Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

art is autonomous

Posts Tagged ‘Sawako Nakayasu

Attention Span 2011 | Sawako Nakayasu

leave a comment »

Juliana Leslie | More Radiant Signal | Letter Machine | 2010

The poems feel diaphanous, and like they wouldn’t fare too well in a bar fight, except for the fact that we are all thrown off our stools by a strange and beautiful light that disappears when you turn away, or does it.

Don Mee Choi | The Morning News Is Exciting | Action | 2010

There is so much I love here. If this is postcolonial literature I want to write postcolonial literature too, though I can’t, being Japanese and/or American.

Zachary Schomburg | The Man Suit | Black Ocean | 2007
Zachary Schomburg | Scary, No Scary | Black Ocean | 2009

Love is when a boat is half-buried by all the cobwebs of eyelashes in the ocean.

Kiwao Nomura, trans. Kyoko Yoshida and Forrest Gander | Spectacle & Pigsty | Omnidawn | 2011
Hiromi Ito, trans. Jeffrey Angles | Killing Kanoko | Action | 2009

Nomura’s poems are just as hypnotizing as they are in the original Japanese–darkly gorgeous and radiant, as the ‘orgasm-monger plods past/ nerve ants plod past.’ Norma Cole in her book of essays compares the expansiveness of theater-making to that of her experiences with group translation, and I think she is onto something there–perhaps the future is in collaborative translation.

One of the first things I heard about Hiromi Ito was that Japanese women in the 80s were trembling in the closet reading her work with a flashlight. Some have chalked up her work to an aesthetics of the shocking (as in, Kanoko is the name of her own daughter), but it’s been a very important part of Japanese feminist poetry these last few decades.

Frances Chung | Crazy Melon and Chinese Apple | Wesleyan | 2000

Chinatown is a place to go eat chinks. It’d be kind of silly to label this work something like the Chinese-American New York School, but I just did and yet it’s much more than that–in fact the last thing I want to do is to wrap it up under some Chinese-American bubble because it cuts across these lines, similar-different to Teresa Hak Kyung Cha. Walter Lew sent it to me this summer when I was bugging him about Yi Sang. Thank you, Walter. Thank you, Frances. I have always loved the color celadon, but now joining it on the palette is duck shit green. 

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

A guided tour of Norma Cole’s readings, thinking, and practice…including some excellent writings on translation, Mina Loy, and color. Now the heartbreak of the rational.

Lily Hoang | The Evolutionary Revolution | Les Figues | 2010

Their bodies begin as uncooked noodles, stiff and starchy, but as their heads wander, they limpen, soften, become saturated with dream.

Miryam Sas | Fault Lines: cultural memory and Japanese surrealism | Stanford | 1999

It’s true that I’m working on a Japanese Modernism project right now, but as I go back into this book, I am finding that it offers a conversation about more than just that particular time and place–examples of how to think about cultural transactions, or write about writing, or consider Surrealism inside and outside of its original and secondary contexts.

Marisol Limon Martinez | After you, dearest language | Ugly Duckling | 2005

This analogue version of hypertext is a wonderful way to house a narrative, and makes me think about more analog-digital potentials in poetry. (I also recently realized that I am married to a technophile-technophobe.)

§

More Sawako Nakayasu here.

Nakayasu’s Attention Span for 2009, 2008. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Kevin Killian

with 2 comments

Steven Farmer | Glowball | theenk | 2010

Farmer is one of those writers who just don’t get published enough, for often when I look at current events I long to find out what Steve Farmer’s take on it will be, and then ten years later, in a book like Glowball, it’s still the news that makes news.  He is always inventive, and his long poems have a shapely quality to them denied to some of his peers. Even in a traditional attraction such as the metaphor, his are exceedingly gorgeous: I like the “greater Los Angeles area” as a “manuscript in a parking lot.” You can tell he takes the long view: the cover is a Robert Fisk photo of US bomb activity in Iraq, and makes it seem like the “return to immensity” nasty old George Bataille was cheerleading for in his cold-war take on de Sade. Well, a sort of jewel box awaits you, courtesy of Palmyra New York and its mighty little theenk Books, and when you read Glowball, that it came from Palmyra will seem so apropos.

Lara Glenum and Arielle Greenberg, eds. | Gurlesque: the new grrly, grotesque burlesque poetics | Saturnalia | 2010

Lost in the gritty and fabulous world of Gurlesque, it’s easy to forget the whole rest of the world that doesn’t have unicorns with green tails. So many talented writers, all of them working the same vein. Yet as Judith Halberstam assures us, it’s more of a sensibility than a similarity of content; well, that’s true but it seems like a genre too—can a genre and a sensibility equate to the same thing? After reading Gurlesque I have new thoughts about New Narrative of all things, for the two whatevers share more than a coincidental number of common concerns surely: the fixation on shame and embarrassment, the use of gossip to promote social upheaval, the deployment of kitsch, porn and pop to soak the very texture of the poem with discomfort. I’m just upset because Tina Brown Celona’s poem “Event History” shows me up as being sort of a dick. Apparently I snubbed her at a poetry reading, and what’s scary is, I might do so again having never met her and not realizing she’s a Madame Defarge with an elephant’s memory.

Natalie Knight | Archipelagos | Punch | 2009

I heard of her first in connection with her poets theater work and her collaboration with Rodrigo Toscano, but I have been lucky enough to see a fair amount of her poetry too. Richard Owens from Punch Press put out this lovely little book late last year. It ends with a preface—why don’t more books do this?—and begins with one too. In fact it’s a book that meets itself in the middle, or throws itself out like a boomerang and spins itself back in, an able angler. The poem, like a mirror, throws its light back and forth from subject to object. Images of thirst, inertia, desiccation suggest not only a crisis of nature, but an economic arrhythmia troubling the desert like the serpent monster in that Tremors movie with Kevin Bacon long ago. “We mastered weather while soldiers manned uranium rigs in the depths of this unconscious planet.”

Rachel Levitsky | Neighbor | Ugly Duckling | 2009

Neighbor has the feel of a book I will return to often over the next years, and it has also a back story that Levitsky outlines in her back matter that just floors me. I knew writing poetry was hard, but I never thought that I could get a village to help me through! What one comes away with in Neighbor is the sense of a sharply individuated voice, mediating all sorts of very charged political and emotional material, but also the sense, a comforting sense, of the power that a likeminded cohort of massed energies (“many in solitary”) can bequeath to a long project. The upshot is that Neighbor begins well and just gets better and better and better—well, there’s a poets theater type of piece which not everybody is going to love as much as I do—but I can’t picture anyone not swooning over—like bobbysoxers at the Paramount when Sinatra took the microphone—over the final section “The Desire of the Writer,” in which practically every line is great, for how often does that happen, really happen?

Sawako Nakayasu | Texture Notes | Letter Machine | 2010

With characteristic abandon, Sawako Nakayasu named her book after her long-ago blog, retaining that insouciant “notes” flavor that, when I see it in a book title, always makes me think, maybe I should wait for the real thing? “Notes” has a throwaway or at any rate provisional quality to it, though I suppose since Sontag’s “Notes on Camp” has attained more and more that feeling of terminal status that it was meant originally to deflect. Needless to say, Texture Notes is to texture as a Handbook to Surfing was to surfing, i.e., perhaps the last words on the subject. Oysters, she writes, to Paul Foster Johnson, embody the wet more than any other food or beverage, even water. You might wipe your eyes with one, “or rather, desperate for something that could act as a tonic, I would feed it to the next person who was in danger of drying out, yes you.” In other entries she considers the texture of danger, the texture of a raw red cow tongue in her mouth, the “physicality of intelligence” she detects in sumo. Left side right side of the brain: there’s nothing on the left side of each pair of pages, but a title and a dedication; on the right side is all the poetry. I had almost said “meat” because I’m getting so textural. Meat—the traffic of the internal plumbing.

Stan Persky & Brian Fawcett | Robin Blaser | New Star | 2010

I’m a sucker for any book called Robin Blaser, but this one is especially tasty, being that it was written by two of the former protégés of Robin Blaser, the American-born Canadian poet who left us last year. It’s not a collaboration per se, but rather a canny editor’s linking of two lengthy articles; however I find the conjunction very intriguing. Persky met Blaser in North Beach in the late 1950s, during his immersion in the Duncan/Spicer circle that proved an in-depth education for the young seaman. Fawcett’s encounter with Blaser was rather different, he was a young student right off the farm when he wound up in one of the first classes polymath Blaser taught in a formal setup (at Simon Fraser University in B.C. Funny thing is neither man writes poetry nowadays. In fact, Fawcett turns his half of the book into a blistering J’Accuse against the follies of the New American Poetry. I’m like, oh really? And yet the book has, of course, a depth of philosophical inquiry that will help many unravel the mysteries of Blaser.

Tom Raworth, trans. and ed. Gabriela Jauregui | El Tiempo Se Volvio Cuero | Sur +/avra ediciones | 2009

Gabriela Jauregui of Mexico City, who wrote one of my favorite books of poetry of 2008 (Controlled Decay) told me of her long immersion in the work of Tom Raworth and got me all excited when she said she had been translating his work into Spanish. And now here the book is, in a bilingual edition that, as I read through it, may I realize be the best selection of Raworth’s writing that we have. What comes to mind is the speed with which Raworth plows through his readings, so fast he’s huffing and puffing through the end, and the speed of Spanish, the multiple vowels and syllables so that there’s even more to hear and more to experience. Maybe a year back I went down to Glendale to hear Raworth and Juaregui read together for this book’s launch at the Poetics Research Bureau; sometimes he’d read, sometimes she would, but when they stood side by side and erased simultaneously it was better than the Kentucky Derby or Seabiscuit! I should also say that Juaregui’s notes (footnotes) in El Tiempo deserve their own five stars.

Sarah Rosenthal | A Community Writing Itself: Conversations with Vanguard Writers of the Bay Area | Dalkey Archive | 2010

Sarah Rosenthal’s idea of the Bay Area writing community is hardly mine, but how I envy the poets who got to sit down and glory in all those sharply focussed, attentive and ultimately liberating questions she asks. She seems to have read everything each of her subjects has written, and to have it all at the tip of her tongue. It must be heaven to be so understood! At times such depth of knowledge leads to comic effects: Barbara Guest, faced with a multipart reading of her difficult work, seems so pleased that all she responds with is, “Yes,” or “What you’re saying is true.” I’m happy to see the New Narrative ably represented by Bob Glück and Camille Roy, but after a promising appearance in Rosenthal’s introduction, the Language poets seem to be disappeared from the bulk of the book, save by Bob explaining that life here in SF has become less bellicose in recent years, now that Tom Mandel, Ron Silliman, Barrett Watten and Bob Perelman have all moved along.

Nathaniel Siegel | Tony | Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs | 2009

In short, sharp little lines that resemble the bursts of memory and shame of a young man’s journey towards gay self-acceptance, Nathaniel Siegel’s psychological acuity and his skill prevent him from ever getting too sappy about it. It is the sort of poem I wish I could have written, a montage of scenes appearing quickly, then flash, you’re in another awkward, sexy place with a musical soundtrack, and even sweeter, the names of boys and men like a litany of broken promises. He gets everything right, even the moment of steeling up your courage to come out to your brother, like he didn’t already know years ago. Each stanza I would have worked up into a touching short story, but here it’s the speed and the accuracy of the notation that matter, like what’s his name, like listening to an old Art Tatum session and shaking your head in wonder and envy. By the end, you have lived a stranger’s life so intensely he’s become your comrade, your rabbi, your favorite boyfriend.

Christopher Wagstaff, ed. | Paul Alexander: On Black Mountain College and the San Francisco Scene | Rose Books | 2010

I know that I promised Brian Fawcett I would have no more truck with the evil New American Poetry, and yet this beautiful transcription of three mid-1980s interviews with the painter Paul Alexander broke my vow right away. (This book is #3 in a Rose Books series called “Painters of the San Francisco Renaissance.”) Paul Alexander, happily still alive and working in northern California, was a student in the late, decadent flowering of Black Mountain and came west with the others once the college closed in 1956. He worked closely with Olson, Duncan, Keilty, Borregaard, Jess, Adam, maybe not so much with Jack Spicer, though his younger brother Jim was one of the key figures in Spicer’s artistic development. Alexander, Tom Field and a few others found themselves at odds with the artistic trends of their time, ignored both by New York and by the SFAI/”6” Gallery artists like Deborah Remington and Wally Hedrick, but they persevered despite it all. Their uncanny work is ripe for full rediscovery.

David Wolach | Occultations | Black Radish | 2010

I come to this work thinking of the meetings I’ve attended of the Nonsites Collective here in San Francisco, a movement that has certainly inflected Bay Area writing practice over the past couple years. Wolach seems one of the most talented of a phalanx of talented participants, but I will have to read Occultations many more times to tell you how I really feel about it. He must have given his designers hell, as do many performance artists-turned-book poets, for nearly every page has some visual stunt going on to amplify or complicate the already dense and Halpernian movement of the words. This is a writing attuned gingerly to a certain amount of pain, proposing itself in a world where it’s always 3:30 in the morning.  I admire what he does with his body, and the advocacy with which Occultations speaks for (or to, perhaps) the victims of brutality, government indifference or policy, the heteronormative dictatorship, and disease. It’s a long book, but it’s been a long war.

More Kevin Killian here. His Attention Span for 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 . Back to directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Jordan Stempleman

leave a comment »

Heather Christle | A Difficult Farm| Octopus | 2009

When, months in advance, the memory gets it right, once and for all, equipment will not wake us, and our possessions will sound more like we do.

Joy Williams| Honored Guest | Knopf | 2004

A collection of short stories about the insupportable unease of bare life and surprises like dying.

Kelly Link | Magic For Beginners | Small Beer |2005

Ghosts, zombies, cannons, ex-wives, dead and there at Disneyworld.

Zachary Schomburg | Scary, No Scary | Black Ocean | 2009

Poems suddenly planted in the waking world that update the necessary terror and steady welcomed breathlessness found in old-fashioned sublimity.

Linh Dinh | Some Kind Of Cheese Orgy | Chax |2009

We do say these things; think these things; laugh at these things; say we’re not these things that we are.

VA | Disco Prairie Social Aid And Pleasure Club | Factory Hollow | 2010

The best lines found elsewhere, now poems somewhat to themselves (144 poets).

Dorothea Lasky| Black Life |Wave | 2010

“Fear is not irony”

I was instantly shaken then hooked on this poet when I saw her read in Iowa City in 2007. Astounding mixture of head/heart.

Sawako Nakayasu| Texture Notes | Letter Machine | 2010

Poems more about what sensations do when sensations are focused on the object they carry: “The texture not of motherfucking diarrhea, but texture of / the girls, women, all ages and sizes, who have it, diarrhea / like a motherfucker.”

More Jordan Stempleman here. His Attention Span for 2007. Back to directory.

Written by Steve Evans

September 17, 2010 at 1:37 pm

Attention Span 2010 – Joshua Edwards

leave a comment »

Pedro Ramos | Black Scabbard Research Centre | self-published | 2010

A pamphlet of menacing b&w coastal photos by a young Portuguese photographer who lives in Australia. It uses original work as well as photos appropriated for various media and friends. Highlights include a child sitting on a dead shark, a cliff diver, kissing teenagers, a bat being fed with a syringe, and a back-lit figure in a hoodie. Ramos is from Madeira Island, and his photos have been particularly helpful as work on a manuscript about my birthplace, Galveston, with my dad, using photos he took of the island about thirty years ago. Galveston has the dubious distinction of being featured in a forthcoming low budget sci-fi film, Monsters. Set mostly in Mexico and on the border, the movie’s scenes of devastated, carpet-bombed landscapes were filmed on Galveston after hurricane Ike. The film’s editor said “But we didn’t really need to create an illusion of mass destruction in Galveston,because it was already there, everywhere, after the hurricane. All we had to do is block out any view of the highway in the background. Otherwise, we got millions of dollars’ worth of production design for next to nothing.”

Samuel Amadon | Like a Sea | Iowa | 2010

Like a Sea is a formally restless book full of restless poems that are by turns aphoristic, hilarious, image-driven, sad, and meditative. As various as the poems are, Amadon’s voice is clear, albeit a chorus.

Rae Armantrout | Versed | Wesleyan | 2009

I heard Armantrout read for the first time earlier this year. I liked her poems before the reading, I loved them after. This book has plenty of the wit of pain, the pain of wit, etc.

Anne Carson | Nox | New Directions | 2010

I’ve mostly just stared at the pages of Nox, wishing I could place memoir and history in such elegant folds as does Carson. I think Rexroth would have gone apeshit for this thing.

Brandon Downing | Lake Antiquity | Fence | 2009

Lake Antiquity is beautiful and it makes me laugh.

Andrew Joron | Trance Archive | City Lights | 2010

What an ear! “Constellations for Theremin,” an excerpt of which is in this book, is one of the most stunning poems I’ve come across in a long time. Joron writes like someone born yesterday to parents from tomorrow.

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

Another great translation by Sawako Nakayasu. I was lucky to read this in manuscript form, and I’ve been rereading it since. Ayane Kawata’s terrifying dreams make for awesome poems.

Ibn Khalawayh, trans. David Larsen | Names of the Lion | Atticus/Finch | 2009

One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen (designed by Michael Cross), Names of the Lion is better beheld than commented on. Larsen’s introduction and notes are excellent.

César Moro | La tortuna ecuestre y otros poemas en español | Biblioteca Nueva | 2002

I heard about Moro last summer from a Peruvian friend. Unfortunately, he’s pretty much unknown to English readers and very little of his work has been published in translation. We’re doing a feature on him in Mantis, publishing some of his French poems from Love Until Death (he wrote mostly in French, his second language, after moving to Europe in his twenties). La tortuga ecuestre y otros poemas en español consists of his first book and some uncollected early work.

Sawako Nakayasu | Texture Notes | Letter Machine | 2010

A book of surfaces and dreams, voyages and events, measurements, meals, colors, and, above all, the body pressed up against the world. Another year, another great book by one of my favorite poets.

William Wylie | Route 36 | Flood | 2010

Flood did a terrific job producing this book of b&w photos of landscapes and small town architecture in Kansas and Colorado. An introduction by Merrill Gilfillan provides some context. My dad is a documentary photographer, and I’ve always been interested in the lyrical possibilities of projects like this that reflect the essential gaze. I hope Flood publishes more photography titles, and I’m definitely going to look into Wylie’s other books.

More Joshua Edwards here. Edwards’s Attention Span for 2009, 2007. 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 2009 – Sawako Nakayasu

leave a comment »

Keith Waldrop | Several Gravities | Siglio Press | 2009

Vanessa Place | La Medusa | Fiction Collective 2 | 2008

Janet Sarbanes | Army of One | Otis Books/Seismicity Editions | 2008

Eric Hoyt | The Earth Dwellers: Adventures in the Land of Ants | Simon & Schuster | 1996

George Kubler | The Shape of Time | Yale University Press | 1962

Kurt Schwitters, trans. and ed. Jerome Rothenberg & Pierre Joris | Pppppp: Kurt Schwitters Poems, Performance, Pieces, Proses, Plays, Poetics | Exact Change | 2002

Daniel Heller-Roazen | Echolalias: On the Forgetting of Language | Zone Books | 2005

Seiichi Niikuni | Works 1952-1977 | Shichosha | 2008

Piero Heliczer | A purchase in the white botanica | Granary Books | 2001

Viktor Shklovsky | ZOO or Lettersd Not about Love | Dalkey Archive | 2001

Caroline Dubois, trans. Cole Swensen | Caroline Dubois: You Are the Business | Burning Deck | 2008

More Sawako Nakayasu here.

Attention Span 2009 – Joshua Edwards

with one comment

Eleanor M. Bender, ed. | Open Spaces, Number 29, Spring | 1980

I came across this not long ago, while looking through books at my parents’ home. It’s a 64-page staple-bound poetry magazine. On the cover is a photo my dad took of two young poets. One of them is Harryette Mullen, and it turns out she was poet-in-residence at the Galveston Arts Center, where my dad directed the gallery. I always thought that I’d never met a “poet” until I left Texas and went to college in Oregon, but she was a friend of my parents when I was one year old. More proof that they’re far cooler than I gave them credit for when I was in high school. The magazine also includes work by Ahmos Zu-Bolton II, Marge Piercy, X. J. Kennedy, Susan Ludvigson, Robert Wilkinson, Tess Gallagher, Carolyn Kizer, and Marilyn Hacker.

August Kleinzahler | Sleeping It Off in Rapid City | Farrar, Straus and Giroux | 2008

Kleinzahler keeps me on my toes with his vocabulary, wit, and formal variety, and this book makes me want to write poems in ballparks, streetcars, hotel rooms, and diners. I’ve just moved to the Bay Area, and I’m sure I’ll often wander through the fog with these poems in mind.

Eugene Ionesco, trans. Donald Watson | Rhinoceros | Penguin | 2000

If Beckett had dropped acid and interpreted certain themes in Moby Dick in a play …

Kenneth Rexroth, trans. | One Hundred Poems from the Chinese | New Directions | 1971

For ten months I was in Shanghai, so this anthology of T’ang and Sung Dynasty poets was a constant companion as I tried to figure out what was under the sidewalk besides the subway. Su Tung P’o (a.k.a. Su Dongpo or Su Shi) is represented by some amazing poems.

Kenneth Rexroth, trans. | One Hundred Poems from the Japanese | New Directions | 1977
Kenneth Rexroth & Ikuko Atsumi, trans. | Women Poets of Japan | New Directions | 1977

I was too busy eating during a month-long trip around Japan to read much of anything, but ever since leaving I’ve pulled these classics from the shelf and have been rereading them constantly. Lady Otomo No Sakanoe’s “Have I learned to understand you?” is perhaps the most beautiful rhetorical question I’ve ever read.

Rimbaud, trans. Wallace Fowlie | Complete Works, Selected Letters | The University of Chicago Press | 1966

“Mon triste cœr bave à la poupe” says it all.

Sawako Nakayasu | Hurry Home Honey | Burning Deck | 2009

In the wrong hands love can get old fast, but Sawako Nakayasu’s fantastic and inventive poems are as contemporary as Cupid’s arrows get. This book is a must-read for anyone who has a heart.

Tod Marshall | The Tangled Line | Canarium Books | 2009
Ish Klein | UNION! | Canarium Books | 2009

We were super lucky to get Tod’s and Ish’s books for our first two Canarium single-author titles. I’ve read them both at least a dozen times, and I keep coming back for more.

Haruki Murakami | What I Talk About When I Talk About Running | Knopf | 2008

I like this book but only because I’ve been on a running kick and Murakami makes writing prose seem fun. But overall, it’s poorly organized and often flat—it should have been called something like “Notes Toward a Book About Running.” Still, good for anyone training for a road race or a triathlon, etc., and often funny.

More Joshua Edwards here.