is a Ouija board that can summon a wide array of spirits. They show up and begin to reflect or speak to your preoccupations, even demons. Better to read with your eyes slightly out of focus (like being online too long) to get a picture of the poet shaping these poems (in 4, 3, or 2 line stanzas, almost exclusively) and the umami of sensibility. This is a good book of poetry. This is a funny book. “Remember Vietnam? No, not really. / But I do remember what shaq did / last year in the playoffs. Hoooooooo!” (16) Jewish culture, user feedback, user profiles, modern poetry, politics (“Senator shithead”), internet porn: not many books published today make me think ‘oh, I could never write this’ and also elicit respect in the form of envy. Pound appears throughout the book, a significantly higher number of times than placenta, and placenta is no small presence. Read “Alterity Cudgel,” “The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry,” and “Me and My Gang” (“Sexy Librarians of the Future \ are behind you, with a big strapon \ called Knowledge . . .”) and then just jump around. If someone who doesn’t regularly read poetry wants to know what book they should purchase by a living poet, Citizen Cain is a lively choice.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis | The Collage Poems of Drafts | Salt | 2011

It’s not a difficult shift from the thickness and rich verbal density of all the preceding of DuPlessis’s Drafts to this new mostly-visually based format. The mode of collage isn’t new to Drafts and the pictorial element (four color at that!) in this collection has strong ligatures cementing the continuity of the overall project. Somewhere she has said she thinks of Schwitters all the time, a claim substantiated and made quite apparent in the materials and arrangements of these works. Attentive readers will see familiar themes, processes and words sustained here from earlier incarnations and with a similar richness resulting: “A process of scraping, of ripping, of pasting. . . . Mite and mote.”

Edgar Lee Masters | The Great Valley | MacMillan | 1916

Published a year after Spoon River Anthology, Masters broadens his sustained meditation on American history and society in a book that is very long and very prosaic. But its flatness is somewhat countered by the sheer range of interest the poet takes in so many things, and the belief that there is so much to give voice to, and so many worthy. The title refers to Illinois, and the elegies within sing of long forgotten figures, mostly local. The Lincoln–Douglas debates, Dreiser, and Robert Ingersoll are among the better known subjects. (I couldn’t help but think of Sufjan Stevens’s Illinoise throughout.) Honestly, I lost interest about halfway thru the book but I am glad I read the entire thing. Masters is a lot more than just the famous Spoon River. There is a fat selected poems waiting to be created. It should aim to bring the best of his work back into view.

Bryher | The Fourteenth of October | Pantheon | 1952
Bryher | Roman Wall | Pantheon | 1954
Bryher | Beowulf | Pantheon | 1956
Bryher | Ruan | Pantheon | 1960

Byher’s historic novels have a pattern: a boy’s coming of age tale in which he is caught up in the forces of history. His native land is in the throes of turmoil: Saxon England fighting the Norman invasion; a Roman outpost fighting the plundering Goths; London during the Blitz; a druid heir fleeing the conversion of Cornwall to Christianity. In each narrative there is a slackness or incoherency to the society which makes it vulnerable. Old ties and traditions will soon be washed away. There is usually one character who knows better and can see the peril coming but no one will listen to them and then it’s too late. In this, Bryher herself is represented directly. She wrote in her memoirs that she saw WWII coming years before it began. But, alas, no one would listen. She acknowledges a deep influence by G.A. Henty, a nineteenth century novelist who wrote adventure stories for juveniles. Bryher’s attention to detail for what life may have been like for common people at turning points of history across many centuries makes her stories vivid and interesting. All of the books can be read rather quickly. The Player’s Boy and The Coin of Carthage are among her best. Her two memoirs, The Heart of Artemis and The Days of Mars, are not to be missed.

Brook Holgum, ed. | The Capilano Review: George Stanley issue | Vancouver | 2011

A festschrift for George Stanley, San Francisco-born Canadian poet: interviews, photographs, recollections, dedicatory poems and critical takes. As if that were not enough the issue also contains the debut of Stanley’s serial poem After Desire which alone is worth the price of admission.

Humbert Wolfe | Humoresque | E Benn | 1926

Wikipedia describes him as “an Italian-born English poet, man of letters and civil servant, from a Jewish family background.” A contemporary of Pound and Eliot, Wolfe’s work falls to the lighter side of poetry. Prolific in the 1920s and 30s (he died in 1940) he left a largely forgettable body of work. But once in a while there is a gem:

I looked back suddenly
into the empty room
and saw the lamp that I had lit
still shining on the little table by the window
and throwing its light on the tumbled sheets of paper
on which I had been writing.

And I felt as though long years ago a man,
whom I had know very little,
had lighted that lamp,
and sat by the window writing and believing that he was a poet,
and then he came out of the room and found the letter.

He would not go into the room again:
And not he, but I will go in softly
And put out the lamp,
And lay aside the useless paper.

Joseph Torra | What’s So Funny | Pressed Wafer | 2011

This short novel is the narrative of a washed-up comedian on the verge of quitting his trade. Angry, depressed, misanthropic, not even his trademark biting humor gives him satisfaction anymore. “Is there anything more sickening than a couple falling in love?” His marriage is long over, his family distant, dead or in decline. “Could there be anything sicker than the concept of baptism? That some precious newborn baby is born in sin, and has to be cleansed?” The pathos of the story, the loneliness and sadness of an individual who can’t see or won’t admit or simply can’t overcome the causes of his suffering, is nearly drowned by the humor with which the material, and life, attempts to redeem itself. Finally you realize you are reading the transcript of one long comedy routine. Childhood, sex, race, religion, dating, therapy, war, porn, the usual and not so usual material of stand up, are all grist for the mill. “If everyone would lie about Santa, they’ll lie about God.”

Joe Elliot | Homework | Lunar Chandelier | 2010

Cedar Sigo | Stranger in Town | City Lights | 2010

Jennifer Moxley | Coastal | The Song Cave | 2011

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Daniel Bouchard’s poetry books include The Filaments (Zasterle Press) and Some Mountains Removed (Subpress). He edited The Poker for many years. An essay on George Stanley’s work appeared recently in The Capilano Review, and an essay on Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s Drafts is posted at Jacket2.

Bouchard’s Attention Span for 201020092005. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2011 | Patrick Pritchett

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Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Pitch: Drafts 77-95 | Salt | 2010

The penultimate volume to the now rapidly concluding Drafts. The angel of history (AKA midrash) is alive and kicking in these fantastically sculpted and minutely attentive poem-narratives. DuPlessis may have been all along creating a whole new genre here. This angel is the principle of continual poetic revision as intervention. It reads and writes the past not as it was, but as it is found: deeply fractured by contingency, open to an ongoing process of revision. The midrashic angel takes up its task not merely by bearing witness to what it sees, but through actively constructing new alignments of meaning from the scattered wreckage of the debris field. The highlights, for me, are “Draft 87-Trace Element,” and the already legendary “Draft 85-Hard Copy.” For more, see the feature on RBD in Jacket2.

 William Corbett | The Whalen Poem | Hanging Loose | 2010

The maestro at the top of his game, swinging loose and easy—nothing to it. There’s a luxurious liberation coursing through this poem that abounds with grace notes and is overflowing with his customary generosity toward memory and experience, the sweet, raspy pellicles of detail, that is, finally, the history of a life, and of writing a life, inner and outer, moment by moment, and is deeply moving.

Forrest Gander | Core Samples from the World | New Directions | 2011

An itinerary of otherness, strewn with uncanny moments of tenderness and glancing blows that crack the fragility of conscience. The earth’s alien powder is sifted through, poured out, regathered in rich pulses of telluric current from the far side of everywhere. Poem, photo, and prose fold into and out of each other, remapping their own contours. The overlap and feedback amplifies into a kind of 21st Century global witness that is porous and humbling and weird. I can’t think of another book like it. Utterly extraordinary.

Christian Hawkey | Ventrakl | Ugly Duckling | 2011

Officially a tour de force, this is a magnificent accomplishment, one that completely mesmerized me. Hawkey has reinvented the gorgeous and tortured weirdness of Trakl for the 21st Century. More than that, he has carried the logic of the translator’s task forward into a region that is all “interpass, penetrate.” The cumulative effect, when read straight through (and it’s that rare book of poetry, almost impossible to put down), is—how to say this without sounding absurd?—one of the most precisely calibrated vulnerability. Reader, I was carried away.

Fanny Howe | Come and See | Greywolf | 2011

These poems are like messages from a skeptical clairvoyant. The sense of recognition here is humbling and amazing, like the call for justice contained in the simple gesture of saying “you are here.” Everything superfluous is stripped away and what’s left is haunting. “A Hymn” seems to sum up all her concerns and convictions. (Harry Lime as a mix of Paul Celan and Oscar Levant?) These poems insist on an order of seeing that is miraculous, like the movies, and where forgiveness is all about how we do the work of looking. Like a form of levitation, they will break your heart with clarity.

Sharon Howell | Girl in Everytime | Pressed Wafer | 2011

There’s a freshness and insouciance to these lyrical forays that balance the prosaic and the ordinary against the privileged and the secret. The effect overall is one of constant surprise and delight. Spicer, a presence here surely, as has been noted. But behind Spicer, Wordsworth—not the bloated, complacent Will.I.Am of the Preludes, but the swift, sharp gleaner of chthonic music and the joyous spookiness of being alive.

Andrew Joron | Trance Archive: Selected and New Poems | City Lights | 2010

Lines decrypted from a dark book, pitched to an arcane thrum, a holy thread of labyrinthine sound that interweaves the soul’s salt with the sugar of the tongue. In this divinatory praxis, Joron capitalizes on the generative slippages which govern the chance combinatory properties of language. Following the logic of paronomasia, the poems here teeter, at times, on the brink of decay, yet what rescues them is the commitment to the sublime yield of phonemic constellation and all the spaces, and nodes, of micrological difference that open up between each slip-gap, each meld-slide, within a horizon of negation and wonder. The gravity well of logos is mitigated only by the poem’s own negentropic counter-thrust.

Peter O’Leary | Luminous Epinoia | Cultural Society | 2010

A book of impossible risk and endless doxology: in the end, they are the same thing. Liturgical datastreams downloaded and uploaded continually, like the angels in Jacob’s Dream. Fervent and unabashedly naked in its declaration of poetic vision. It reduces to so much kitsch the weak ironies of slacker emo-whimsy emanating from Brooklyn or the timid affirmations of bourgeois pathos praised in the Sunday Times, both of which somehow pass for “spirit” in the late imperium. This is a poetics that dares and ratifies the visionary ratios of song. Written out of what Abraham Joshua Heschel called “spiritual audacity,” Luminous Epinoia is a hymn to the theophanic. This is poetry of vatic kerygma—pure proclamation.

Michael Palmer | Thread | New Directions | 2011

Simply put, his best work since At Passages. There’s a certain kind of reader who can’t get past Palmer’s apparent break from the heavily encrypted style of his earlier work. Narrow constructionists, they want every book to be Sun or Notes for Echo Lake. But the idiom he has been exactingly developing since 1988, a kind of theater of the neo-allegorical that juxtaposes the driest of satire with a messianic thirst for the impossible ur-sprach, continues what were always his deepest concerns. Here, they are brought to a vivid pitch in this delicate and powerful collection. Flashing with spiked barbs of humor, these poems still inhabit the melancholy landscape where language ratifies itself by signifying its own failure. Written under the sign of Saturn, they are harrowing in their humility and directness. Simplicity here is neither a reduction nor a retreat, but the earned complexity of a late style in a late hour. To call the title sequence a tour de force is to defame it. These “threads” are addresses, colloquies, homages, haunted questions that concentrate Palmer’s concerns for the art as a site for making counter-meanings, the micro-resistances that push back against the crushing sense of fatigue born of suffering and slaughter. This is elegy as crystalline paleography. Every word is merely on loan from the thief’s journal. They haunt the dream of memory with the hope for the Not-Yet.

Andrew Schelling | From the Arapaho Songbook | La Alameda | 2011

This may well be the best thing Schelling’s ever done. Superbly attentive to the discrete seams where language and geography ripple over and through each other, this is an initiation into another world—one that exists side by side with the everyday. These poems track pathways back and forth between the ancient and the contemporary, language and the natural, without ever sliding into the false a-historicism of the romantic. The care with words—guttural, elusive, probing, shamanic—and the handling of the line breaks—is deliciously deft and subtle. A beautifully wrought, intimate book.

Rosmarie Waldrop | Driven to Abstraction | New Directions | 2010

The title sequence is superb. Waldrop’s extraordinary constellation—beginning with “Zero or, the Opening Position”—reads like a history of the metaphysical comedy of negation, its failures and its hopes, as traced through everything from cosmology to monetary exchange. It is a poem about the manifold ways nothing is implicated in everything, whether the via negativa of Pseudo-Dionysus or the khora of Derrida. A recitation of zero and its history as a concept. Of its migration into the West from medieval Arabic mathematics and its subsequent role as a placeholder for the underlying, the foundational that is anti-foundational, “zero, the corrosive number,” as she calls it, without which nothing counts.

Elizabeth Willis | Address | Wesleyan | 2011

I heard Willis read “Blacklist” two years ago at MLA and it fairly took the top of my head off. In this poem, the legacy of the Salem witches is made over as a noble tradition of transgression, a powerful and ongoing voice of resistance to the state, the system, and the boss. Woody Guthrie was a witch! After the headiness of the dazzling Meteoric Flowers, the tune and turn of this collection digs deeper into the marrow of the word, refining down to nubs and particles, a process not to be confused with simplicity. To say the thing austerely turns out to be incredibly complicated.

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

The summa of an extraordinary ambition. If the stutter is the plot, then what to say of the hyphen, the line-break, the neologism reaching after a glimpse of fugitive cognition in a cascade of vowels? The fragment here becomes fragrant, imbued with a fragile knowing. The letter, atomized, becomes the law of spirit—darkened with matter, made radiant by it. It is by such carefully broken apart attentions that these poems stage extravagance as investigation. They generate a singing that both binds and unravels, spelling out a new form of orthography that makes the traces of the invisible not only legible, but achingly near to us.

Andrew Zawacki | Roche Limit | Tir Aux Pigeons | 2011

Laid out in four-line stanzas, each one marked by roughly four beats per line, this short, perfect poem surges forward in a compelling rhythm capable of surprising turns and reverberating with fractal resonances—the complex echo chamber of attractions and resistances as words slide through one another and into their own process of associative elision and repetition, a principle of rime, as Duncan might say, that recalls the innermost linguistic and ontological structures for mapping levels of relation.

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Patrick Pritchett is the author of several books of poems, including Burn, Antiphonal, and Salt, My Love. Recent projects include editing a feature on Rachel Blau DuPlessis for Jacket 2, a talk for MSA on Pound, Sobin, and the ruins of modernism, and a book project on the messianic turn in postwar poetry. He is currently a Lecturer in the History and Literature Program at Harvard University and Visiting Lecturer in Poetry at Amherst College. Pritchett’s Attention Span for 2010, 2009, 2008. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Pattie McCarthy

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Anselm Berrigan | Free Cell | City Lights | 2009

“I do take relentless / as a compliment. All this work / dealing with making it work.”

Allison Cobb | Green-Wood | Factory School | 2010

“But every age has its ghosts, a kind of rage. The language.” “The word ‘forest’ itself forms a fence.”

CA Conrad & Frank Sherlock | The City Real & Imagined | Factory School | 2010

“‘Of / course they talk about genocide. / They’re Polish.’ The show ends. / Everything burns. A new set / is built for tomorrow.”

Sarah Dowling | Security Posture | Snare | 2009

“Makes a movement of hand toward // clothing that intervenes / and conforms exactly.”

Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Pitch: Drafts 77 – 95 | Salt | 2010

“Reduplicate the awkwardness. // If given text in a dream, try extra hard to read it.”

Susan Howe | Poems Found in a Pioneer Museum | Coracle | 2009

“It was the only thing she had left / from the journey across.”

Chris McCreary | Undone: a fakebook | furniture | 2010

“You recover / from upside // down & demand a bigger / engine.”

Hoa Nguyen | Hecate Lochia | Hot Whiskey | 2009

“Up nursing       then make tea / the word war is far”

Lisa Robertson | Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip | Coach House | 2009

“And you are a rare modern painting in the grand salon / And you are a wall of earth.”

Kaia Sand | Remember to Wave | Tinfish | 2010

“Inexpert, I / investigate // Inexpert, I / walk, and walk.”

Kevin Varrone | g-point almanac: Passyunk Lost | Ugly Duckling | 2010

“she said she grew up // when dodos were ubiquitous, / when snyder avenue was rome”

Karen Weiser | To Light Out | Ugly Duckling | 2010

“the chapel of a bird’s body / is any body / breathing with ink”

More Pattie McCarthy here. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Stephen Collis

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Kaia Sand | Remember to Wave | TinFish | 2010

Site-specific poetry at its best—collages, documents, and roller derby—what more could you ask for? Sand continues to produce some of the most earnest, delicate, and pointed political poetry out there.

Jane Sprague | The Port of Los Angeles | Chax | 2009

What Sand does with Portland, Sprague takes up in Los Angeles, only with more thorough-going lyricism. Ikea products come ashore, drug dealers get busted, and the commons once again raises its head amidst new enclosures—”this / in the how now moment sullied biosphere.” One of my favorite poetry books to come along in a while.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Pitch: Drafts 77-95 | Salt | 2010

The next installment of DuPlessis’s major life-long poem, now getting up over 800 pages all told. I’m finding the increasing pleasure is in following the Drafts back “down the ladder,” as it were, along the line of 19, as there are now 5 poems in each 19-poem cycle which pass over each other once again, picking up on stray elements, deepening and contorting themes.

Lissa Wolsak | Squeezed Light | Station Hill | 2010

Long one of the best under-recognized poets, Wolsak’s new “collected” includes everything from The Garcia Family Co-Mercy and Pen Chants to her amazing prose-poem/essay, An Heuristic Prolusion. Precise thought, compressed imagery, and a deeply human sense of the universe and our fragile place in it. A book to keep close by at all times.

Jeff Derksen | Annihilated Time: Poetry and Other Politics | Talon | 2009

Selected essays from one of his generation’s seminal poet-critics. Need to know what neoliberalism is and how poetry (as it must) bites the hand that feeds it? This is your book. I know of no other writer who can so seamlessly move from complex analyses of political economy to wry readings of avant-garde poetry.

Rachel Zolf | Neighbour Procedure | Coach House | 2010

Poems from a stay in Palestine, the opening section, “Shoot & Weep,” is alone worth the price of admission—some of the most powerfully affective statistics (!) I have ever read, as Zolf weaves magic out of Butler’s Precarious Life.

Jules Boykoff | Hegemonic Love Potion | Factory School | 2009

Along with Derksen, Rodrigo Toscano, and Kevin Davies, one of my favorite guides to the perplexing terrain of late neoliberal mayhem—and what poetry might be doing there. Sharp, sharp wit. News that indeed stays news.

Josely Vianna Baptista | On the Shining Screen of the Eyelids | Manifest | 2003

A late discovery for me, and the press might not exist any more, but Baptista’s poems, in Chris Daniels’ painstaking translations, certainly satisfy Dickinson’s requirement that poetry take the top of your head off. South American concrete, material lyricism—this is language as I want to meet it—a net thrown over another world.

Erín Moure | My Beloved Wager | NewWest | 2009

Essays from some 30 years of a writing life, reading Moure on translation—amongst other things—is a marvel, instructive and electrifying. I have deeply enjoyed this book.

More Stephen Collis here. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Daniel Bouchard

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Simon Thompson | Why Does It Feel So Late? | New Star | 2009

Bryher | The Player’s Boy | Paris Press | 2006

Laura Jaramillo | Civilian Nest | Love Among the Ruins | 2010

Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Pitch: Drafts 77-95 | Salt | 2010

Edwin Rolfe | Collected Poems | Illinois | 1993

Jane Unrue | Life of a Star | Burning Deck | 2010

George R. Stewart | Names on the Land | New York Review of Books Classics | 2008

John Clare | The Shephard’s Calendar | Carcanet | 1996

Homer, trans. Stanley Lombardo | The Odyssey | Hackett | 2000

Ange Mlinko | Shoulder Season | Coffee House | 2010

Daniel Bouchard’s Attention Span for 2009, 2005. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2009 – Patrick Pritchett

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George Bowering | Kerrisdale Elegies | Talonbooks | 2008

Joseph Ceravolo | Spring in This World of Poor Mutts | Columbia UP | 1968

William Corbett | Opening Day | Hanging Loose | 2009

Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Drafts | various websites

Ted Enslin | Nine | NPF | 2004

Barbara Guest | Collected Poems | Wesleyan | 2008

Michael Heller | Eschaton | Talisman | 2009

Fanny Howe | The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation | Grey Wolf | 2009

Andrew Joron | The Sound Mirror | Flood | 2009

Ann Lauterbach | Or To Begin Again | Penguin | 2009

David Mutschlecner | Sign | Ahsahta | 2007

Gustaf Sobin | The Earth as Air | 1982 | New Directions

More Patrick Pritchett here.

Attention Span – Erin Mouré

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Rachel Blau DuPlessis | Torques: Drafts 58-76 | Salt | 2007

A persistent willingness to engage and not flinch. To see the world and the forces, challenges in it in ways that step outside the usual American version of world.

Wilson Bueno | A copista de Kafka | São Paulo: Planeta de Brasil | 2007

An American poet, in the other sense, the one in which Americans are south of the equator and we are North Americans. Brazilian, from the borderlands where Spanish and Portuguese are mixed, though this novel is in Portuguese.

VA | Radical Translation Issue | dANDelion Vol.33 No.2 | December 2007

Brief essays from 4 Canadian poets working in and through translation: Robert Majzels, myself, Oana Avasilichioaei and Angela Carr, plus other poems, from Nicole Brossard among others. From a conference organized at the University of Calgary by Robert Majzels in 2007.

Georges Didi-Hubermann | Devant le temps | Paris: Minuit | 2000

The time of the image is anachronic! I read this book in Spanish translation as the original was always out of the library.

VA | Barbara Guest Issue | Chicago Review 53:4-54:1/2 | Summer 2008

Guest always brings me joy, shows me how it is done, how persist is, how works work in time and words.

Phil Hall | White Porcupine | BookThug | 2007

The elusive dream animal, visceral. Cadence and narration in ways that few can understand narration. And our own animal. Read it!

Alice Notley | In the Pines | Penguin| 2007

Because of the way she can deal with subjectivity, the subject constituting itself in private, in public spaces, and over and over again, not an incomplete subject but one in motion against death and ruinous politics. And the way she works with narrative, image.

Chus Pato | Hordas de Escritura | Vigo: Xerais | 2008

A Galician poet, author of Charenton (Shearsman, 2006), how she works at blinding speed and utterly destroys the poem while writing poetry.

César Vallejo, trans. Clayton Eshleman | The Complete Poetry | California | 2007

A monumental work, amazing project, the dedication of a life, and even if I want to retranslate some of the poems to free Vallejo from Eshleman, it’s amazing. You see not only Vallejo here, risen whole, but the consistency of Eshleman’s reading, how he reads, what he sees when he reads lines of poetry. In 1983, Eshleman’s Collected Posthumous Poems of Vallejo changed my life. This complete volume seems to contain my own poetic history too. Strange, wonderful.

C. D. Wright | Rising, Falling, Hovering | Copper Canyon | 2008

This is one of the few American poets who has moved across the boundary and can see things outside of the mental enclosure in which most American thinking happens. An antidote in lyric, corrupting form, realizing narration’s sinews.

Giorgio Agamben | Homo Sacer | Seuil | 1995

Agamben’s thinking on how concentration camps can happen. “The biopolitial paradigm of the West today is the camp and not the city.” Essential reading for us all in an age when the camp has already torn the pointer off our moral compass (not just Guantánamo but the camps for illegal immigrants in Europe).