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In the introduction to Matthew Goulish’s new book The Brightest Thing in the World: 3 Lectures from the Institute of Failure (Green Lantern Press, 2011), collaborator Jane Blocker recalls the premise for a reading-based compositional exercise* Goulish used in his class: “What does it do and what can you create with it?” A few possible answers gleaned from this book include: how to mourn a blur, analyze “an accident shaped like an umbrella”, or create a lecture that thinks like a poem. This book sets itself up to fail, calling itself “The Brightest Thing in the World.” And then suddenly, it is.

So what else have I felt that way about recently? Definitely Trinie Dalton’s Escape Mushroom Style (The Corresponding Society, 2011) and Rosmarie Waldrop’s essay, “The Ground is the Only Figure” in Dissonance (if you are interested). I plan to disappear into The Journals of Denton Welch just as soon as they arrive by post.

* “employing criteria of your choice, select and extract a total of 8 excerpts, each exactly 6 consecutive words in length from the texts. Print out your 8 excerpts as a sort of 8-line poem, with 6 words in each line. Write 8 footnotes, one for each line, in which you explain why you chose these particular selections. The footnotes may each be a maximum of 100 words in length. Consider them miniature essays in response to the extracts.”

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Published Dec 29, 2011 - Comments Off on What I’m Reading… Jen Bervin

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