Monday, September 21, 2009

Received, Eviscerated

Got some goodies in the mail today.  

But first, Wheelhouse's new favorite blog-poster (I feel like we should call attention to one each week, now that I'm writing this): fantastic poet Tonya Foster, who is currently blogging for Harriet.  The sheer musicality of the couple entries so far should make this blog sing to you.  But the pressing sociopolitical questions, much of them revolving around Foster's poetical, political, and other lives in New Orleans pre- and post- Katrina, these enrich and inform the headlong and wide-ranging poetic explorations Foster is making.  Foster's also interested in the possibility of real dialog on her Harriet blog.  Reflecting her interest in the commons, she's calling for this blog to be as much as an online place can be, a commons.  So, if you have time & interest, wrestle with some of the ideas, claims, images, etc., that are, and will be, occupying this space.

Books received: 

--Jules Boykoff, Hegemonic Love Potion (Factory School)
--K. Lorraine Graham, Terminal Humming (Edge Books)
--Mark Wallace, Felonies of Illusion (Edge Books)
--Jessica Baron, The Best Word for the Job of Mourning (BlazeVOX)
--Michael Leong, e.s.p (Silenced Press)

Just received Leong's book.  Looks very pretty, & I like his poetry quite a bit.  But will have to wait to write about it.  Or, I could write about it and then read it?  Just finished Boykoff's Hegemonic Love Potion and Graham's Terminal Humming, both of which I am in love with. These are EXTRAORDINARY books that, were I you, I'd buy instead of eating tonight.  Since I'm writing on them in conjunction with David Buuck's The Shunt RIGHT NOW (well, as of a few minutes ago, and for the next couple weeks), I'll wait to post anything but HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Looking forward to cracking open Wallace's latest, which this time promises to torque lyric.  As an expert "torquer" (this, despite how it sounds, is meant as compliment, as Wallace's Temporary Worker Rides a Subway is one the books that is forever stuck in my head like a diaper pin), quite literally looking forward--book's across the room, under smaller of 2 cats.  As for Baron's work, I wrote a blurb on it.  So, I guess I'll reproduce it here (from BlazeVOX's website):

Words, says Beckett, are underlined with silence. Baron urgently impels us to perform an archeology of "mourning," and in so doing, to mourn with, for, and against the word, to rehearse the absence of any singular vocabulary that will do the work needed. To mourn is to act, and with Mallarmean strophic bursts, subtle clefts of negative space followed by litanies and lists and dissolving gestures and anxious searchings, the act is the appearance of its opposite, stillness. And here, in Baron's work, we sense that no matter the gesture, all is potentially excess, or inertness, in the job of addressing the terrible-ineffable. Via such careful maneuvers, Baron's The Best Word for the Job of Mourning turns reader into worker. We are both witness to and actors in the rehearsal of mourning, wherein page by page, each itself a day or an hour or a lifetime, words, or, for Beckett, memories, "are killing."  

The Best Word for the Job of Mourning complicates any understanding the reader may have of new lyricism: "Hold on to...small seemingly...lines I cultivate disappearing" follows “There’s something I’m supposed to be saying,” calling into question the distinction between the said and the written, the tonality of the upper register and the drumbeat of the colloquial, within the context of eulogy. The Best Word is falling houses and waterlogged instruments, submerged sound and wet score, air filling lungs for a last time in a struggle to empty all but the word: "Here's a clue: Information has become too scarce." With the self-conscious music of lamentation as script-fragment, we are compelled to act out in its double sense, repeatedly, the search for the right word. Countless dead and what, Baron implies, could possibly be a vocabulary of such catastrophic and idiotic loss? Language has failed us, yet we must go on. If we are a "we," we will find the space between us to be vast enough to cause a graven silence. In so few words, Baron gives us the dialectic of inner and outer, personal and sociopolitical, a poetics of disavowal, disavowal of language via language, wrapped up in a faith in the ritual of rehearsal, where by beginning again and again, the lost thing just might return, transfigured, perhaps so much that it is unrecognizable, but returned to us nonetheless. This is a quietly eviscerating, astonishingly unsilenced debut from a poet who deserves our immediate, and careful attention.

No comments:

Post a Comment