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


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First, it’s Avital Ronell’s new book Loser Sons, which just came out, and is fabulous—a really serious look at authority, how it gets established and maintained, incorporating a history of childhood and the connections of both and all to Kafka, Kojève, Arendt, and many others. Ronell is brilliant at revealing intricate interconnections and their subterranean pathways. And doing so with amazing style. She’s the most fun philosopher writing today—someone who loves sculpting language, working it as a tight, compressed, and attitudinally explosive material.

And I’m reading Jean-Christophe Bailly’s The Animal Side, Catherine Porter’s beautiful translation of Bailly’s Le versant animal. It’s a really important contribution to the theoretical/critical re-examination of the human-as-animal and our relation to non-human animals that has been raging over the past ten years. Bailly’s consideration is distinctly poetic in that it’s open both in statement and in style—“we have to force ourselves to remain on a threshold that precedes all interpretation.” It’s a deeply opening book in every way that phrase can be taken.

And I’m reading Stacy Doris’s Fledge—gorgeous! Very slippery, and very soft. It has a sweetness to it that’s just heart-breaking. And a lot of humor. “Formerly we combed owls.” It covers such range, and yet also has a distinct intimacy; the reader feels directly spoken to, swept in, gathered up, held.

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Published May 10, 2012 - Comments Off on What I’m Reading Now… by Cole Swensen

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