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War on Words : The John Bradley/Tomaz Salamun* Confusement. War on Words : The John Bradley/Tomaz Salamun* Confusement

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War on Words : The John Bradley/Tomaz Salamun* Confusement. War on Words : The John Bradley/Tomaz Salamun* Confusement BlazeVOX [books]

 "Wow! It might be Nonsalamuns may not enjoy as much as I did, but for our tribe--- I went through different stages: shock, amazement, I was pale, laughter - a lot -, awe, guilt, aphssss!, even my mind wanted to take off for a moment, but mostly gratitude, I was moved; I am moved." - Tomaz Salamun

In the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, near the end of the sketch, “The Funniest Joke in the World” (which chronicles the exploits of “the killer joke”), Eric Idle soberly announces, “In 1945, Peace broke out. It was the end of the Joke. Joke warfare was banned at a special session of the Geneva Convention.” John Bradley similarly investigates the inside-out of things in his explosive new book, War on Words, in which the “war” he wages on conventional language, on our bought and staid habits of mind, is a discursive demolition that interrogates the contamination of the very root systems of our words and concepts of “ownership,” “voice,” and “intellectual property.” Profoundly Surreal, but never merely clever, Bradley’s work glistens with the ebullience of the 1920’s Libertine, sounding him as a clear inheritor of La Revolution Surrealiste, and his poems are as remarkable, meaningful, and necessary as anything being written today. War on Words is an extraordinary book, seriously playful in the ways anthropologist Clifford Geertz might describe the significance of “deep play” among the indigenous cultures of Bali. I have read Bradley’s work faithfully for more than 25 years, and it is no exaggeration to say he is one of the two or three most important poets among us. But for those of you who distrust enthusiasm, earned and tempered in this case as it most certainly is, let me simply say, “This is a good book. I like it a lot.”

—George Kalamaras

John Bradley is one of the hidden Greats. And this utterly riveting Poetic Detective story is the greatest collaboration in American poetry since Jack Spicer's After Lorca. It will also prove to be, I have no doubt, Tomaz Salamun's most famous book.

—Kent Johnson

January 3, 2003

Dear John Bradley,

Why does a pumpkin float in the fjord? Why does a baby crawl into pumpkin? Why does John Bradley pester me so?

No, I don’t think it a good idea for you to gather all your Tomaz Salamun delusions into one larger delusion, publish it, and let it be spread like a cosmic mange. No, I will not write an introduction, preface, foreword, afterword, or anathema (though the latter is quite tempting, I admit). I think this would only make worse your state of multiple confusements. No, I will not publicly debate you on a cable program of my or anyone else’s choosing. I ask that you go back to being the old John Bradley we all know and pretty much liked.

At least let me pay for the first doctor visit. A mental health worker is after all just another worker, though in need, it is true, of some mental health treatments. Still, it might calm you and clear away some of your fogs.

Please refrain from publishing this letter. Or I will set my dogs loose on your liver.

With apologetic affection,


Note on Tomaz Salamun’s Introduction

January 4, 2003


Now you can see what I have been going through. All I can say in reply to this act of servile arrogance is: Do not believe that Tomaz Salamun always speaks for Tomaz Salamun. He says so much that is so contradictory how can it all fit into one Tomaz Salamun? The “confusements” he speaks of sprout from his sputum as well as mine.

And to think this all began by my purchasing a used copy of his book with three of his letters inside (as you will see in the next series of letters). How can he continue to blame and punish me for this act of coincidence? Or perhaps it is not an act of coincidence? Did NASA stage the 1969 moon landing? Am I losing my hair due to something in the water? Did Salamun tell my mother not answer my calls?

You can see the dangerous effects of reading and corresponding with Salamun. Be forewarned.

In the spirit of anti-confusement,





John Bradley received an MA in English from Colorado State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. His book of poetry Love-In-Idleness won the Washington Prize. He is the editor of Atomic Ghost: Poets Respond to the Nuclear Age and Learning to Glow: A Nuclear Reader. Bradley lives with his wife, Jana, in DeKalb, where he teaches writing at Northern Illinois University. He is the recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in poetry.

 Book Information:

· Paperback: 145 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
(March 2006)
· ISBN: 0975922734

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