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The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood) by Tony Trigilio Reviewed at Rain Taxi

 

THE COMPLETE DARK SHADOWS (OF MY CHILDHOOD)

Tony Trigilio
BlazeVOX Books ($16)

complete dark shadowsThis is the first book in a projected multi-volume poem about the eponymous gothic soap opera, which author Tony Trigilio watched as a young child. The show “nurtured and sustained” the poet’s inner life before he could speak, and the “primal sensations” associated with these pre-lingual experiences make them ripe for poetic exploration. At its weakest, the poem dwells too much on the show’s stilted acting and unplanned calamities (which seem to define Dark Shadows as much as scripted events), lapsing into rote summary and striking a tone of ironic adult detachment that gets in the way of the book’s purported mission of “excavating childhood night terrors.” Thankfully, these moments are fairly few, and Trigilio skillfully incorporates his personal history into his exegesis of the series—a sort of autobiography by way of discussing the show. The reader empathizes with the poet’s childhood self as he discloses obsessions and family tragedies, uncovering nuggets of real horror and intense emotion in dozens of episodes of absurd storylines and histrionic dialogue. Overall, The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood) feels meditative, organic, and weighty far beyond what one would anticipate from a poem about a blooper-ridden ’60s TV show.

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Rain Taxi interviews Burt Kimmelman

 

ARRANGEMENTS OF LANGUAGE: AN INTERVIEW WITH BURT KIMMELMAN

kimmelman2by Eric Hoffman

Burt Kimmelman teaches literary and cultural studies at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is the highly acclaimed author of eight collections of poems. Kimmelman’s poetry has received praise from such notables as Robert Creeley (“a rare evocation”), Jerome Rothenberg (“a strict & powerful accounting”), Alfred Kazin (“artful, fastidious, learned”), and Susan Howe (“a singularly locating force”). In addition to his poetry, Kimmelman has also produced an impressive body of critical work, including numerous penetrative essays as well as two full-length books, The Poetics of Authorship in the Later Middle Ages: The Emergence of the Modern Literary Persona (Peter Lang, 1996) and the ground-breaking study The ‘Winter Mind’: William Bronk and American Letters (Fairleigh Dickinson, 1998). It was this latter effort, first encountered over a decade ago during research on my biography of George Oppen, which led me to contact Kimmelman, initiating a conversation on poetry that continues to this day. A small cross-section of that conversation is here provided, albeit in the less casual format of a formal interview, occasioned by the recent publication of Kimmelman’s Gradually the World: New and Selected Poems, 1982-2013 (BlazeVox, $18). This interview was conducted via e-mail primarily from April-May 2014, with a brief follow up in July.


Eric Hoffman: Burt, a fair amount of your work experiments with formal verse, in most cases with syllabics. What is it about working this way that appeals to you? Do you believe that working with syllabics encourages invention?

Burt Kimmelman: I first set eyes on Donald Allen’s watershed anthology, The New American Poetry, in 1965. A decade before the Allen book, Charles Olson had published his ground-shaking essay "Projective Verse" (1950); that essay was given pride of place in the poetics section of Allen’s book. So, for a fledgling poet like myself, the question of writing free verse was not a no-brainer so much as moot (I had written some sonnets, haikus, a couple of concrete poems etc., and did get great pleasure out of set form, but was not at that time in a position to have any particular form work for me in any kind of creative or generative way). Olson's astonishing essay (to say nothing of his amazing poetry, an exemplar I took to heart) explained, so to speak, how to leave free verse behind for something rigorous but not formal in any sense except the sui generis sense—as Robert Creeley had said, “form is nothing more than an extension of content.”

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a meaty interview with poet Evan Lavender-Smith in Rain Taxi

 A wonderful interview Evan Lavender-Smith is now up in the Spring 2011 online edition of Rain Taxi Review of Books.  Click Here <http://www.raintaxi.com/online/2011spring/>  to go directly to Rain Taxi. Thank you!

 
Also check out This last installment features a meaty interview with poet Evan Lavender-Smith, and reviews of lectures by famed novelist Orhan Pamuk, fiction by John Hawkes and Lori Ann Stephens, poetry by Crystal Curry, and an illustrated look at the radioactive work of Marie & Pierre Curie by Lauren Redniss! Go to raintaxi.com and start planning your summer reading!
 
 

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Evan Lavender-Smith is the Editor-in-Chief of Noemi Press and the Prose and Drama Editor of the literary journal Puerto del Sol. His fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama and criticism appears in many journals and magazines, including Colorado Review, Denver QuarterlyFence,Glimmer TrainThe Modern Review and Post Road. He is also the author of Avatar (Six Gallery Press, 2010).  

 

Book Information:

· Paperback: 182 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 
· ISBN: 9781935402855

$16Buy it from Amazon

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Extra Pages

Photos on flickr