Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

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Posts Tagged ‘Rod Smith

Attention Span 2011 | Melanie Neilson

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Rae Armantrout | Versed | Wesleyan | 2009

Anne Boyer | The Romance of Happy Workers | Coffee House | 2008

Rod Smith | Deed | Iowa | 2007

CA Conrad | The Book of Frank | Chax | 2009

Jennifer Moxley | Clampdown | Flood | 2009

Steve Farmer | Glowball | Theenk | 2010

Eileen Myles | The Importance of Being Iceland | Semiotext(e) | 2009

Sianne Ngai | Ugly Feelings | Harvard | 2005

Jerry Lewis | The Total Film-Maker | Random | 1971

Kevin Killian | Impossible Princess | City Lights | 2009

Monica de la Torre | Public Domain | Roof | 2008

Mel Nichols | Catalytic Exteriorization Phenomenon | Edge | 2009

Gertrude Stein | Lucy Church Amiably | Something Else | 1930 reissued 1969

Jack Spicer, ed. Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian | My Vocabulary Did This to Me | Wesleyan | 2008

Philip Whalen, ed. Michael Rothenberg | The Collected Poems | Wesleyan | 2007

Lew Welch, ed. Donald Allen | Ring of Bone: Collected 1950-1970 | Grey Fox | 1979

Donald Bogle | Heat Wave: The Life and Career of Ethel Waters | Harper Collins | 2011

Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr. | Race Music | California |2003

Bern Porter | Found Poems | Nightboat | 2011

Jessica B. Harris | High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America | Bloomsbury | 2011

James Lee Burke | Detective Dave Robicheaux series of 18 thrillers set in Louisiana: The Neon Rain to The Glass Rainbow | Pocket | 1989-2010

Lewis Klahr, Engram Sepals | Melodramas (sequence of seven 16mm films, 75 minutes) | 1994-2000

Elvis Presley | The Country Side of Elvis | RCA | 2001

Raymond Chandler, performed by Elliott Gould | Red Wind (1938) | New Millennium Audio | 2002

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More Melanie Neilson here.

Neilson’s Attention Span for 2009. Back to 2011 directory.

Featured Title – Annoying Diabetic Bitch by Sharon Mesmer

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Sharon Mesmer | Annoying Diabetic Bitch | Combo | 2007 | Goodreads | LibraryThing | 5 mentions in Attention Span 2008

mesmer-bitchThis book is like cherry-flavored anthrax in a Pixie Stix straw. Mesmer breaks all the rules of decorum, craft, and form—she even invents some new rules just to break them. I would like to see her and Jennifer Knox have a poetic slapdown in a big hockey arena somewhere. My guess is that it would end in a tie with the audience dead from hemorrhaging. (K. Silem Mohammad)

It’s impossible to read these poems without wanting to share the lines out loud. Silence is helpless here: even when I’m alone with this book, I break the silence, laughing. Is there anything more poignantly utopian than that? If ideology is the presence of society in our heads, then laughing out loud when we’re alone is the very summoning of that society, an involuntary assertion of communion. (Benjamin Friedlander)

Dear Poetry: Please can you be like this sometimes always? (Rodney Koeneke)

Finally a poet meaner than Lenny Bruce. For all those who have been spiritually exploited by the iconography of the Olsen twins, get this book and be healed. (Stan Apps)

Also mentioned by Rod Smith, and by Tom Devaney in his entry on Mesmer’s The Virgin Formica.

Written by Steve Evans

May 31, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Featured Title – Golden Age of Paraphernalia by Kevin Davies

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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

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.

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More Tom Orange here.

Attention Span – Patrick Pritchett

with 3 comments

Rod Smith | Deed | Iowa | 2007

“The Good House” is a poem that is never less than itself, continually reinventing the topos of dwelling through the tropos of surprise.

Marjorie Welish | Isle of Signatories | Coffee House | 2008

Every sign is always already a form of annotation.

Joshua Clover | The Totality for Kids | California | 2006

The Romantic crisis poem cold-filtered for your drinking pleasure through the radical tradition of the Denkbild. Dude, it will make you weep.

Andrew Joron | The Cry at Zero| Counterpath | 2007

Who, if they cried, would utter zero, hallowed, forever?

Hank Lazer | The New Spirit | Singing Horse | 2005
Hank Lazer | Lyric & Spirit: Selected Essays, 1996-2008 | Omnidawn | 2008

The letter liveth so that the spirit might too.

Richard Deming | Let’s Not Call It Consequence | Shearsman | 2008

Incommensurate space between the verb and the noun. Whatever we dream, whatever we group by words.

Ed Barrett | Bosston | Pressed Wafer | 2008

The radioactive ghosts of Yeats and Whitey Bulger clash by night in the abandoned remnants of Scolley Square.

Amy Catanzano |  iEpiphany | Erudite Fangs | 2008

Cellular constellations, bright with fractal intelligence.

Julie Carr | Equivocal | Alice James | 2007

The work of the work of mourning in “Iliadic.” Stop this endless war.

Jay Wright | The Presentable Art of Reading Absence | Dalkey Archive | 2008

Intelligence as a dying art. Promise of the garden and the smoke that is sweetness.

Philip Lamantia | Tau | City Lights | 2008

Vatic American nerve tree.

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More Patrick Pritchett here.

Attention Span – Steven Zultanski

with 4 comments

Some of my favorite poetry with a 2007 or 2008 copyright date.

Kevin Davies | The Golden Age of Paraphernalia | Edge | 2008

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.

Craig Dworkin | Parse | Atelos | 2008

Like the chase scene in Apocalypto, Parse is a feat of athletic strength and technical virtuosity. And I mean that in the best sense (I’m a Yes fan, after all). This book is proof that conceptual writing deserves to be realized. Sure, the idea of parsing a grammar book by it’s own rules is clever, and many lazy McLazies would leave it at that and call it a piece—but the actual fact of the book goes way deeper than any mere suggestion. This work is ‘pataphysical’ in the truest sense—it appropriates a logic only to drag it to its limits, where the supposed rationality of its system is inverted—university discourse in the service of parody, or truth.

Rob Fitterman and Nayland Blake | The Sun Also Also Rises | No Press | 2008

Mr. Fitterman at his most tender, no kidding. Conceptualism and the lyric do meet, despite hysterical claims otherwise. In what seems at first like a closed system (all of the first person statements from Hemingway’s novel) we find instead a subjective opening: the sentences are so vague and gestural that they cry out to be grafted on to the autobiography of the reader, they serve as little memory-nuggets, each interchangeable and abstract. Which is precisely why the second part, a rewriting using material from the author’s own biography, is so necessary. Fitterman finds the ripples in Hemingway narrative (or, to be more broad, in novelistic conventions of masculinity) and, instead of a destructive gesture which breaks the original, ideologically-encrusted text apart, he adds more ripples, until eventually we can’t see to the bottom of the text. Psst—there is no bottom. Nayland Blake’s terrific minimalist coda sends us off on another open, leaky note, like the closing shot of 3-D Imax Beowulf, in which a computer-enhanced actor gets caught in the freeze-frame, or the fade-out, I don’t remember which.

Peter Gizzi | The Outernationale | Wesleyan | 2007

Peter Gizzi’s cameo in Apocalypto might have increased his star power, but it hasn’t diminished his poetic ability one bit. The opening sequence, “A Panic That Can Still Come Upon Me,” is an ambitious serial work that takes Gizzi’s engagement with the complex arragement of image and statement to knottier, stranger territory. The title poem knots statement even tighter by mixing the poetic line with part-words, which can only suggest meanings, and defer the meanings made by the full sentences. This is dense poetry: not in the sense that say, Prynne is dense, nor in the sense that Oppen is dense. Instead of bludgeoning us with experimental vocab or treating us to crafted, meaningful line breaks, Gizzi’s lyric resides in the no man’s land between information management and intimate conversation. His romanticism (and I mean that in the best sense—I’m a Wordsworth fan, after all) is completely contemporary—the language of the present authors the poet. Said language is soaked in both abstract, highly mediated war-time quasi-correspondence, the dailiness of human sociality, and the sensory experience of the distance between those two things—as Gizzi says, bewilderment.

Renee Gladman | Newcomer Can’t Swim | Kelsey Street | 2007

Gladman’s writing so successfully carries the illusion of transparency that sometimes it seems like there’s not much there, in any particular sentence. But the accumulation of sentences, and especially the sense of narrative blows back that very transparency to create an effect that is more crystalline than glass-like. Identity is refracted – not invisible but manifold. The narrators of these fictions, or these poems, or whatever, are not lacking identities but exposing them, not as frauds but as real structures, and as real feelings. The sentences, likewise, are not frauds in their simplicity, in their transparency. They are part of a complex and many-sided form, somewhat akin to 3-D Imax Beowulf.

Kenneth Goldsmith | Traffic | Make Now | 2007
Kenneth Goldsmith | Sports | Make Now | 2008

Goldsmith’s “American Trilogy” is the Apocalypto of poetry—one long chase scene, the spectacularization of suffering, and a relationship to history that makes accuracy an irrelevant question. Of course, the big difference is that Mel Gibson is an anti-semite, and Goldsmith is a Jew. They would probably not get along.

Ted Greenwald | 3 | Cuneiform | 2008

Quoth Patrick Lovelace: “The fundamental question of writing is: after you write a word, do you repeat the word that you’ve just written, or do you choose another?” Quoth Beowulf: “The sea is my mother! She would never take me back to her murky womb!” Ted Greenwald has been grappling with just this problem for decades. 3 is one of my favs by him, especially the standout first poem, “Going Into School That Day,” a long poem on love and memory, in which the next word is either a new word, or the previous word, or the previous word in a new place.

Juliana Spahr | The Transformation | Atelos | 2007
Juliana Spahr | Intricate Systems | The Press Gang | 2008

The Transformation may be, by the author’s account, a novel. I’m not sure. If so it’s a little out of place on this here poetry list, but who cares? The disregard for genre is part of its charm. Spahr’s increasingly intensive connective writing brings as many things into relation that can fit into a linguistic scene. Actually that’s not quote true – the relationships she builds are precise ones, with particular contemporary and political resonances. For instance, the migration from Hawaii to NYC narrated in The Transformation brings us from a colonial scene to it’s obverse: late 2001 America. Within this broader frame, all manner of institutional effects, social contradictions and forms of natural life are brought into conversation. That’s what keeps Spahr’s work from lapsing into a hippie monism or relativism: the politicized frame always reconfigures the disparate material into a specific critique. And Apocalypto.

Kevin Thurston and Lauren Bender | Boys are Retards | Produce | 2007

Kevin Thurston answers all the questions from a Cosmo Girl quiz-book, and he answers them truthfully. Is this because Thurston is a Cosmo Girl at heart? Or is it because he has a non-patronizing relationship to mass culture which allows him to engage with it formally, in a way which respects the sincerity of feeling structured by ideology? See, Thurston’s feelings are also ideological, he doesn’t pretend not to be cry during 3-D Imax Beowulf, he doesn’t pretend to be outside. Instead of a condescending attitude, instead of mocking forms of entertainment which swell legitimate emotion in legitimate humans, Thurston offers a skeptical but honest response to manipulative ad-affects. A single tear runs down his cheek.

Rod Smith | Deed | University of Iowa | 2007

There’s a part in 3-D Imax Beowulf where Beowulf jumps out of the eye of a seamonster, presumably killing the beast. How he got into the eye remains unclear. Deed is better than that scene, and Rod Smith is more heroic than Beowulf, by far.

Rachel Zolf | Human Resources | Coach House | 2007

Like spam but better, Human Resources reworks the junk language of the internet to bring to the surface it’s conflicted relationship to desire. On the one hand, spam is work written by a bot. On the other hand, spam is work written to be an intrusion in lives of people who are not bots: to spark the reader’s interest with its outrageous subject-heading or its surprising collage of often-sexualized language. Zolf uses this language to write a book not written by a bot, a book about desire as articulated by a person who speaks the language of spam, a language which is not necessarily rational, but which as immediate as a Jaguar eating a man’s face (as seen in Apocalypto). This book is spazzy, surprising and over-the-top. Since I only like things that are over-the-top, I like this book.

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Special Mention: the comments box on Silliman’s Blog

Day after day, loyal Silliman readers fill up his comments box with: insults and whining?  A terrific and totally baffling phenomenon. The misdirected anger of poets everywhere comes to a head here, in a great wash of complaining and PC finger-wagging. Silliman, to his credit, is graceful – he doesn’t seem to censor the comments, he allows all the regulars their space to be wacky or conservative, and he keeps on blogging on. A toast to Silliman, of course. But a second toast, please, to the folks who transform a poetry blog into a absolutely entertaining parade of off-beat characters.

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More Steven Zultanski here.

Attention Span – David Dowker

with 4 comments

Kevin Davies | The Golden Age of Paraphernalia | Edge | 2008

Nate Dorward, ed. | Antiphonies: Essays on Women’s Experimental Poetries in Canada | The Gig | 2008

Craig Dworkin, ed. | The Consequence of Innovation: 21st Century Poetics | Roof | 2008

Susan Howe | Souls of the Labadie Tract | New Directions | 2007

Trevor Joyce | What’s in Store | New Writers’ / The Gig | 2007

Karen Mac Cormack | Implexures | Chax / West House | 2008

Nathaniel Mackey | Bass Cathedral | New Directions | 2008

Steve McCaffery | Slightly Left of Thinking | Chax | 2008

Jennifer Moxley | The Middle Room | Subpress | 2007

Alice Notley | In the Pines | Penguin | 2007

Rod Smith | Deed | University of Iowa | 2007

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More David Dowker.