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Archive for July 2013

Tim Myers mentioned in Book of Kells blog

Tim Myer's book, Dear Beast Loveliness: Poems of the Body is mentioned in Kelli Russell Agodon's blog Book of Kells. 


Behind in my Praise of Other Poets...

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Review of Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling at Word Riot

Review of Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling at Word Riot


Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling

Review by Carlo Matos
Kristina Marie Darling’s Petrarchan—her second collection from BlazeVOX [books]—takes on the sonnet sequence of the reverend, forlorn lover of the Western literary canon, Francesco Petrarca. Darling, although she admits to admiring Petrarch, was drawn to the Renaissance sonnets because of the problematic object position of the beloved, Laura. As she says in an interview with Lightsey Darst at Word Riot,
there was more of a “thesis” than with my previous projects. I love Petrarch’s work, but it’s so problematic for me as a female reader. His writing, perhaps more than any other one person’s work, has been associated with the male gaze, the silenced beloved, and various master narratives about what love should or ought to be.
Laura is the silent other par excellence, utterly and completely contained by the male gaze, and this is what draws Darling to the text. In my opinion, her erasures, her abandoned footnotes, and her appendices are perfectly suited for the kind of deconstruction evident in the text. She has shown us, in previous books, how versatile these devices can be as poetic forms, but in engaging one of the urtexts of Western poetics, she really demonstrates how powerful they can be at resituating subject and object, viewer and viewed.

At the beginning of the book, we find ourselves in familiar Darling territory—a nineteenth-century woman roaming around a house that is alternately described as a maze, an island, or like a mahogany armoire: “Within every box . . . only compartment after compartment.” For example, the phrase “house by the sea” is repeated five times throughout the manuscript and is referenced obliquely several more times. With each repetition, what might traditionally be considered a bucolic image, of course, only becomes increasingly oppressive—the prison with lace curtains. However, what makes Petrarchan unique in Darling’s oeuvre is that the ensnared heroine—ensnared by love, by convention, by an overmastering heap of love tokens—does not allow the situation to be the whole story. In her previous collection, Melancholia, for instance, the heroine could be described as a collector—a hoarder—slowly being buried in her home by all the mementos of the missing lover—the literal and figurative presence-in-absence of the beloved smothering her life. However, the heroine of Petrarchan is also using the enforced isolation to experiment in alchemy:

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Truth Game by Tom Clark Now Available!

Truth Game by Tom Clark Now Available!

Truth Game Tom Clark BlazeVOX [books]


On Tom Clark's poetry:

"Very exciting... The poems have the 'now' sound of current experience; they enable one to see a little further into life as it's presently being lived." -- John Ashbery

"Clark's knowledge of how poems are made, how to create works out of the sources in his environment, is one of many attributes placing him among the best poets writing today."  -- Lewis Warsh, Poetry 

"What's happening is the language. Not only in the usual sense of being interesting (which it is), but in the new sense that words are events, as real and important in themselves as wars and lovers... It is to the word, then, that the mind moves, and the word responds by taking on a physicality, even a sensuality, we have all been trained to ignore. Words have weight, and the distance between two can be a chasm filled with forces of association... What Clark is doing is genuinely new." -- Ron Silliman, Rolling Stone


Tom Clark was born in Chicago in 1941 and educated at the University of Michigan, Cambridge University and the University of Essex. He has worked variously as an editor (The Paris Review), critic (Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle) and biographer (lives of Damon Runyon, Jack Kerouac, Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, Edward Dorn), has published novels (Who is Sylvia?, The Exile of Céline, The Spell), memoirs (Jim Carroll, Late Returns: A Memoir of Ted Berrigan) and essays (The Poetry Beat, Problems of Thought: Paradoxical Essays). His many collections of poetry have included Stones, Air, At Malibu, John's Heart, When Things Get Tough on Easy Street, Paradise Resisted, Disordered Ideas, Fractured Karma, Sleepwalker's Fate, Junkets on a Sad Planet: Scenes from the Life of John Keats, Like Real People, Empire of Skin, Light and Shade, The New World, Something in the Air, Feeling for the Ground, At the Fair, Canyonesque, and Distance. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife and partner of forty-five years, Angelica Heinegg.


Book Information:

· Paperback: 84 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-144-3




Truth Game by Tom Clark Book Preview


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    Morpheus has its origins in a novel John Kinsella worked on in his late teens — a time of transition between adolescence and adulthood, but not a time before he had at least glimpsed the contours of the vast, interconnecting literary project that was to be his lifelong pursuit. An amalgam of realism and fantasy, of fiction, poetry, and drama, the project limned the phantasmagoric yet self-questioning and disciplined emotional terrain that has so captivated and intrigued his many current readers worldwide.
    But the young Kinsella never adequately “completed” Morpheus. This may be no accident, as Morpheus is so protean, so heterogeneous, and so capacious that, conceptually, it may defy completion. Kinsella thus shelved the project as he began to develop his characteristic adult idiom, which has articulated itself largely though not exclusively in lyric poetry.
—Nicholas Birns, from the introduction: Forging the Unimaginable: The Paradoxes of Morpheus
John Kinsella’ Morpheus is everything you’ve ever wanted in a work of literature / and also nothing at all / in precisely the same isomorphic location / Morpheus is the precocious explosion of delightful incision from a teenager revisited by the ghost of his future / and also the failure of this incision to cut anything but itself for / this isn’t a novel / in the way Naked Lunch is not a novel / but a suspended solution / and Morpheus is not juvenilia / and / this is not even a blurb / and you are not reading these words / and / you can read Morpheus / if you like / or / let it read you your future / or / leave / it / unread / it / stands / remixed / and / open / remixed / and / endless
—Davis Schneiderman is the author of Drain (Northwestern), the DEAD/BOOKS trilogy—Blank[SIC], Ink. (Jaded Ibis), and he once had dinner with John Kinsella / and / they / later / saw / a / fox
"A lyrical tour de force.  Literate, impassioned and often downright gorgeous, the prose sings with wit and vigor.  Add a little Dr. Benway to Stephen Dedalus, with a touch of Genet's Divine, and you have a glimpse of Kinsella's Thomas Icarus Napoleon, the hero of this literary drama.  Awesome."  
—Jeffrey Deshell, author of Arthouse (FC2) and The Trouble with Being Born (FC2)
John Kinsella is the author of many books of poetry, fiction, criticism and plays. He is a frequent collaborator with other poets, critics, fictionalists, artists, musicians, labourers, activists and friends. Recent fiction includes In the Shade of the Shady Tree (Ohio University Press, 2012), recent poety includes Jam Tree Gully (WW Norton, 2012), and recent criticism includes Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley (ed. Niall Lucy, Liverpool University Press, 2010). He is a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and the poetry editor for the literary journal Island. But most relevantly, he is an anarchist-vegan-pacifist. Kinsella's activism against racism and bigotry began in his late teens when he was working on the first manifestation of Morpheus.

Book Information:
· Paperback: 418 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 



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John Kinsella discussing Morpheus, his forthcoming BlazeVOX book on the Southerly Blog


The Eternal Work-in-Progress

graph_abstractby John Kinsella,

Writing Morpheus in my late teens went hand-in-hand with a fascination on my part for long, cumulative works of poetry. In Morpheus, through the character of Thomas, I was subtextually mapping possible approaches to creating the work-in-progress, with its echoes of Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Also, though I despised him politically, like many of the ‘left’ I felt intrigued and compelled by Ezra Pound’s unfinishable life-work, The Cantos. I have a strong scepticism of Pound these days, but he convinced me, along with Olson’s Maximus Poems and Zukofsky’s ‘A’, that anything we write is inevitably part of what we will write in the future. The interconnectedness of literary writing became an obsession for me. (This was the case for me even with Emily Dickinson’s Poems, which in their editing, and the fights over their publication or presentation, gave the sense of a collection of smaller self-contained poems yet also of one long, growing body of work that might be read as a single poems in many parts.)

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