Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

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Posts Tagged ‘Stéphane Mallarmé

Attention Span 2011 | Jeanine Webb

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Joshua Clover | Fragment on the Machine | Handmade chapbook, 4 poems plus translations into French by Abigail Lang | 2011

“Gilded Age”’s throwdown aphorisms: “The best poetry will have contempt for its era but so will the worst” ; “it must align itself with work—meaning hatred/of work—it must desire/change so much it is accused of being in love/with annihilation.” Dante’s Francesca in the whirlwind of the Inferno’s 5th Canto illumed as the subject of circulation of capital, of love’s inability to fully remove us from this peregrination (Yeats, yes), where we are caught “sweet with longing” as “downwards to darkness/on extended credit” we fall, the industries of the empire abandoned massively still shining on the farther shore of the crisis—

Brian Ang | Paradise Now | grey book | 2011

Lenin horizontal, orgies on acid, free education Pavlovas, FLCL metabeer, bankrupt Chocobos anniliate the banks, and you know, cats. Receive +3 Intellect. Bitey. Ang,: “My poems disturb myself.” Perhaps an increasingly worthy aspiration.

Claude Closky | Les miens suivi de Biennales | Éditions Al Dante | 2009

Conceptual French poet uses celebrity names as raw material for sonnets in alexandrines, then juxtaposes them to poems formed in the same way from the names of artists from the Biennales. Surprising wit and pleasure quotient gained in reading them.

Uyen Hua | a/s/l | ingirumimusnocteetconsumimurigni | 2011

Age, sex, location. Melancholy, dendrital, funny-ass remix that understands our divided hearts, and keeps our constellations while avoiding mere glibdom (Lil Wayne approached like a pietà, heartfelt dreams involving Kevin Spacey, bombs in Kandahar mixed with tabloid hot or not sorrows). The “fee” one “pays to Mary J. Blige.” These are “songs about us.” “sometimes you just have to shrug/ put the record on repeat.” Dude, it’s so like that. Everyone I know is already imitating her, she’s that good. ❤

Chris Nealon | Plummet | Edge | 2009

Dear Chris Nealon, I can read this book again and again. And have this year. You make my trips to the drugstore so much better because I think of your lines on “pure despair.” It’s a groove. “If you treat the day as a melody, is that a kind of friendliness? Or text – is genre friendly?” I’m happy to dance to this workable theory up in da club. “Future anterior, hey/I’m running a little late” The system (thankfully) is still breaking down.

Juliana Spahr & Stephanie Young | A Megaphone | ChainLinks | 2011

Welcome outpouring of shiny ludic incisiveness and awful fact. Rhizomatic tentacled global hybridity and voices of women on their poetry communities and projects. Expansive, best read in doses, to my mind. Feels productively circular. Includes Spahr’s and Young’s great essay from 2007, “Numbers Trouble,” the importance of which 2010’s VIDA study again affirmed, to our dismay and ongoing critique.

K. Lorraine Graham | Terminal Humming | Edge | 2009

Honeycombs of zircon bureaucracy and power beeswax in the passive servomechanisms and pentagons. “I was a very minor missionary, actually a heretic, but I toiled/wholeheartedly in the vineyards because it was funfunfun.” Ready to bloodlet (blow up) through lacrosse (soup and salad) and an axe (automatic shredder) and go with produce bounce (get potassium). “Schizoid and hermetic.” Incandescent anger illuminates a lot for the ALIVE. “Missing trains, feeling wild in empty transit gates.”; “Female/until further notice.”

Tu Fu, tr. David Hinton | The Selected Poems of Tu Fu | New Directions | 1989

For when the crows come in from far capitals and tumbleweeds skip over the wells. “Mountain yellows fall. Startled I call out to my son Are there northern winds?” We are facing snow. “There isn’t time for new dikes. Enlisting /Mu Wang’s turtles and crocodiles is impossible.” The moaning of painted horns, will it ever stop? “Let’s talk things over, little buds—open delicately, sparingly.”

Frank O’Hara | manuscript translation of Mallarmé’s Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard (A throw of the dice will never abolish chance) | unknown date

Wouldn’t you like to know! The text’s a continuous block with no forced carriage returns or lineation, though Mallarmé’s capitals are retained. It is my conviction that this intrapoet formal denial experiment produces a new kind of beauty all compact. Writing about it, when I can. It’s like two of the hot poets I love having sex in my mind because and well furthermore that’s what is IS.

Kevin Killian | Action Kylie | ingirumimusnocteetconsumimurigni | 2008

Glitter hymn and invocation to the “secret understanding” of fan and diva, touched by “cold, hard” tears. A “secret understanding” that is also like “E.M. Forster’s concept of homosexuality as a willed gift.” Also, more, you know, cats.

Sandra Simonds | Warsaw Bikini | Bloof | 2008

I read at least one half of this on the beach in Kona in a bikini. The semantics are aggregrated gloriously and constantly threaten to deforest themselves. Or hammerhead shark-attack themselves. Plathian and Beckettish in the most brainy and sinister sense: manic nursery rhymes and the social contaminations, water wasps, the awful Doctor Dura Mater undercarriage.


Jeanine Webb’s poems have appeared in many journals, most recently in ARMED CELL, with two poems forthcoming in Lana Turner. Her essay on celebrity and poetics will appear in Tripwire. She helps organize San Diego’s Agitprop reading series and edits the cartonera-style journal TACOCAT. 

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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 2010 – Sarah Riggs

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I realize that this is a bit chatty, laced with biography and autobiography—I’m trying to find my way back into a critical reviewer mode I learned long ago, but that may be gone for good . . . well, no apologies, here are some philosophy, novels, along with of course poetry—that’s always been the trio, in intersection film and visual arts—and I see here, a near-decade of living also in and around French. As an aside, It would be nice also to review the wilderness, I should like to give a report on Jenny Lake in Wyoming.

Julia Strachey |  Cheerful Weather for the Wedding |  Hogarth |  1932

Lytton Strachey’s niece wrote this novel, and it’s brilliant in the way that Douglas Sirk films are, bitingly ironic in the brightest most vivid of British aristocratic settings. I never would have read it with such a title, but that I found it on my bedside table, simply because Keith Waldrop mentioned it to Jacques Roubaud who mentioned it to Marie Anne Guérin who mentioned it to Omar Berrada, who left it on that table. Apparently that’s more or less all she wrote. Dommage.

Gemma Corradi Fiumara | The Other Side of Language: A Philosophy of Listening | Routledge | 1990

Basically the notion, repeated in infinite ways, in an Italian-turned-English philosophic density and delicatesse is this:  the west does not listen, we speak. And since the west is becoming everywhere, it’s getting very noisy. I loved listening to this repeated, the philosopher’s form of the Zen embrace of silence. And further the possibility of the profundity of listening as the other side of how to live, would that we receive it.

Virginia Woolf, trans. Anne Wicke |  Au Phare |  Stock | 2009

Reputedly an excellent new translation of To the Lighthouse (1927), and since I’ve read English versions of it for the last many summers running, and accidentally forgot it during the lighthouse holiday this time, had the idea to try it in French. The movement of the mind across, and in, and through landscapes & people is what’s been nudging me toward making a film poem based on two novels—this one and The Waves, the latter of which was the basis for Vita Sackville-West comment that VW was a poet writing in prose. Woolf’s essays on “Cinema,” “On Being Ill,” and the portraits of her in Joan Russell Noble, Recollections of Virginia Woolf, William Morrow & Company, 1972, and the recent collection from the Smith College 2010 exposition are among the jewels sparkling the brightest in the Woolf/Bloomsbury constellation.

Peter Gizzi |  Artificial Heart |  Burning Deck | 1998

Sometimes you’re drowning in a surfeit of poetry books, where nothing speaks to you, it’s just words turning, twisting, far away from you, obligations to their authors whom are awaiting keen responses. This is where listening to actual poets, Penn Sound, or UBU web come in. I fell in love with a poem, and turned to its book. It’s not your conversion experience, it’s mine: all these years of atheism, I’m now . . . agnostic!  It’s sounds like nothing, but it’s a lot for a poetry book. The heart beats, without artifice sometimes, à force de l’entendre.

Liliane Giraudon |  La Poétesse | P.O.L. |  2009

Spunky, multi-styled book of French poetry, one of the best I’ve read lately. As usual with poetry, hard to tell you exactly what it’s about, here perhaps sequences of attitudes. This late-career Marseille-based poet is phenomenal, trying everything since surviving a cancer diagnosis a few years ago, including collaborations with film, photo, music, trying her hand at drawing, collage. She lives with two poets, Jean-Jacques Viton and Henri Deluy, a sort of Marseille-Paris threesome on the move, she’s putting the “esse”nce  back in poétry, now working with theater on a theme of Amazons.

Stéphane Bouquet |  Nos Amériques | Champ Vallon |  2010

Follows the brilliant Un Peuple which Cole Swensen and I are currently translating by an unusual dictation swapping technique that seems to be working at first go, and gives us the sense of being at times the amazing writer himself!!  Bouquet is mid-career, has worked in and around film, dance (with Mathilde Monnier), also for many years as a film critic, currently a translator of Creeley and Blackburn. Whereas A People acts like a poetic meditative encyclopedia of artists who reappear in astonishing mimetic bouquets—Keats, Whitman, Woolf, Pasolini, others—this latest follows his earlier five-part sequences, philosophic manqué sexy pondscapes and I’m still trying to figure out what.

Pier Paolo Pasolini | Tal cour di un frut | Actes Sud |  1953

The facing page French translations plus my glancing knowledge of Italian, and the Latinate roots of Friulian dialect, mean I get to invent my own English versions, which suits me better than reading English translations of these tiny, fiercely adolescent poems. For all that Pasolini did in lifetime—living as if there were no walls—what came first was writing poems in his maternal dialect, already a political act. I love how this was the movement that led into all the others.

Stéphane Mallarmé, trans. Henry Weinfield  | Collected Poems | California | 1996

I chose this edition of Mallarmé for my NYU-in-France students because it was treated with such reverence back when I was getting my doctorate at U. of Michigan. It is a beautiful large-format book to finger and caress, with much beige margin space, the mellifluous, scant rhymes often impressive, sometimes disappointing, but the missing gutter, which is to say the choice to do facing page French-English instead of keeping the arrangement of words across the fold as Mallarmé had chosen, does not survive the translator’s apology in the postface. I am now on the lookout for other translations of Mallarmé.

Steve Evans | Attention Span | Third Factory  | 2003- 2010++

Curators who invent forms are creators, and the results are strangely shaped, semi-intangible at times. Examples include the Parisian salons of Stein, Mallarmé, the Hogarth Press of the Woolf’s, Burning Deck of the Waldrop’s, Naropa of mostly Anne Waldman of long late, Pierre Joris & other bloggers of zest and wide knowledge. America has always been a creative place for bringing people together, also because the distances are so great. Evans here finds a way to make the virtual distances great ones in the great sense.

Doris Lessing | Prisons We Choose to Live Inside | Anasi | 1991

Watch out, this book is dangerous. It suggests there’s no independent thinking. And that the information we need to live well we already have, but we ignore most of it. In the form of university lectures, but it makes you feel as if you’re in the room with her. Which is perhaps what made me want to go to London to meet her, though this hasn’t happened. It’s a book I feel at present I cannot live without.

More Sarah Riggs here. Back to directory.