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Going with the Flow by Peter Siedlecki reviewed on GALATEA RESURRECTS #23



Going with the Flow by Peter Siedlecki
(BlazeVOX Books, New York, 2014)
Going with the Flow is a book addressed to anyone who has concern over his own “going.” A poet-philosopher studying aging from the inside-out, Peter Siedlecki explores the concept of old age in a vein similar to Plato’s dialectical method. Standout poems such as “Deciding to Retire,” “Child’s Play: A Retirement Poem,” and “On Receiving a Mailing from Forest Lawn” represent various iterations of the theme. There are moments of great humor, along with expressions of frustration and resignation. As in Plato’s Theory of Forms, the poems reveal the temporal in an attempt to understand the immutable archetypes that provide order and structure to the world. In the title poem, which is the first poem in the collection, Siedlecki offers the reader the first of many contradictions: is aging “a sad death of summer” that happens in gorgeous “blazes of color”? Inconsistencies are brought to light by the poet; the aging man wants “to connect to antiquity” yet concedes “I will die, and you will wail / and misremember me as perfect.”
Even as the poet leads the reader through his study with logic, he grants in “More Theology”:
          We have reasoned god out,
          with our “Thees” and “Thous”
          only because reason is what we have 
          to turn into whatever we need,
          the bricks and mortar
          of which we build
          the most absurd structures.
In fact, some poems are structured primarily from questions, in a modern Socratic method—“Untimely Death” is an effective example of this technique:
            When is death timely?
            when it comes like a chemical
            to kill the hideous worm
            devouring the victim from within?
            Or when, in the midst of dark storms
            and hideous worms, it comes to stifle
            the dear memory of lilacs?
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Many BlazeVOX connections in the new issue of Galatea Resurrects


Hurray, the new issue Galatea Resurrects has just been released. We have a list of BlazeVOX books that have been reviewed and featured. Do have a look at
Mary Kasimor reviews THE  PINK by Jared Schickling
Eileen Tabios  engages THE  UNFINISHED: BOOKS I-VI by Mark DuCharme
Eileen Tabios  engages BIG  BAD ASTERISK* by Carlo Matos
Tom Hibbard  reviews BLAME  FAULT MOUNTAIN by Spencer Selby

Allen Bramhall  reviews GRADUALLY  THE WORLD: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS 1982-2013 by Burt  Kimmelman


Mary  Kasimor
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Galatea Resurrects (A Poetry Engagement) reviews a few BX books

BlazeVOX [books] now in review

Moira Richards Reviews IN PARAN <http://galatearesurrection17.blogspot.com/2011/12/in-paran-by-larissa-shmailo.html>  by Larissa Shmailo

Tom Beckett Engages AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MY GENDER, PRURIENT OMNIBUS ANARCHIC, RESTITUTIONS FOR A NEWER BOUNTIFUL VERB, COCK-BURN, OUR BODIES . . . ARE BEAUTY INDUCERS, THE ULTERIOR EDEN, ASYMPTOTIC LOVER//THERMODYNAMIC VENTS <http://galatearesurrection17.blogspot.com/2011/12/seven-publications-by-jj-hastain.html> , all by j/j hastain

Tom Hibbard Reviews SELECTED POEMS by Nick Demske, A MYSTICAL THEOLOGY OF THE LIMBIC FISSURE by Peter O’Leary, HOSTILE WITNESS by Garin Cycholl, UNABLE TO FULLY CALIFORNIA by Larry Sawyer, AIN’T GOT ALL NIGHT by Buck Downs, and ANSWER by Mark DuCharme <http://galatearesurrection17.blogspot.com/2011/12/books-by-nick-demske-peter-oleary-garin.html

Mary Kasimor Reviews T&U&/LASH YOUR NIPPLES TO A POST/HISTORY IS GORGEOUS <http://galatearesurrection17.blogspot.com/2011/12/t-lash-your-nipples-to-posthistory-is.html> by Jared Schickling

Jeff Harrison Engages T&U& LASH YOUR NIPPLES TO A POST HISTORY IS GORGEOUS <http://galatearesurrection17.blogspot.com/2011/12/t-lash-your-nipples-to-post-history-is.html> by Jared Schickling

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

(BlazeVOX Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2010)


Weeks after I first read Bill Berkson's For the Ordinary Artist: Short Reviews, Occasional Pieces & More, I kept going back in my mind to something he'd said about Alfonso Ossorio whose works are known to me. Berkson said of (some of) them:

…they bespeak a love of (or anyhow fascination with) “immobility,” a.k.a. Inertia.


I'd never thought of "inertia" before as regards Ossorio's work, undoubtedly because of the riot of color, surfaces and found objects in his works. But, you know, Berkson is right (or, I agree with Berkson). There can be a flatness (and I don't say this negatively) in some of the surfaces/colors of Ossorio's work. There can be a paradoxical stillness within his assemblages, such as in the following image where each part (as can be delineated, say, by individual found objects) remains apart from each other:


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For the Ordinary Artist Short Reviews, Occasional Pieces and More Bill Berkson BlazeVOX [books]

"Opinions are not literature" Gertrude Stein famously admonished Ernest Hemingway. It's a maxim that puts most art critics behind the Eight-Ball. Not Bill Berkson.  His criticism doesn't just deliver an opinion, it embodies an experience, matching the texture and plasticity of visual forms with a vividness and suppleness of language that gives the reader something shapely and immediate to respond to thereby opening path ways in the mind to the image or object being evoked and judged.  His subject is art; his essays and critical prose poems are uncommonly graceful literary artifacts.

—Robert Storr


Barry Schwabsky @ The Nation

Eileen Tabios @ Galatea Resurrects

Born in New York in 1939, Bill Berkson is a poet and critic who now lives in San Francisco. He taught art history and literature from 1984 to 2008 at the San Francisco Art Institute. A corresponding editor for Art in America, he has published reviews and essays in such other magazines as ArtforumApertureModern PaintersARTnews andartcritical.com. He is the author of some twenty books and pamphlets of poetry – most recently, Not an Exit andLady Air -- and was awarded the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s 2008 Goldie for Literature as well as the 2010 Balcones Prize for his collection Portrait and Dream: New & Selected Poems. His previous books of criticism includeSudden Address: Selected Lectures 1981-2006 and The Sweet Singer of Modernism & Other Art Writings 1985-2003. Jed Perl in The New Republic remarked that The Sweet Singer of Modernism “is animated by an easygoing prose style, an exact feeling for the power of images, a keen respect for the value of an artist’s words, and an abiding fascination with the art world as a social fabric.” 

Book Information:

· Paperback: 294 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 
· ISBN: 978-1-60964-005-7

$16Buy it from Amazon

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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr