Third Factory/Notes to Poetry

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Posts Tagged ‘William Carlos Williams

Attention Span 2011 | David Trinidad

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A.R. Ammons | Garbage | Norton | 1993

I’m in the middle of this now, and liking it a lot. Book-length poem in run-on couplets. Ammons has a very friendly, welcoming mind; I trust his meanderings. I think he wants us to think his wisdom is homespun, but in fact it’s wizardly. “have some respect for other speakers of being and / for god’s sake drop all this crap about words, // singularity, and dominion: it is so boring”

Jeanne Marie Beaumont | Burning of the Three Fires | Boa | 2010

Her third book, and a leap forward. I felt, reading poem after poem, that here is a poet at the height of her powers. Awe-inspiring. Witchy, in just the right way. The magic of her own peculiar and deep being.

Elaine Equi | Click and Clone | Coffee House | 2011

Fabulous new book by one of my favorite poets. For thirty years her work has never failed to surprise and delight. No one does what she does. She makes life bearable, makes everything seem shiny and bright. Store-bought and oracular. Click and Clone. You can’t help but snap your fingers to it.

Denise Levertov | The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams | New Directions | 1998

Read this while traveling; couldn’t put it down. WCW to DL: “It must be in the words themselves and what you find to do with them and what you have the spirit and trust to rely on the reader to find what you have put among them. Where is it? In detail. Microscopically.” Also read and loved Levertov’s O Taste and See (1964).

Arthur Rimbaud, trans. John Ashbery | Illuminations | Norton | 2011

I’ve never been able to grasp the beauty of Illuminations (and over the years I’ve tried). But in Ashbery’s new translation the beauty comes through loud and clear. His sent me back to the Louise Varèse translation; I found her introduction extremely helpful.

Jane Roberts | The Nature of Personal Reality | Amber-Allen | 1974

We create our own reality—did ya know. “Your thoughts blossom into events . . . Your beliefs grow as surely in time and space as flowers do. When you realize this you can even feel their growing.” Jane Roberts’ Seth books changed—continue to change—my life.

Maxine Scates | Undone | New Issues | 2011

I wish more contemporary poets were as self-realized as Scates. Her poems really hit the vein. A true sense of interiority (of time spent alone, seeing and thinking and feeling and remembering), illustrating how the past and the present exist simultaneously in us. Beautiful and devastating.

Nick Twemlow | Your Mouth Is Everywhere | Racquetball | 2010

Long overdue first chapbook by a terrific poet. He manages to make me laugh and scare me at the same time. Slick, deep stuff. Happily, his first full-length collection is forthcoming.

William Carlos Williams | Paterson | New Directions | 1995

The Great Beast. I’ve always wanted to read this, and this summer I finally did. In a reading group with four others—every Thursday night for five weeks—which made it that much more of an experience. This led me to WCW’s Selected Letters and his amazing The Desert Music (1954). There are few poets I admire as much as Williams. “unless I find a place // apart from it, I am its slave”

W.B. Yeats | Mythologies | Touchstone | 1959

I actually only read the first book in this collection: The Celtic Twilight, which was published in 1893. Fairy tale-like stories of the supernatural: village ghosts, enchanted woods, faery glamour. Letters of fire that vanish before they can be read.


David Trinidad is the author of Dear Prudence: New and Selected Poems (Turtle Point Press). He is also editor of A Fast Life: The Collected Poems of Tim Dlugos (Nightboat Books). He teaches poetry at Columbia College Chicago, where he co-edits the journal Court Green and is the 2011-2013 Distinguished Faculty Scholar. This is his first contribution to Attention Span. Back to 2011 directory.

Attention Span 2010 – Matvei Yankelevich

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Maged Zaher | Portrait of the Poet As an Engineer | Pressed Wafer | 2009

This is a poet. This is an engineer. What better combination? Emotion collides with technology, programming with psychology. Lingo cohabits with angst. This is really strong work with it’s very own thing, with influences divergent enough to create something different but not unfamiliar. I like reading this book and giving it to people and then buying it again.

Graham Foust | A Mouth in California | Flood | 2009

I tried to read new poetry this year, actual books, not just chapbooks and manuscripts, and I’ve been meaning to find out—who is Graham Foust, and what’s he all about. This book is a pure depressive joy to read, like listening to Modest Mouse’s first album. Or something like that. It’s a mouth in pain, perhaps. But it’s beautiful, some of the phrases I just had to re-read and re-read. He does stuff, a kind of performative utterance, in each poem. A twist that I physically feel. I think maybe Graham Foust is a Physical Poet par-excellence.

Catherine Wagner | My New Job | Fence | 2009

I loved the “My New Job” section of this book most. It made me jump, or it jolted me—a kind of aesthetic/intellectual/visceral response I can’t quite locate or describe. Cathy Wagner startles as before, but does the job newer, leaner, better.

Macgregor Card | Duties of an English Foreign Secretary | Fence | 2009

This is a book of adventures that always bring the author and the reader back to one’s friends, for high-tea maybe, or for a heart-felt reunion. The words themselves become Macgregor Card’s friends, too; he sees them—and says them—again and again. My friend Ellie Ga’s cover photo is a pretty great reason for loving it, too. See, friends again. But, though many of the poems are dedicated (or feature as characters) real live friends (and also aesthetic-friends of the authors that are long gone, like the Spasmodic poets), it never feels like an in-thing or a closed circle. It’s a book that nourishes the reader with its hospitality. And hospitality bears repeating.

Robert Fitterman | Sprawl | Make Now | 2009

LOL. Do actually read trough it. The Mall of the Subconscious. Very subtly done. Consumer review: I was impressed by the variety this store has to offer, and the prices are reasonable.

Danielle Dutton | Sprawl | Siglio | 2010

Yes, same title. Totally different, though read in tandem… could be quite interesting. Sprawl is one of the best new novels of our time, no question. Diane Williams hovers nearby, as does Markson in its disassociations, and maybe Abish in its obsessions. As does Douglas Sirk. Discomfort in Suburbia.

Ish Klein | Union! | Canarium | 2009

Surprises abound. I like the way the logic twists slowly over the time of the long-ish poems. The centering of the lines put me off at first, but then I got into it. Ish Klein has a unique sympathy for everything her language touches even when it’s in despair. Nice title!

Kristin Prevallet | I, Afterlife: An Essay in Mourning Time | Essay Press | 2007

Been meaning to read it since it came out… Finally did. And glad I did. Resonated with me personally. Ideas about elegy here were not only compelling but very useful, both to life and to poetics. It’s a beautiful use of essay, narrative, and poetry interwoven, without being some kind of forced “hybrid.”

William Carlos Williams | Spring & All | Frontier Press (reprint of the 1923 Contact Press edition) | 1970

It is a pleasure to read this in its own edition as a separate little book. I keep doing it. Spring and Fall.

(When will we get the original Lost Lunar Baedeker in a reprint edition, or a new one of Spring and All…? Any takers…? Is New Directions gonna do it?)

Douglas Rothschild | Theogony | Subpress | 2009

How do you pronounce that again? In any case, it suit this book to follow Williams in this little list. Politics, yes. “Minor Arcana” is of course a canonical text as far as digestion of the Bush-years goes. And it’s laugh-out-loud, as the kids say. But there’s much more here. Very delicate stuff made with a persevering hand. A light trace of knuckle on these pages. Something I can come back to.

Mac Wellman | Miniature | Roof | 2002

Weird and wonderful poems. Defamiliarize yourself.

Mac Wellman | The Difficulty of Crossing a Field | Minnesota | 2008

Wow… Especially awesome forward by Helen Shaw, and Wellman’s ongoing essay: “Speculations: An Essay on the Theater.” Great thinking, great writing, plus wry humor! Could be read alongside R. Foreman’s Unbalancing Acts as the big turn in turn of the century poetic theater (not poet’s theater). (With all the current buzz about poet’s theater, one must wonder why we poets, as a rule, aren’t reading plays or going to the theater to see what we have to learn from the other “dying” art-form. On that note…)

Sibyl Kempson | Crime or Emergency | 53rd State | 2009

I loved the fireball production of this at PS122. The text is like a mash-up of soap opera and action thriller and Bruce-Springstein-cabaret. Or maybe… Knife on the Water + The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant + Warhol’s Cowboys. Yikes.

Raymond Queneau | Witch Grass | NYRB Classics | 2003

Some confusion: the old edition of the same (great) translation is titled The Bark-Tree. (The translator, the incomparable Barbara Wright, explains why she changed the title.) But I think the translation in this re-issue is the same. This has to be the craziest (first) novel ever… 1933! So beautiful. So Pascal. So funny. So melancholy. Dig the ending(?). Nothing compares.

More Matvei Yankelevich. His Attention Span for 2007. Back to directory.

Attention Span 2009 – Michael Gizzi

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Keith Waldrop | Transcendental Studies | California | 2009

Brian Evenson | Fugue State | Coffee House | 2009

Brian Evenson | Last Gasp

Robin Kelley | Thelonious Monk | Free Press | 2009

Jennifer Moxley | Clampdown | Flood | 2009

Lisa Jarnot | Night Scenes | 2008

Kit Robinson | Train I Ride | Bookthug | 2009

Robert Pogue Harrison | Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition | Chicago | 2008

William Carlos Williams | White Mule

Richard Holmes | The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science | HarperPress | 2008

More Michael Gizzi here.