Five from iO Poetry

From the latest issue:

  1. Nate Pritts (“Today’s sunlight is entitled ‘Crisis.’ // It plays gentle havoc with the soft parts / of me…”)
  2. Natasha Kessler (“You are an outline, a strand of light draped across a new bone.”)
  3. Matthew Guenette (“You Hank like Williams. / Johnny like Cash. / Kiss like kissing.”)
(More Guenette. More Kessler. More Pritts.)

From an older issue:

  1. Anthony Madrid (“If I play favorites with my holy books, I hope I may be forgiven. I’m /Lately immersed in the Sex Code of the New Hammurabi.”)
  2. Franz Wright (“Massive languor, languor hammered; / Sentient languor, languor dissected;”)
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Boast, Freud, Bozicevic

I met up with my thesis adviser yesterday (hello, sir!), and he told me about how his fellow postgrad at the University of St. Andrews won the Forward Prize. I looked up Rachael Boast and found these three poems rather engaging.

I glanced at my adviser’s bookshelf and found an Annie Freud collection, and because that surname always get me to perk up, I looked her up online and found four poems I enjoyed even more.

And finally, because I follow Ana Bozicevic on Twitter and really like her poems even if I always have to look up her surname, I’m linking to these three poems, the first two of which are especially resonant to where my mind is these days.

 

UPDATE: Another two poems by Bozicevic. Great stuff, though I once again had to look up her name as I typed it. *shakes head*

Two Roberts, Gentlemen And Refinement

Robert Archambeau’s “Why You Are Not A Gentleman” is already in itself an erudite and highly engaging piece, but its impact was further reinforced by my having just started reading The Triumph Of Vulgarity: Rock Music In The Mirror Of Romanticism by Robert Pattison (no, not who you’re thinking of).

I’ve just started reading the latter but have already had several exciting encounters with the insight with which Pattison talks about, for instance, the vulgar or pantheism. Here’s one of my favorite passages, so far:

Refinement, the mode in which favor and grace have apprehended the world, has always made a point of filling the imagined vacuum of vulgarity with reasoned civilization. The Romantic revolution proclaims that the apparent emptiness is in fact infinite energy that needs no refined tinkering. 

It’s a simple thought, but whatever the logical validity of this argument, it certainly feels right to me, as I think about my thesis.

(And if we’re talking about gentlemen and vulgarity, I just can’t resist embedding the video to a song released the year I graduated from high school, a song I loved then and still love now, though it’s been years since I listened to the band:

Lethem Eat Cake

I love the idea of Jonathan Lethem. Reading about him and looking through his list of writings is something I find downright thrilling (“What imagination! What lunacy!”). Shamefully, however, out of all the fiction he’s published, the only one I’ve actually read is “The Elvis National Theater Of Okinawa.” It’s a wild story I really enjoyed, but it’s really short and co-authored, so I can’t really say how representative it is of Lethem, especially since his work just seems so wide-ranging.

“Dismantling Rushmores: Field Notes From The Life Of A 21st Century Novelist” isn’t fiction, but when a link to this appeared on my Twitter feed, I couldn’t resist clicking on it and feeling, well, thrilled to see him open with a discussion of Manny Farber’s “White Elephant Art vs. Termite Art,” because hey, what’s this, and also because Lethem’s first sentence is something I agree with 100%. Now that I think about it, it’s thrilling because it’s a little scary.

The rest of the essay is just as engaging, to me especially. Lethem troubles what we mean when we say “pop culture” and ends with what would be called, if it were badly written, a rant against “the crime of Literary Rushmore.” Never mind the tiny regret I felt when I realized he was referring to Rushmore as in Mount rather than the film I’ve been itching to re-watch; Lethem’s essay was a fun read, for me anyway.

(And just as I finished reading this, my Twitter feed throws me an interview. This I haven’t read yet, though I’m about to.)