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Blame Fault Mountain by Spencer Selby

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Blame Fault Mountain Spencer Selby BlazeVOX [books]

 Spencer Selby’s ability to craft enchanting textual surfaces endures with Blame Fault Mountain. The well-honed, brittle crust of this work covers fertile subsoil available to the most careful reader. This book presents no easy ascent, yet the author implores us to pay little attention to our past or future footholds as we climb, for risk of getting lost in the activity. We are challenged to come equipped with only the basic mountaineering gear – “a few imagined tropes or other simple excuses easily obtained.” For the reader it’s a free climb, where one relies on determination and skill to overtake the summit. The tectonics that give rise to BFM are obscured but active as one moves through the work. The forces are discoverable for those with the acumen of a linguistic geologist. Selby’s poems peak with potential; if we dig we can find veins of possibility rich with minerals we want to expose to the air. Narrative, the salt of the mind’s earth, enforces a position “that sweeps verbiage assuming reality beneath show and tell.” We ascend along a precarious continuum where we encounter anchors in process of disappearing, fastened to objects both ephemeral and eternal. Each zenith is matched with its ultimate decimation; crags rise always already to flatten into prairie. The landscape of this text is marked with Eadem mutato resurgo (I arise again the same though changed.) The refined dirt of narrative is mixed with rocks of the imperative. The reader is instructed to join, to lift, to select, to scratch. We are to take, to tell, to cross, to leave. To play play play! To learn what’s important. To tell no one what we find. Ultimately, we are enjoined to “imagine now swoon obscurity outrage,” and there it is! We are on our sublime way.

—Jon Henson

These texts exude a para-oulipean vibe of disinterested construction, yet possess an almost cinematic drive wherein plot twist and paranoia dance together wearing the tragicomic masks of ancient theater, but the masks are screens upon which dance the latency and explication of semiotics as romance. Not knowing the particular method for their construction, I am reminded of Paul Fournel's notion of the "Canada Dry", a work which appears to have a method of formal constraint but does not upon closer inspection. And then there is also the idea of the clinamen, which does seem to be used formally, as against what Perec saw as clinamen, the drifting away from constraint. In Spencer Selby’s version, the drifting away seems to be the constraint, but there is much more to the work than formal considerations. There is a hypnagogic quality here, of slippage from some known tale into its own monstrous yet familiar other. And that other, while being more or less benign, is sometimes read by the former as something like a haunted house. Haunted by a reflection whose construction seems imminent, but never quite materializes or dematerializes; each fragment of this stream becomes a manitoulin, a spirit island subject to its own laws, like a light or lens passing over refracting lines enacting a cinema of saliency.

—Lanny Quarles

Poet, artist and film historian, Spencer Selby was born in Iowa City, Iowa, and studied Political Science at The University of Iowa. In San Francisco he published SINK magazine, coordinated The Canessa Park Reading Series and created Selby’s List of Experimental Poetry/Art Magazines. Selby has performed his work in many North American cities and in Europe. He is the author of eight poetry books, five compilations of visual work and a study of film noir. He currently lives in Ames, Iowa.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 102 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-121-4

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