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Archive for December 2013

The Electric Affinities by Wade Stevenson reviewed on Rebecca Reads


The Electric Affinities
Wade Stevenson
BlazeVox Books (2013)
ISBN:  9781609641481
Webpage: Click here
Reviewed by F.T. Donereau for Rebecca’s Reads (12/13)
Wade Stevenson's new novel, “The Electric Affinities” is a gift of a trip back to a very certain time and place in America--- the great wild conflict filled world of Nineteen-Sixty Nine New York. The opening pages set the tone and atmosphere of this work. Affluent New Yorkers, artistic and varied and often complex, seeing and being seen at a Fourth of July gathering on Sag Harbor, Long Island. The cast are wonderfully obtuse, acerbic and full of gilded bohemian flash. It instantly brings you in and lets you know the world you are about to roam through. 
Mr. Stevenson has a gift for character study and descriptive writing that lands the reader directly in the work presented; you truly feel you know these people and their comforts, as well as the stones pressing the heels of their lives. The settings are rendered magnificently. Perhaps it is because all of what is put down is appealing in one way or another that “The Electric Affinities” is such a pleasure; I believe though it is more the talent of the author. 
Things are happening below the surface. These characters are alive and feeling, no matter how jaded some of the facades they present. It is a subjective opinion, especially for a book with a number of possible lead players, but the enigma that is Maya seems the perfect orb for this story to revolve around. I admit, after reading the novel, I wanted desperately to know her, to have her in my life. If there is a better compliment for a creation in a book, I don't know it. 
The true accomplishment achieved by Wade Stevenson is the world created, or perhaps re-created, within the novel. You come to know Nineteen Sixties New York as if you are living it. The rarified air of the denizens invoked breathes into you. Maybe it's nostalgia for a thing never known (and what's wrong with that, after all), but I wanted to be a part of the scene Stevenson has painted. 
Andre and Robert and Ben and Maya and Caroline and Louise, et al, live fully here, intermingling in desire and pain, questing for the answers to eternal questions: what is our purpose; who should we be; what are we; what is worth anything. The existential dread seems real and worth examining. Souls searching, no matter their flaws, are always better companions than those settled into contented states of blind acceptance, buried despair.
 “The Electric Affinities” pulses with a certain kind of depth. It is not all happiness and candy. Too much is wondered and searched for that to be the case. Tragedy strikes and it is wounding, but isn't that a large part of life? 
Realism screams here and it is welcome. The novel is not depressing, it is too full to allow a maudlin skin to cover it. We care for these people. We have empathy towards them. For me their talents override everything. The experience of their stories is worth careful consideration. 
I think anyone reading the book will learn more about themselves. At the same time, they will be thoroughly captivated by the tale told. It is all I want from a novel. Since I can't actually go back in time, “Electric Affinities” served as the next best thing.       


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50 Titles 50 Percent off Off - Happy Holiday's from BlazeVOX

50 Titles 50% Off
Happy Holiday's from BlazeVOX

Happy Holiday’s from BlazeVOX! We are offering you 50 of our finest titles for half off until January 31st 2014. This way you can shop and shop during the cold winter nights and enjoy your warm sweaters while reading wild poetry and fiction. Since poetry makes everything just a bit better, here is our fifty tiles list. And if you do not see your favorite title on this list, email me and I’ll give you that price!

Hip Hip Hurray! Visit our December Sale Page Here

Look at you still reading when there's buying to do.

Quinn's Passage by Kazim Ali

2X2 by Martine Bellen

Inbox by Noah Eli Gordon

Epigramititis : 118 Living American Poets by Kent Johnson

Slaves to Do These Things by Amy King

First Baby Poems by Anne Waldman with Collages by George Schneeman

For the Ordinary Artist Short Reviews, Occasional Pieces and More by Bill Berkson

Katzenjammered by Norma Kassirer



A Testament To Love & Other Losses by Wade Stevenson

Trailers by Michael Basinski

Sure Thing by Robin F. Brox

Soldatesque / Soldiering | Poetry by Anne Waldman, Art by Noah Saterstrom

CLOUD / RIDGE by Stephen Ratcliffe

On The Bus: Selected Stories by Dennis Barone

to go without blinking by Aimee Herman

Transcendental Telemarketer by Beth Copeland

House of Forgetting by Geoffrey Gatza

“now, 1/3” and thepoem by Demosthenes Agrafiotis Translated by John Sakkis and Angelos Sakkis

Selected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins Edited by Barbara Henning

Captain Poetry’s Sucker Punch: A Guide to the Homeric Punkhole, 1980–2012 by Kenneth Warren


Inventories by Paul T Hogan

Cheltenham by Adam Fieled

COMPOS(T) MENTIS by Aaron Apps

Molloy: The Flip Side by Chris Tysh

Deco by J.J. Colagrande

Domestic Uncertainties by Leah Umansky


Opera House Arterial by Anne-Adele Wight

Responsibilities of the Obsessed by Goro Takano

Dear Beast Loveliness by Tim J. Myers

Big Bad Asterisk* by Carlo Matos

PETRARCHAN by Kristina Marie Darling

Uncomfortable Clowns ms #77 by James Hart III

Miscellaneous Debris by Nick Mansito

Romance With Small-Time Crooks by Alexis Ivy

From Delancey West by Brian Jackson

OPONEARTH by Timothy David Orme

Prior by James Berger

some deer left the yard moving day by Andrew K. Peterson

Gradually the World: New and Selected Poems, 1982 – 2013 by Burt Kimmelman

Vertigo Diary by Larry Sawyer

Oops! Environmental Poetics by James Sherry


BRUSHES WITH by Kristina Marie Darling

The Unfinished by Mark DuCharme

Truth Game by Tom Clark

Does the Moon Ever Shine in Heaven? by Chuck Richardson

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Mark DuCharme makes Best Poetry of 2013 at Writing The Messianic

Mark DuCharme makes Best Poetry of 2013 at Writing The Messianic


Mark DuCharme makes Best Poetry of 2013 at Writing The Messianic

Friday, December 13, 2013

Best Poetry of 2013

It’s not quite accurate to title this list “The Best of.” For one thing, I never start any year with the idea in mind to compile a comprehensive sampling of American poetry. But calling it “My Favorite Books” somehow lacks gravitas. And let’s face it, we all like year-end “Best of” lists. So this, then, is a random assortment of books that gave me great pleasure this year. I reviewed two of them,Imago, and An Ethic, and intend to review a third next year (The Unfinished). But unfortunately I don't have the time to annotate this list. Probably the most notable are the first three titles, which collect work long unavailable by some of our major poets. The appearance of the Ceravalo and the Lamantia are particularly exciting, while Bernstein's Recalculating is perhaps the finest thing he's done so far. Likewise DuCharme's The Unfinished. Alfred Starr Hamilton writes from a very strange and beautiful planet and GC Waldrep's complex music is a wonder. And someone really should publish Keith Jones'amazing meditation on Cy Twombly, sigh loop echo.

N.B. An earlier version of this post inexplicably omitted what, for me, is The Book of the Year, namely Robert Duncan's Collected Later Poems and Plays. Peter Quartermain's work editing the two volumes of Duncan's poetry and plays has been nothing less than heroic and lovers of Duncan owe him a profound debt of gratitude for his meticulous care and his, as usual, brilliant essays.


The Unfinished is constituted by movement and desire, by speaking that unsays itself: by knowing, if only provisionally, that the “energy is in the body/Blooming when we speak.” Not a bloom, but a blooming: this ambitious book unfolds and unfolds through the dual actions of pursuit and escape (“Is meaning embedded in fleeing?”). For here, to be finished would be dishonest to the Real. So The Unfinished is a veritable catalogue of deliberately partial poetics and metaphysics which alternately affirm and balk in suspicion at world, history, or word.

Ghosts of experience occupy this poetry, placing pressure on logic until it morphs into the assertive speculations that force new logics. Moving through a startling range of tone and formal shape, The Unfinished erects its tower of Babel, keenly attuned to “What’s still not real, but missing.” Mark DuCharme acknowledges that living means being continually erased and yet he has the guts and grace to proceed anyway, “To piece the language shreds/ into a body.” His poetry enters our own breath, blooming.

—Elizabeth Robinson

Mark DuCharme's beautiful poems teach us to read all over again: mystery, the situation of person, the texture of dream and the texture of awareness: The Unfinished is a tough book, a necessary book.

—Joseph Lease

About Answer (BlazeVOX, 2011):

"DuCharme spins and alters the music of his lyrics in as varied a way as any lyric poet working at the moment, without ever losing their basic melodicism.... DuCharme is neither a writer of conventional lyric phrasing and imagery, nor of Stephen Burt-named New Thing minimalism, although his work sometimes veers in and out of both tendencies. The poems in Answer take more risks than most lyric poetry of the present day."

—Mark Wallace

"Like Whitman, DuCharme might hear America singing; he might hear America marching, but what he’s particularly good at hearing is America gone off key and become unconsciously discouraged.... What he hears is America too put upon and embroiled in irrelevance to bother trying to say anything worthwhile at all, which is a bad thing in a society that is fueled by dissenting opinion."

—Tom Hibbard, Galatea Resurrects

Mark DuCharme is the author of four previous books of poetry: Answer (BlazeVOX, 2011), The Sensory Cabinet (BlazeVOX, 2007), Infinity Subsections (Meeting Eyes Bindery, 2004), and Cosmopolitan Tremble (Pavement Saw, 2002), as well as numerous chapbooks.  The Found Titles Project was published electronically in 2009 by Ahadada Books. His poetry and essays on poetics have appeared widely. DuCharme, who has taught in the Summer Writing Program of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University, lives, writes, works and teaches along Colorado’s Front Range.  He has also recently launched a Web site: http://mark-ducharme.com.


Book Information:

 · Paperback: 214 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-140-5




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House of Forgetting reviewed in Jacket2


Transitionary framings, a case

A review of Geoffrey Gatza’s ‘House of Forgetting’

House of Forgetting

Geoffrey Gatza

BlazeVOX [books] 2012, 38 pages, free at scribd.com, ISBN 978-1-60964-099-6

For readers of Gatza who have already come to expect the unexpected; for those fascinated with emerging innovation in book-structured polygraphies, then House of Forgetting is yet another contribution to what is becoming a prodigious oeuvre. For those who have come recently to poetry and poetics, or desire a greater understanding of Intermedia poetry, House of Forgetting offers an attractive entrée.

While there is a “heart” to House of Forgetting (human figures with human concerns) and an ekphrastic narrative (the death of a beautiful woman/gifted revenant), there are also elements of language-image that transform temporal and human identity. Such transformations themselves form book “frames”; generate a hypertextuality, (“of moving frame to frame”) as Charles Bernstein notes; an alternative to the perceptual limitations of “frame fixation” and “frame lock.” Such transformations seem to invite the display of “an art of transition through and among [interpretative] frames.”[1]

The idea of elastic, transitionary frames in which material assumes the provisional form of the book is as true of this collection as it is of Gatza’s other work: the five seasons of rewoven myth in Black Diamond Golden Boy Takes Bull By Horns; the hagiography of saints and celebs among word images (coinages consisting of gray-scale mutations and other unique treatments), seemingly aleatory and unrelated, found in Secrets of my Prison House, and the most notable of these may beKenmorePoem Unlimited, that four-volume satire on American suburbia, a pataphoric world risen on a foundation of assumptions, fantastic as they are amusing, revealing angles of cultural significance.

House of Forgetting consists of two temporal frames: each interacts with the other in transfiguring human form and identity. The first is “The Twelve-Hour Transformation of Clare,” a woman who morphs into words, and the second section, “Recipe for Water,” is that of an artist who is drawing his wife’s portrait while she is in her deathbed, beginning “Now,” going into the past (“17 Days Ago,” “Last Saturday,” and fragments with similar titles) to conclude with “Five Years From Now” told in the voice of cultural assumption: a radio announcer. The “artist” becomes a reported figure; the “subject,” a fictional image no less real than the figure it re-presents. These are not pairs, but multiples. Their reappearance in alternative contexts suggests, rather strongly, an operative multeity of figures, an ongoing dance with interchangeable partners.


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Two reviews on Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling


Here are two new reviews of Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling. 

Book Information:


· Paperback: 72 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: 

BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-116-0



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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr