A map of “Just Cause 2” (Avalanche Studios) created by plotting 2,000,000 player deaths.
Jason Soliday’s new audio work is stunning.
WARNING: If you’re at work, turn the speakers down. If you’re anywhere else, turn the speakers up!
I’m reading Alice Notley’s Culture of One, C. D. Wright’s One With Others, Edmond Jabès’ From the Book to the Book: An Edmond Jabès Reader (translated by Rosmarie Waldrop), Johannes Bobrowski’s Shadow Lands: Selected Poems (translated by Ruth and Matthew Mead), and Nazim Hikmet’s Poems of Nazim Hikmet (translated by Randy Blasing and Mutlu Konuk). Jabes’ artistic struggle with how to speak in (a language of) silence in response to the Jewish Holocaust and to his own condition of exile from his native Egypt resulted in his poetics of the book. He compiled this reader himself and it’s an autonomous and fully-realized document comprised of aphorisms, commentaries, letters, fragments, and disembodied voices—an open field not limited by the conventions of any particular genre. In one of the letters, the speaker claims that “this book” is “written by death,” and “consecrates” a state of “absence.” This innovative “reader” is compelling to me because of its imaginative and bold orchestration of diverse elements that freshly and poignantly give voice to a subject matter that is always in danger of hackneyed renderings. The fact that it is a book-length project is also exhilarating for me in light of my own concern with the long poetic sequence, and its currency in the contemporary American poetry landscape.
There’s been some buzz buzz about the newest issue of Drunken Boat, and rightfully: called “The Bernadette Mayer Folio,” issue #14 features essays, video, poetic responses, and reprints from over 40 contributors. Editor Deborah Marie Poe references Maggie Nelson writing on Mayer in her book Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions, that her work “agitates against delimitations” and that the issue “revels in such agitation.”
Read more on the Harriet Blog from the Poetry Foundation! And check out the folio here:
I’m currently reading Helen Hajnoczky’s Poets and Killers: A Life in Advertising (Montreal: Snare, 2010), an anonymous figure’s biography crafted entirely through advertising slogans for products related to the character’s age. With each poem Hajnoczky collages phrases and slogans building biography through consumption. Every deft, uncanny, biographical phrase in Poets and Killers was lifted directly from print advertising; Hajnoczky has not needed to write a single word. Poets and Killers investigates the “individual in a world where we are all sold the same individuality”—all of us living “between the lines of advertising copy.” Poets and Killers gravitates in my library towards Robert Fitterman’s Metropolis XXX, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s Fake Math, Chris Alexander’s Panda and Graham Rawle’s exceptional collage novel Woman’s World.