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Radha Says

The final collection by award-winning poet Reetika Vazirani, published by Drunken Boat.

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Annotations of contemporary poetry edited by Lisa Russ Spaar, published by Drunken Boat.


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In The Phonemes by Frances Richard the alphabet expands to include punctuation as though now on equal footing, readily forming a lexicon also constituted of accent marks and mathematical symbols. So integrated are signs in our lexicon that Richard sees no reason why poetry cannot write across these—and so she does, for instance in “Blush Alarm.” Graphical matrices of car alarm notation alternate with lyric, as in   “Hills blushed / They were embarrassed / because of the trope of the sun”.  Futurist page space privileged typographical possibilities for clamor in an avant-garde of irruption a century ago; now we speak and read its language on a daily basis.

If we were unembarrassed writers of textuality, we would take the entire swathe of form, genre and mode as our birthright, to become Roberto Tejada. His Exhibition Park could be considered museological were it not for the fact that its writerly poetry and prose are not for display but for intellectual thought here and now. For that enactment of full frontal cultural criticism wrought in words we use, check out the difficult instrumentality of Tejada’s writing, in which nothing is taken for granted.

Both Frances Richard and Roberto Tejada are art -world familiars.  A former Editor-in-Chief of Artforum, Joseph Masheck is an art and architectural historian and art critic, and reading his intelligent essays on literary visuality selected here in Texts on (Texts) on Art is as stimulating and provocative as living in the salon of your dreams.  Essays on matters that might seem idiosyncratic soon persuade that gifted art historians are truly capable of poetic speculation but then are tenacious enough to follow the scent to verifiably concrete pay dirt. Anyway, I’ve been enjoying following the thought of Masheck in ”Crypto-Corbusianism in Breton’s Nadja” and ”Ad Reinhardt’s Emblematic Drawing as ‘1950s Hieroglyphic’”—this latter essay a recent take on a subject of the author’s long-standing interest. Indeed, years ago Masheck was the first to publish Reinhardt’s correspondence with the monk Thomas Merton.

Others come to mind. Of the more substantive essays in Post-structuralism and the Question of History is the piece on Saussure by Derek Attridge. And for one reason or another I’ve met up again with Christine Brooke-Rose, who (not unlike Roland Barthes) positively delighted in reading literature through differing conceptual frameworks, she, whose specialty was linguistics.

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Published Jun 21, 2012 - Comments Off on What I’m Reading Now… by Marjorie Welish

My toddler twins love Dr.Seuss’s GREEN EGGS AND HAM. They love it on the couch. They love it in the chair. For me, the lexical spareness, syntactic repetition and serenity of the passengers as the train crashes sea-ward strike a chord of barrenness, obsession and numbness, like, say Sly’s Riot…, Clipse’s Hell… or Radiohead’s Kid.

Regarding music, I’m reading Robin D.G. Kelley’s AFRICA SPEAKS, AMERICA ANSWERS: MODERN JAZZ IN REVOLUTIONARY TIMES for a review. Here, I will only quote his quote of Ghanaian musician, Guy Warren, on the assumption that all Africans can play drums: “…just because you come from America, it doesn’t mean to say you can play baseball.

To unwind, I cleave skeevers and harvest nirnroot: I am a Dark Elf in a world of burly Nords, my left hand is lightning and my right, a war ax. A dangerous place is Skyrim. THE ELDER SCROLLS V: SKYRIM OFFICIAL GAME GUIDE teaches me how to cope with lycanthropy and strengthen my clan, which happen to be themes in my manuscript, PATTER.

GEORGE TSYPIN OPERA FACTORY: BUILDING IN THE BLACK VOID is a mythopoetic text in which Tsypin presents his design work through a nexus of the four elements, Russian Constructivism, architecture and a million fluorescent lights.

I stay caught between digging George Herriman’s work and giving up. KRAZY KAT 1925-1926: THE COMPLETE FULL-PAGE COMIC STRIPS with its barbed ink strokes and that single, ritualistic joke won’t let me leave or laugh, though comics—disposable yuks—should facilitate both. How does he make the medium do that?!

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Published Jun 07, 2012 - Comments Off on What I’m Reading Now… by Douglas Kearney