Attention Span 2004

Introductory Note

In July of 2004, I invited readers of Third Factory / Notes to Poetry to submit constellations of up to eleven titles that spoke to their present interests. While an emphasis on poetry titles published after 2001 was encouraged, other items of literary, cultural, and political interest were also welcomed. I am grateful to everyone who made time to participate in this ongoing attempt to map the shifting field of our singular and collective attentions. —Steve Evans

Directory of Individual Participants

Ammiel AlcalayRae Armantrout Bill BerksonAnselm BerriganJules BoykoffPam BrownFranklin BrunoJoshua CloverChris DanielsJordan DavisMarcella Durandkari edwardsLarry FaginSteve FarmerGraham W. FoustBenjamin FriedlanderHeather FullerAlan GilbertNoah Eli GordonKevin KillianAaron KuninJohn LattaPeter MiddletonChris MurrayJohn PalattellaMarjorie PerloffDavid PerryMeredith QuartermainLisa RobertsonKaia SandJennifer ScappettoneMichael ScharfJerrold ShiromaRick SnyderEileen TabiosTony TostKaren VolkmanJames Wagner • G.C. WaldrepDana WardJohn WilkinsonStephanie Young

Combined list by title and frequency

Ammiel Alcalay

Faraj Bayrakdar | Dove In Free Flight | Published in Beirut, no date/Arabic

A remarkable book by a former political prisoner that I have spent a lot of time with over the past several years, working on a translation with a group of people (we call ourselves the New York Translation Collective, even though members are in New York, New Hamphsire, Damascus, Cairo and Beirut!). Individual poems have come out in Beyond Baroque (revived mag from Los Angeles), and Bomb, with some more expected and a book to come sometime this year).

Alan George | Syria: Neither Bread Nor Freedom | Zed, 2003 | 206pp

I was reading this to understand a little more about the context of Bayrakdar's imprisonment and subsequent release; one of the only books in English that covers this period.

David Meltzer | Beat Thing | La Alameda Press, 2004 | 160pp | $18.00

History as bop, verse as life. The inimitable encyclopedic David Meltzer, a must-read.

Herman Melville | Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War: Civil War Poems |
DaCapo Press, 1995 | 272pp | $13.95

Particularly apt in these times, with a superb introduction by Lee Rust Brown; here is Melville, in 1865, in a poem called "America": "Law on her brow and empire in her eyes."

Anne Waldman and Lisa Birman, eds. | Civil Disobediences: Poetics and
Politics in Action
| Coffee House Press, 2004 | 470pp | $18.00

Just in over the transom—I'm a contributor but, despite that, looks like there is a lot here to digest and explore.

Maggie Dubris | Skels | Soft Skull, 2004 | 240pp | $14.95

I've read an earlier version in manuscript and have been eagerly awaiting the publication of this. Maggie Dubris is unique, read her.

Douglas Valentine | The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on Drugs | Verso, 2004 | 554pp | $29.00

Masterful alternative history that can restructure the way you think about politics, economics, government, and all kinds of other things. The real deal, by the man who brought us the indespensable Phoenix Program, perhaps the only book to detail the operations against civilians during the latter days of the American war in Indochina.

Steve Hodel | Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story | Harper-Collins, 2004 | 560pp | $14.95

An absolute knock-out. Hodel is a former LAPD detective who actually fingers his own father, Dr. George Hodel, as the Black Dahlia killer and the killer of other women. Most interesting are Dr. George Hodel's connections to people like Man Ray and John Huston.

Maureen Konkle | Writing Indian Nations: Native Intellectuals and the Politics of Historiography, 1827-1863 | University of North Carolina Press, 2004 | 368pp

An important view into native discourse prior to the civil war and "removal." Very useful in reconsidering some popular but too loosely used categories like "post-colonialism."

Dorothy B. Hughes | In A Lonely Place | The Feminist Press, 2003 | 250pp | $14.95

Yale Younger Poet turned pulp and noir writer Dorothy Hughes, finally re-issued. Magic!

Cornell Woolrich | Rendezvous in Black | Modern Library, 2004 | 212pp | $12.95

The inimitable Woolrich is slowly coming back into print; check this one out, along with a collection of stories recently out and edited by Francis Nevins, his biographer.

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Rae Armantrout

Since I also responded to the last survey on this site, I’ve chosen only recent books this time to avoid duplication.

Bob Perelman and Francie Shaw | Playing Bodies | Granary Books, 2004

The book presents 52 paintings by Shaw, each of which shows a toy dinosaur and a doll involved in an ambiguous tussle. Perelman has written a poem in response to each painting. The poems are terse, urgent, colloquial. They deal with big subjects in a completely unpretentious way.

Lyn Hejinian | The Fatalist | Omnidawn

This work opens wide to admit anything imaginable. That makes for a wild ride. I love all of Lyn’s books and this is among my favorites.

Graham Foust | As in Every Deafness | Flood Editions

Foust seems to have come out of the blue as a completely accomplished poet. His work is extremely compressed, even miniature, yet each poem makes wrenching twists and leaves you somewhere unexpected.

Graham Foust | Leave the Room to Itself | ahsahta press

I’m just a G.F. fan.

Lisa Robertson | Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office of Soft Architecture |Clear Cut Press

Lisa Robertson may be the opposite of Graham Foust, but I love her work too. This book deals with (Vancouver) space in terms of texture. Its baroque style seems to suggest we’ll never get to the bottom of "things."

Kit Robinson | The Crave | Atelos

This book is also about space — the alienated space of the business traveler. It isn’t depressing though. It’s more like cool jazz.

Catherine Wagner | Macular Hole | Fence Books

Wagner is sort of like a post-feminist Sylvia Plath on acid. Check it out. It’s intense.

Peter Gizzi | Some Values of Landscape and Weather | Wesleyan

This book is elegant. The poems invite you in and then threaten to dissolve. It’s a bit like Ashbery but with no hint of camp.

Elizabeth Willis |Turneresque | Burning Deck

Willis makes a kind of grim comedy out of our fantasies and representations. "inventing a bobby / fischer to live through it."

Elizabeth Robinson | Apprehend | Fence

I love fairy tales and this book finds a way to rewrite fairy tales, opening them up to contemporary experience.

Ron Silliman | Woundwood |Cuneiform

This is a good example of what I like in Ron’s writing: the quality of his observation. And behind or between the observations, increasingly lately, there is a subtle emotional resonance.

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Bill Berkson

Take one

Kenward Elmslie | Agenda Melt

Charles Reznikoff | Testimony

Kenneth Koch | A Possible World

Nathaniel Dorsky | Devotional Cinema

Ron Padgett, ed. | Painter Among Poets: George Schneeman

John Thorpe | Five Aces and Independence

Adam Phillips | Darwin's Worms

Kit Robinson | The Crave

Rudy Burckhardt | Abrams monograph

W.H. Auden | Lectures on Shakespeare

Frank Kermode | Shakespeare's Language

Take two

John Godfrey | Private Lemonade

Charles Rosen | The Classical Style

Frank O'Hara | The Houses at Falling Hanging | in Yale Review with intro by Olivier Brossard

Paul Valery | Selected Writings

Silver Poets of the Sixteenth Century

Whitman | Selected by Robert Creeley

Ovid | The Metamorphosis | Trans. John Golding

David Rattray | How I Became One of the Invisible

Richard Holmes | Sidetracks

Alexander Nehamas | The Art of Living

Plato | The Symposium | Trans. Alexander Nehamas & Paul Woodruff

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Anselm Berrigan

Eric Baus | The To Sound | Verse | 2003

Samuel R. Delaney | Times Square Red Times Square Blue | NYU, 1999 | 203pp | $18.00

Hafiz of Shiraz | Thirty Poems: An Introduction to the Sufi Master | Trans. by Peter Avery and John Heath-Stubbs | Handsel, 2003 | 81 pp | $14.00

Karen Weiser | Placefullness | Ugly Duckling, 2004

Douglas Oliver | Arrondissements | Salt, 2003 | 172pp | $16.95

Anne Waldman and Lisa Berman, eds. | Civil Disobediences: Poetics and Politics in Action | Coffee House, 2004 | 425pp | $18.00

Michael Lewis | Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game | Norton, 2002 320 pp | $13.95

Samantha Powers | "A Problem from Hell": America and the age of Genocide | Perennial, 2003 | 656 pp | $17.95

Lorenzo Thomas | Dancing On Main Street | Coffee House, 2004 | 110 pp | $15.00

Linh Dinh | All Around What Empties Out | Subpress/Tinfish, 2003 | 96 pp | $12.00

Unpublished manuscripts by Alice Notley, Dana Ward, Marcella Durand, Karen Weiser and Edmund Berrigan, plus the Collected Poems of Ted Berrigan, nearly 900 pages, and due to be published by UC Press in late 2005.

• • •

Notes: I am choosing not to choose books by anyone I introduced at the Poetry Project in the past year, which cuts out about fifty books. At the same time I am choosing to list family and the person I live with, as I probably spend the most time with that work (and it is also among the best, he says without a care towards the lack of impartiality, whatever the fuck that's supposed to be in this day and age). Noah Eli Gordon's Frequencies, from Tougher Disguises should be in there too. I have also been obsessively reading all of J.R.R. Tolkien's works for the past three years (having never read them before), and any of David Halberstam's sports books (The Breaks of the Game, on Basketball, and 1964, on Baseball, in particular). And lots of political essays, which I think constitute some kind of new genre of trash reading (left and right). Otherwise, I can't think of anything to say about the books I am listing beyond the fact that they work.

Recent poems by Anselm Berrigan can be found on-line at and

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Jules Boykoff

Alex Callinicos | The New Mandarins of American Power | Polity, 2003

A smart, concise, measured, critical look at the ‘War on Terrorism.’ A good Marxist for the good Marxist in all of us.

Renee Gladman | The Activist | Krupskaya, 2003

This is a fractured planning session, a psychological excavation, & mass media critique all rolled up into a gripping book. "I swear on my heart that Americans will not be rabble-roused," said the President.

Carol Mirakove | Occupied | Kelsey St. Press, 2004

Speaking of rabble-rousing, Carol Mirakove brings us Occupied, a crucial book for this historical moment. Mirakove kindly reminds us that "democracy is a contact sport." This work is more direct than her previous stuff, as she seems to be overtly reading the vertiginous swirl-a-girl called Our Present Moment. The book even comes with handy-dandy glossary-like reference section.

Critical Art Ensemble | Flesh Machine | Autonomedia, 1998

Steve Kurtz’s recent suppression (via the USA PATRIOT Act etc.) inspired my return to the Critical Art Ensemble’s engaging discussion of new-wave eugenic based technological advance masquerading as social progress.

Lisa Robertson | Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office of Soft Architecture | Clear Cut Press, 2003

I love the precision of language, the perambulation of thought, the thoroughgoing ranginess of this book. Fun to read out loud with a friend. Fun to look at the [color!] pictures, too.

Robert Pollin | Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity | Verso Press, 2003

Lucid demystification of the so-called economic boom in the 1990s under Clinton. Pollin is radical economist who is also a sonuva NBA owner (Abe Pollin of the Washington Wizards).

Devendra Banhart | Oh Me Oh My…The Way the Day Goes by the Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of the Christmas Spirit | Young God Records, 2002

This CD has been spinning wildly in our stereo since the day we got it. "You certainly are nice people, in your white-ass suit and lion tattoos. You’ve seen it all. Pale horse licks your skin, begin."

Michael Smith | It A Come | City Lights, 1986

A collection worth returning to. Michael Smith, a Jamaican poet, was the victim of political murder in 1983. His poem "Sunday" is one of my all-time favorites.

Aishah Rahman and Kamili Feelings, eds. | NuMuse: An Anthology of Plays from Brown University | Seventh Issue | Providence, 2001

Contains an interview with playwright Adrienne Kennedy. Kennedy’s "Sleep Deprivation Chamber" is also included.

Chalmers Johnson | Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire | New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2000

Direct, compelling analysis replete with numerous specific examples of U.S. foreign policies in East Asia. This was written before 11 Sept. 2001. Read chapters 1, 2 & 10, if nothing else.

Leslie Scalapino, ed. | War and Peace | O Books, 2004

Includes, among other things, a fantastic long piece from Judith Goldman & one of my all-time favorite Rodrigo Toscano poems—one that reminds me of the enormous gaps in my education.

Women in the Avant Garde | cd | Narrow House Recordings, 2004

This CD is a recording of a slam-bang poetry reading given by Laura Elrick, Heather Fuller, Carol Mirakove, Kristin Prevallet, and Deborah Richards that Kaia Sand organized in St. Mary’s County, Maryland in Nov. 2003. The recording is so crisp that at times you can hear Sophie Prevallet squealing with glee in the background. Can’t blame her—this is a fantastic, & variegated, reading.

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Pam Brown

Laurie Duggan | Mangroves | University of Queensland Press, 2003 | 186pp

During a long bout of poetry-writing block, Laurie Duggan wrote a doctoral thesis on early Twentieth Century modernism in Australian visual culture. It was published as a book called ‘Ghost Nation’ in 2001. Then, starting from where he left off from poetry , or from where poetry left him a few years earlier, he wrote his eleventh book of poems, ‘Mangroves’. Softly critical, mildly scholarly, always wry , often funny – ‘If the futurists were reborn would they choose to live under the flightpath ?’ Ten of the best poems here are written ‘after Ardengo Soffici’.

Michael Brennan | The Imageless World | Salt Publishing, 2004 | 93pp

These poems are excised from the work of mourning. Endearing, ‘emotional’, also tinged with an eastern european tone (eastern europe before the 1980s fall). Axiomatic fragments sensitize a reader’s consciousness with feeling. ‘Freedom might be the week love begins or love ends. Well fed words might keep it from us.’ The wanderer’s already-nostalgic letters and postcards home are also occasionally tragicomic – a lover’s departure – ‘She left a sliver of green soap/Which I started to use/The day after the day she left./I tried to mail the postcard but/Without a forwarding address/Only the soap that was almost gone was left.’ Michael Brennan is the Australian founder of the vibrant independent chapbook imprint Vagabond Press.

John Tranter | Studio Moon | Salt Publishing, 2003 | 114pp

A selection of poems from the last fifteen years from this prolific Australian poet and editor of the widely-read internet magazine, ‘Jacket’. Tranter displays his formal skills – elegies, odes, haibun, sestinas , pantoums and so on. Desperation and the darker side of disappointment in poems like ‘Decalcomania’ and a kind of ordinary or domestic ennui in others, temper any excess of imaginative revelation. A wide range of narrative unravelments that come close to seeming classical. Plus daring feats of twentieth century fin-de siècle stream-of-consciousness.

Lisa Robertson | Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture| clear cut press, 2003 | 274pp

Little essays that might have been dreamed, or received, rather than thought. Conceptual beauties. ‘My guide raised the styrofoam coffee cup as if it were the most translucent of foliate porcelains. During the instant of that gesture morning was all recollection…’ In Vancouver.

Donna Haraway | The Companion Species Manifesto | Prickly Paradigm Press 2003 100pp

Dog writing is a branch of feminist lit theory . So Australian novelist Amanda Lohrey includes a talking, thinking mutt in her latest novel ‘The Philosopher’s Doll’. The well-known male writers John Berger in ‘King - A Street Story ‘ and Paul Auster in ‘Timbuktu’ use dogs as their first-canine-pronoun leading characters, partially pre-empting this treatise. Now that cyborgs have completed their absorption into an imaginary feminist-run world, Haraway exhorts us to continue the struggle and to ‘Run fast; bite hard !’

Susan M. Schultz | And Then Something Happened | Salt Publishing, 2004 | 132pp

Dense, intense, engaged, darkly witty, observant, worldly, brainy, this book is a necessary antidote for the jaded. The reader can follow thinking’s action in these socially (or societally) grounded poems and prose poems. Covering a mix of topics from writing theory to adoptive motherhood to corporate crime to political, philosophical & military power, Susan Schultz critiques the western English speaking world with extraordinary acuity and poetic brilliance.

Eileen Myles | The Inferno (Chapter 1) | Angry Dog Midget Editions, 2003 | 32pp

Pacy autobiographical prose - distracted, dishevelled, glamorous, frank and funny, the teenage poet falls for the world literature teacher who understands existentialism – thereby reclaiming (or is it ‘inventing’ ?) a lesbian trope.

Gerry Dukes | Samuel Beckett | Penguin Books, 2001 | 161pp

A photographic biography. Beckett was shy of publicity, wary of speaking in public yet not, as is evidenced here, camera-shy. Over a hundred photos of Samuel Beckett and his friends and family , his stage and film work in progress or production, plus ephemera (book jackets etc) and an inventive text as a condensed biography by Dublin-based academic, Gerry Dukes.

• • •

Regular reading

News & current affairs:The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian Newspaper, Green Left Weekly, The Guardian Weekly, The Nation - online, The Onion - online

Journals: Art Monthly Australia, Art & Australia, Modernism/Modernity, Jacket, Tinfish, Meanjin, Southerly, Cordite, HOW2

Newsletters: Five Bells (NSW Poets Union), The Gleaner (Gleebooks bookshop), Red Tape (CPSU - my union), AFI (Australian Film Institute), Friends of the National Film & Sound Archive, Sydney Alliance Francaise

Blogs: Ron Silliman, Steve Evans' Third Factory, Cassie Lewis' The Jetty

Current manuals: Roxio Toast 6 Titanium - Getting Started Guide, Pentax Optio S40 digital camera Operating Manua

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Franklin Bruno

Rae Armantrout | Up To Speed | Wesleyan University Press, 2003

Observation, comprehension, doubt; the experience of time as a condition of consciousness and intentionality. "Does a road/run its whole length/at once?" Also Veil (Wesleyan, 2001); The Pretext (Green Integer, 2001), and two new poems in The Canary 3.

Christian Bök | Eunoia | Coach House Books, 2001

If a thing’s done perfectly, does that demonstrate it was worth doing? Also the Coach House CD of the author reading his work; MacGregor Card’s two palindromic poems in The Hat 5; Guy Bennett & Ron Griffin, Drive to Cluster (ML & NLF, 2003).

Fanny Howe | Economics | Flood Editions, 2002

The argument that transparency is by nature illusory is much more convincing when made implicitly, by writing that nearly achieves it. "Lotto" devastates me with its ‘surprise ending,’ all the more so in that I usually find Howe’s prose heavy going (Indivisible, The Wedding Dress).

Manny Farber | About Face | 2003 | Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego

I’m cheating; the catalog essays are excellent, but I really mean the show of seventy-odd paintings itself, and the three out of four related screenings I managed to attend. (Musketeers of Pig Alley!) I’ve been struggling to get an essay on Farber down to 6,000 words, so 50-or-less is out of the question.

Wayne Koestenbaum | Cleavage | Ballantine Books, 2000

Like Robertson and Stark below, a collection of magazine writing – in this case, elliptical, deceptively light, and technically enviable. Manages to make something of the least promising assignments: Interview Alec Baldwin for Vogue, write Monica’s Clinton diary. Also, Andy Warhol (Penguin Lives/Viking, 2001)

Peter Richards | The Nude Siren | Verse, 2003

Productively indeterminate between an imagistic poetics (or maybe a Kayak-y soft Surrealism) and a materialist one. I’m told but haven’t confirmed that this is entirely different from his earlier Oubliette.

Lisa Robertson | Occassional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture | Clear Cut Press, 2003

"I watched the city of Vancouver dissolve in the fluid called money….I began to research the history of surfaces. I included my own desires in the research." Cold comfort: I had thought it was just L.A. (Not incidentally, this is a gorgeous book-object.)

Frances Stark | Collected Writings 1993-2003 | Book Works, 2003

I’m not drawn to the work of the fellow L.A. visual artists Stark discusses, but I respond to her sense of the practical payoffs of theoretical engagement, and to "The Housewife and The Architect," an earlier pamphlet on Modernism and domesticity reprinted here.

Caetano Veloso | Tropical Truth | Knopf, 2002

Essentially an intellectual autobiography, barely disguised as an insightful, not unromantic account of Veloso’s (ongoing) cultural moment. Makes you wish Bob Dylan were the discursive type. Also A Foreign Sound (Nonesuch, 2004); Ruy Castro, Bossa Nova (A Cappella Books, 2000); Arto Linsday, Salt (Righteous Babe, 2004); Luciano Perrone, Batacuda Fantàstica Vol. 3 (1972, CD reissue Whatmusic 2004); Xeroxes of sheet music for several Veloso songs, courtesy Scott Saul.

Kevin Young | To Repel Ghosts | Zoland, 2001

Narrow-lined, broadly polysemous stalk-poems sprouted from the seed-language in Jean-Michael Basquiat’s paintings. See/hear also: Basquiat (dir. Julien Schnabel, 1996), Downtown 81 (dir. Edo Bertoglio, DVD released 2000), "Beat Bop," Ramelzee Vs. K.Rob (12" single prod. Basquiat, 1981, available on New York Noise, Soul Jazz, 2003).

Tyrone Williams | c.c. | Krupskaya, 2002

‘Fierce erudition’ is a cliché, but it fits. Ending a collection with fifteen identically-titled haiku ("Tag") takes some nerve, I’d say: "Silver chains of com-/mand identify remains/of etcetera." A difficult book in more than one respect, but one I’m glad not to be done with.

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Joshua Clover

Pierre Alferi | La voie des airs | P.O.L., 2004

"Ne pas écouter l'intérieur
— enregistrer, enregistrer"

Barbara Cole | Situation Comedies | /ubu editions, 1998-2004

There's a time and a place for everything. An MLA reading with 27 participants is the time and place to stand up and say "This is called... 'Foxy Moron.'" Onward to Philadelphia, and "Foxycontin."

Jay-Z | "99 Problems" | Roc-A-Fella Records, 2003

Specifically the second verse, where he walks his core audience through their 4th Amendment rights armed only with savoir-faire and Rick Rubin. Brechtian.

Many Artists/Many Songs/No Albums At All | Acquisition 110.3 | 2004

Wasn't the fax machine just so weird? Such a brief but intense period in the history of technology, such a big and clunky thing? And then one day you realize you'll probably never use one again.

Chris Nealon | The Joyous Age | Black Square, 2004

"We should totally be sister cities."

RETORT | "Afflicted Powers: The State, the Spectacle and September 11" | New Left Review 27 | May/June 2004

The only analysis of recent political developments to make good use of both Milton and Lowell

Lisa Robertson | Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture | Clear Cut, 2004

The only way I could like this book more is if it actually had a puffy cover, like Chairman Mao's Little Pink Book of Derives. Hello Kitty Situationist.

Kristin Ross | May '68 and Its Afterlives | University of Chicago, 2002

Acidic disdain for the New Philosophers of the late Seventies, and for their equation between "totality" and "totalitarian," viz contemporary poetics: helpful.

Michael Scharf | "I Love Systems" | /ubu editions, 2004

A coffee table book for a better world. I know because I had it on my coffee table for almost a year. It's fun to watch guests pick it up idly like it's a magazine -- their faces.

Xi Chuan | Trans. Maghiel van Crevel | "Salute" and "What The Eagle Says"

"I chose this record player from the warehouse, to play you a song, to cure you of your old disease." These are both quite long prose poems, started around 1997 and translated recently. Trying to imagine what "warehouse" feels like in the China of spastic murderous entrepreneurial Communism: difficult.

Yang Xiaobin | Trans. author | "Final Excursion: Twelve Tercets"

"He sang with a variety of mouths and marched off in all directions at once."

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Chris Daniels

I have adored poetry since my father, in the bathtub with me, recited "The Owl and the Pussycat" and Hafiz’s great poem about the rose and the nightingale. This is one of my earliest memories. Over the past forty years, I’ve slowly but inexorably turned away from Poetry USA and its various cliques, claques and apparatchiki. Nearly everything "creative" I’ve read in the past few years has been in Portuguese, Spanish or in translation (in that order). The Eurocentric, Clinton-Liberal, emotionally touristic, all-too-public cluelessness of the vast majority of US poets and the academic and corporate parasites who make their living and/or gain prestige by feeding off of them and controlling exposure and interpretation, have all become unendurable.

1. Current translation projects (whoever said that translation is the deepest form of reading was absolutely right):

Clarice Lispector | Um Sopro da Vida (pulsações) | Livraria Francisco Alves Editora, 10th edition, 1994

Her last "novel." No publisher as yet.

Murilo Mendes | Chaos’s Window | Listening Chamber, forthcoming

I read and re-read:

Murilo Mendes | Poesia Completa e Prosa | Nova Aguilar, 1994

Murilo Mendes | Recordações de Ismael Nery | EDUSP, 1996

Murilo Mendes | Laís Corréa de Araújo | Perspetiva, 2000 (1st ed., 1972)

Júlio Castañon Guimarães | Territórios/Conjunções, poesia e prosa crítica de Murilo Mendes | Imago, 1993

Murilo Marcondes de Moura | Murilo Mendes: a poesia como totalidade | EDUSP, 1995

Leila Barbosa and Marisa Rodrigues | A Trama Poética de Murilo Mendes | Lacerda Editores, 2000

Francisco Faria | The Meaning of American Landscape | Edições Mirabilia | bilingual edition | forthcoming in 2004

Art criticism by one of Brasil’s best artists.

Raul Bopp | Cobra Norato | multiple publishers

Long poem based on BR folklore. Modernist classic, now in it’s 19th edition. Also reading various crit. works. No publisher as yet.

Josely Vianna Baptista | Os poros flóridos | unpublished in BR | bilingual Mexican edition, Aldus, 2003

A modern Soledades in six cantos. A palimpsest of thresholds. No publisher as yet.

José Lezama Lima, Néstor Perlongher, Severo Sarduy | various poems

Carlos Drummond de Andrade | Various texts, including "Prideful heart, you rush to confess your downfall / and put off for another century our collective happiness. / You accept rain, war, unemployment and unjust distribution / because all alone you could never dynamite Manhattan." And a great many others. I’m working on an anthology of BR poetry. Might be a publisher.

Fernando Pessoa | Fictions of the Interlude | massive selection of Pessoa’s heteronymic poetry | Grand Quiskadee, Berkeley, 2006 |at least two volumes, print-on-demand, coming your way after January 1, 2006, when the work falls back into P.D.

The Fourth World War | documentary film

Into Portuguese, for release in BR this winter or early in 2005. I’m organizing the work. Everybody should see this powerful film.

Various journalism and dispatches for MST | Ongoing

2. The following have helped/are helping to remind me of what it means to be a citizen.

Michael Barratt Brown | The Economics of Imperialism | Penguin, 1974

Michael Hudson| Super Imperialism | Pluto Press, 2003

Immanuel Wallerstein | After Liberalism | The New Press, 2000

Immanuel Wallerstein | The Essential Wallerstein | The New Press, 2000

Robin Hahnel | Panic Rules! Everything You Need to Know About the Global Economy | West End Press, 1999

Bertell Ollman | Alienation | Cambridge UP, 1971

The Code of Federal Regulations | online here

Title 31—MONEY AND FINANCE: TREASURY, Chapter V, Part 515—Cuban Assets Control Regulations, contains the language that got Ry Cooder in trouble with the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Start with Subpart B—Prohibitions, § 515.206 Exempt transactions, and follow the cross-referencing.

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Jordan Davis

Ben Friedlander | Simulcast | Alabama

Jenny Browne | At Once | Tampa

Kasey Mohammad | Deer Head Nation | Tougher Disguises

Chris Edgar | At Port Royal | Adventures in Poetry

K.L. Evans | Whale! | Minnesota

Joanna Fuhrman | Ugh Ugh Ocean | Hanging Loose

Rod Smith | Music or Honesty | Roof

Catherine Wagner | Macular Hole | Fence

Matthea Harvey | Sad Little Breathing Machine | Graywolf

Joseph Donahue | Incidental Eclipse | Talisman

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Marcella Durand

Lisa Robertson | Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office of Soft Architecture | Clear Cut, 2003

This eminently portable book is part of a subscription series from Clear Cut Press, based in Oregon and edited by Matthew Stadler of Nest magazine.

Brenda Coultas | A Handmade Museum | Coffee House Press, 2003

A permanent sensitizer of consciousness/conscientiousness about one's environs.

Karen Weiser | Placefullness | Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004 | Edition of 300

Poems written in "conversation" with Etel Adnan's There, In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other.

Bird walk with Jack Collom and Cecilia Vicuna | July 19, 2004 | Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge | Queens, NY

Some species seen: Black crowned night heron, tundra swan, laughing gull, cedar waxwing, yellow warbler.

Michele Metail | Les Horizons du Sol | CIPM, 1999

Geological poem of the deep origins of Marseille.

Joan Murray | Poems by Joan Murray 1917-1942 | Yale Series of Younger Poets, 1947

After publishing essay by John Ashbery on Murray in first issue of Newsletter, perfect copy miraculously found at some bookstore before bridge to Deer Island, Maine.

Exhibition and catalogue | Ocean Flowers: Impressions from Nature | at the Drawing Center, NYC, 2004

Early Victorian drawings, impressions ("embedded specimens"), botanographs, photograms, and durandotypes (sic) of various seaplants, including limboo mal. lycopodium and laminaria fascia, "drawn by the plant itself."

Harry Mathews | Tlooth

So much depends on one enamelled word.

Jean-Michel Espitallier | Le Theoreme d'Espitallier | Flammarion, 2003

"There are the victims, there are the events. And now, a small relaxation session."

Kevin Davies | Lateral Argument | 2003

A signal work by a signal poet, beautifully printed by Baretta Books.

Andrew Joron | Fathom | Black Square Editions, 2003

Like reading philosophy in poetic form, or poetry in philosophical form.

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kari edwards

Yedda Morrison | Crop | Kelsey St. Press, 2003

a must have book...a truly gifted writer

Daphne Gottleib | Final Girl | Softskull, 2003

punky, queer, here and a must read

Brenda Iijima | Around sea | O books, 2004

this is a beautufl book

Deborah Richards | Last One Out | Subpress, 2003

Michelle Naka Pierce & Veronica Corpuz | Tri/Via | Erudite Fangs, 2003 not miss this on going collaboration

Allison Cobb | Born2 | Chax Press, 2004

fun and multi-layered

Peter Gizzi | Some Values of Landscape and Weather | Wesleyan
University Press, 2003

this is lovely and delightful read

Terrence Chiusano | On generation and corruption | Handwritten Press, 2004

and object hand printed book, deep in language

Hung Q. Tu | Structures of feeling | Krupskaya, 2003

Jill Hartman | A painted ELFphant | Coach House Books, 2003

a great read. this is how to use language.

kari edwards is the author of iduna (O Books, 2003) and a day in the life of p. (subpress collective, 2002). Work can also be found in Scribner's The Best American Poetry 2004. There's a review here; and the blog is here.

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Larry Fagin

Richard Roundy | The Other Kind of Vertigo | Barretta Books, 2003

Kostas Anagnopoulos | Daydream | Insurance Editions, 2004

Carol Szamatowicz | Reticular Pop-ups | Insurance Editions, 2004

David Perry | Knowledge Follows | Insurance Editions, 2004

David Perry | New Years | Braincase Press, 2004

Clark Coolidge | Mine: The One That Enters the Stories | new edition | The Figures, 2004

Philip Whalen | Prose [Out] Takes | Poltroon Press, 2002

Duncan McNaughton | Counting Toes | 2004

Duncan McNaughton | Capricci | Blue Millennium, 2001

David Meltzer | Beat Thing | La Alameda Press, 2004

Jo Ann Wasserman | The Escape | Futurepoem, 2003

James Schuyler | Alfred & Guinevere | NYRB, 2001

Bill Berkson | Sweet Singer of Modernism | Qua Books, 2003

Merrill Gilfillan | Rivers & Birds | Johnson Books, 2003

Frank O'Hara | The Houses at Falling Hanging | Play | In most recent Yale Review

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Steve Farmer

Tim Davis | Dailies | The Figures, 2000 | $12.50 | 111pp

Have not put this book down for almost 4 years.

Laura Elrick | Skincerity | Krupskaya, 2003 | $11 | 82pp

Great great debut. Tough, toned, great sense of structure, and whip-smart. Looking forward to tons more from this talented writer.

Robert Fitterman | Metropolis 16-29 | Coach House Press, 2003 | $14.95 | 124pp

Never a dull moment as this uber urban long poem continues, starting fresh and varied with each new installment. The best "berries" in the land.

Heather Fuller | Dovecote | Edge Books, 2002 | $10 | 90pp

Truly strange and original writing that pushes the envelope. Intriguing push-off points like Hopper (the painter and/or the actor), beggars, and the Civil War coalesce and spin out.

Yedda Morrison | Crop | Kelsey St Press, 2003 | $11 | 79pp

Brilliant and focused writing of a major order. Lends itself to many re-readings, each one revealing new layers of the machine.

Kim Rosenfield | Good Morning-- Midnight-- | Roof Books, 2001 | $10.95 | 106pp

Displays not only her deft, subtle wit, but her power (see "Excelsior Reflector"). "A Self-guided Walk" one of the all-time greats.

Deanne Stillman | Twentynine Palms | Perennial/HarperCollins, 2001 | $12.95 | 79pp

Couldn't put this one down. "A true story of murder, Marines, and the Mojave." Timely and local hello America.

Rodrigo Toscano | Platform | Atelos Press, 2003 | $12.95 | 231pp

A massive sounding wall of the highest magnitude. Complexity of thought & wordplay should be basic text for all students of things poetique.

Hung Q. Tu | Structures of Feeling | Krupskaya, 2003 | $11 | 107pp

Great minimalist pieces singed with wit, music, and disdain. Brilliant.

Diane Ward | Portraits & Maps | NLF Editions, 2000 | 74pp

The latest from one of my favorites, a collaboration bouncing off the work of artist Michael C. McMillen, published in Italy with Italian translations.

Elizabeth Willis | Turneresque | Burning Deck, 2003 | $10 | 95pp

Her best book yet, which is saying a ton. 'Nuff said.

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Graham W. Foust

Rae Armantrout | Up to Speed

DJ Rae gettin’ busy as a midget mountain climber. Tick, tick, vroom.

The National | Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers | Brassland Records, 2003

The second album by the best band in the world. Don’t like The National? You’re wrong.

Frederick Seidel | The Cosmos Poems | FSG, 2003

I can’t decide whether I want to spank or be spanked by the speaker of Fred Seidel’s poems, but if he lived in the penthouse across the hall from mine, boy oh boy would I want there to be some spanking.

Peter Doig | "Metropolitan" | Pinakothek der Moderne, Münich

People often talk about bursting into tears before certain paintings. All well and good, I suppose, but in front of Doig’s paintings, I burst into color, planet, thought. And then I asked the grouchy motherfuckers at the info desk if they had that dogs playin’ poker picture.

Rod Smith | The Good House | Spectacular Books, 2001

Okay, I burst into tears when I finished this. More than once. My most re-read poem of this millennium.

Peter Ramos | Watching Late-Night Hitchcock and Other Poems | Handwritten Press, 2004

Berryman said his Dream Songs were meant to comfort and terrify. If this chapbook contained an author photo, Peter Ramos would be carrying a hot water bottle in one hand and an incredibly venomous spider in the other. As it stands, the book’s cover photograph is by Lara Odell, which makes the poems all the more beautifully bleak.

Monica Youn | Barter | Graywolf, 2003

See Ben Friedlander’s review of Elaine Equi’s book from 2003’s Attention Span; substitute "Monica" for "Elaine." My favorite full-length of 2003.

Stacy Szymaszek | Emptied of All Ships | Bronze Skull Press, 2003

Sometimes I wish this chapbook were a 12" single, ‘cause I’d spin it all day long and sing along. I almost always wish more poets sounded this good...

Die Kreuzen | Self-titled LP | Touch and Go Records, 1984

During a year in which I made many pleasurable pilgrimages back to old favorite bands (The Smiths, Television, The Go-Go’s, Van Halen), this return was perhaps the most rewarding. Even—nay, especially—après grunge, Milwaukee’s finest are still way scary, still absolutely vital. Steve Albini said it best, way back when: "This is so fucking great . . . that all that horseshit that passes for punk nowadays doesn't even upset me anymore. This exists too, and that's enough."

Joyelle McSweeney | Reading "The Commandrine" and other poems | Drake University, Fall 2003

Should you decide to put forth the effort required to maintain a regular series of "cultural events" at an academic institution, two things might happen almost simultaneously. One: People whom you once assumed were "on your side" might say snide things to you about the relevance and sincerity of your efforts and intentions. Two: Someone whom you’ve known for only twelve hours might do something so thrilling and hilarious that the aforementioned people will—for at least forty minutes or so—cease to matter.

Listening to Life without Buildings’ "The Leanover" while driving past the Williamsburg, Iowa outlet mall and its gi-normous American flag on September 11, 2003

I guess you had to be there. I didn’t, but I was.

• • •

I also have to mention Xiu Xiu’s "Fabulous Muscles" from the Fabulous Muscles LP (5RC, 2004), simply because any song that contains the lyrics "Cremate me / After you come on my lips / Honey boy / Place my ashes in a vase / Beneath your workout bench" needs to be on a list, and because I haven’t been as obsessive about continuously replaying a song since I discovered Jim Croce’s "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" in the first grade.

Graham Foust has a heart murmur, grinds his teeth, and divides his time between central Des Moines and the north end of Iowa City.

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Benjamin Friedlander

Gwendolyn Brooks | In Montgomery and Other Poems | Third World Press, 2003

The title poem—first published in Ebony with photographs sadly absent here—is investigative poetry, and forms the moral ground for this, Brooks's last book, which also includes a sequence of lyric diffractions spoken by children and her devastating long poem from 1968, "In the Mecca."

Frances Chung | Crazy Melon and Chinese Apple | ed. Walter Lew | Wesleyan UP, 2000

I love this book because it documents the New York I lived in but never really knew* and also because its poetic idiom is so wily: layers of simple statement that initiate the reader into a structure far richer and more complex than any individual poem could reveal.

*Two other books I enjoy for the same reason: James McCourt, Queer Street (cited below), and Tim Lawrence, Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979 (Duke UP, 2003).

Barbara Cole | Situation Comedies: Foxy Moron | Ubu Editions, 2004

By turns gleeful and inane—but glee is so rare a thing, I'll take it in any form I can get.

Robert Creeley | I Know a Man, Poems 1945-1975 & Just in Time, Poems 1976-1998 | CDs | Optic Nerve, 2004

Creeley's poetry is molecular: a series of irreducible, endlessly recombinant blocks. Its virtues are clarity, definition, adaptability, surprise...qualities that his reading style also embodies, while highlighting in addition the subjective basis (experienced, organic, fallible, contingent) of what otherwise might come across as objective (observed, logical, precise, necessary). It's trippy too, for reasons I can't easily explain.

Jordan Davis and Sarah Manguso, eds. | Free Radicals: American Poets before Their First Books | Subpress Collective, 2004

The poets here believe in high concept and the power of naming, a welcome relief from the poetry of honed technique and abstraction that held sway in the '90s. The premise is dubious, that booklessness is freedom, but the book that results (a contradiction?) is persistently readable, so who cares.

Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb | Regions of Sorrow: Anxiety and Messianism in Hannah Arendt and W. H. Auden | Stanford UP, 2003

I've admired Auden but never read him for pleasure, so I turned to this for what it might tell me about poetry and philosophy, and out of affection for Arendt. I only wish the critics who did take up the poets I love were as careful and original as Gottlieb.

James McCourt | Queer Street: The Rise and Fall of an American Culture, 1947-1985 | Norton, 2003

Walter Benjamin's historical imagination is so idiosyncratic, I didn't think it could serve as a model for anyone else. McCourt proves me wrong. It helps, of course, that he writes so well (in "bejewelled barbed wire"—Wayne Koestenbaum), and that his history is, like Benjamin's, a magnificent dream assembled from lovingly collected bits of material culture.

Adah Isaacs Menken | Infelicia and Other Writings | Ed. Gregory Eiselein | Broadview Press, 2002

The strangest story in the history of identity politics.

K. Silem Mohammad | Hanging Out with Pablo and Jennifer | Duration E-Book 15, n.d.

If I have to choose, I'll be a Philistine: I want my reading to be intellectually daring, but I also want to be entertained...or at least kept awake. The Cap'n understands that.

Murat Nemet-Nejat, ed. and trans. | Eda: An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry | Talisman House, 2004

This book has a wonderful coherence—I've wondered in passing if Murat didn't make it all up himself—yet resists assimilation in its range of delirious possibility. I imbibe bits whenever I can, but it will be a while before I can offer a serious opinion.

Philip Pullman | His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass | Knopf, 1995-2000

By happy accident I read this just after my first serious encounter with Blake, the principal inspiration—along with Milton—for what is, in essence, a theological argument in fantasy form, aimed at teens. Beautifully imagined, magnificently realized, unconvincing.

Quid nos. 1-12 | online .pdf archive | link

Nate Dorward has fed me photocopies from this journal, but until the .pdf became available this year, QUID was more a rumor than reality to me. The most engaging poetry magazine of the last decade?

Rod Smith | Music or Honesty | Roof Books, 2003

If a choreographer transcribed a tantrum and then performed it as a dance, without anger, the result would be something like these poems, which trace out patterns of behavior in language ordinarily overwhelmed by meaning.

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Heather Fuller

Noam Chomsky | Hegemony or Survival | An Audio Renaissance Audio Book, 2003 | 6 CDs, 7 hrs | $34.95 | ISBN 1-55927-941-9

Chomsky is all over the place but that's one reason we love him. I found the parts on the U.S.'s terrorism in Central American countries most compelling, but you really have to listen to all of the CDs to feel the cumulative effect of this thread.

K. Silem Mohammad | Deer Head Nation | Tougher Disguises Press, 2003 | 113 pp. | $12 | ISBN 0-9740167-0-5

Pure euphoria is the effect of much of this book, in which each deer is a recognition scene transcribed by an intelligent awe of where we find ourselves, pinned to history, culture, each other.

Lisa Robertson | Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture | Clear Cut Press, 2003 | 274 pp. | $12.95 | ISBN 0-9723234-3-0

Desperately gorgeous documentation of the trace of capital disparity and exploitation on Vancouver and consciousness in general.

Oz: Seasons 1-3 | HBO series on DVD, 1997-1999 | 9 discs

I am intrigued by the slashing and burning of metaphors throughout each episode, some of this process stunning and some of it disarming. Apart from the obvious Wizard of Oz allegory butting up against Em City in Oswald Prison, there is this fascinating employment of a narrator, part spoken-word poet, part griot, part seer. His poetry ain't outstanding, but his job of linking Oswald Prison to the epic and tragicomic traditions is well-done indeed.

Jules Boykoff, Max Boykoff, Kaia Sand, Neal Sand, editorial collective | The Tangent #14 | February 2004, special insert to Boog City

Another fine issue of Tangent magazine.

Debbie Stoller | Stitch 'n Bitch | Workman, 2003 | 248 pp. | $23.95 HC | ISBN 0-7611-3258-9

Every girl needs to get her knit on, subversively. I am working on the sweater with the big skull on it and the devil hat.

Miles Champion, poem; Trevor Winkfield, drawings | "Air Ball" | Tolling Elves #15 | February 2004

Two pieces of 8.5 X 11 paper folded into a lovely surprise of language and imagery.

Brenda Coultas | A Handmade Museum | Coffee House Press, 2003 | 125 pp. | $15 | ISBN | 1-566-89-143-4

Heartbreaking homage to decay, transition, recovery.

Carol Mirakove | Occupied | Kelsey St. Press, 2004 | 48 pp. | $10 | ISBN 0-932716-66-0

How to present intelligence, when our government does not.

Buck Downs | Golden Taters | Buck Downs ephemera, chapbook, 2004

Nuggets excised from speech and the writing on the wall, circumscribed by the inimitable Buck Downs alchemy.

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Alan Gilbert

Currently Provisional Top Ten List (Poetry & Otherwise)

Michael Moore | Fahrenheit 9/11 | Lions Gate Films, 2004

What does it say about current conditions in the US that the veracity of Moore’s film is debated far more extensively and vigorously than the evidence the Bush administration presented for the invasion of Iraq? This is not a rhetorical question.

cLOUDDEAD | Ten | Mush, 2004

Maybe my favorite "hip hop" album since Cannibal Ox’s 2001 release The Cold Vein. If the stoned-sounding lyrics and production of Ten weren’t so brilliantly boundary pushing, they would just be stoned-sounding lyrics and production.

Alex Bag | The Coven Services for Consumer Mesmerism, Product Sorcery, and the Necromantic Reimagination of Consumption | Elizabeth Dee Gallery, 2004

"Hi, I’m Private Jessica Lynch!" Actually, it’s Alex Bag dressed up as Jessica Lynch while pretending to star in a very amateurish commercial for Halliburton, mixed with footage of metrosexual ennui, and snippets from Paris Hilton’s homemade sex tape. Utilizing video, collage, and handwritten spells, Bag’s solo show at Elizabeth Dee did everything in its power to make the military-industrial-Michael Jackson complex shake in its (moon)boots.

Lorenzo Thomas | Dancing on Main Street | Coffee House Press, 2004

Thomas has had a total of three original book-length manuscripts of poems published in the US during his forty years of serious commitment to the writing and teaching of poetry. Recent paint-by-the-numbers poetry MFA program (or equivalent) graduates [insert relevant names here] have already had a couple books published by [insert relevant presses here]. What’s wrong with this picture? This is not a rhetorical question, either.

Animal Sounds | Illustrated by Aurelius Battaglia | Western Publishing Company, 1981

If it’s my 14-month-old daughter’s favorite book, it means I’ve been spending a lot of time with it also. "Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!"

Dinh Q. Lê | From Vietnam to Hollywood | PPOW, 2004

Lê’s literal weavings of personal, social, historical, and cultural imagery, his sophisticated use of foreground and background, and his rhythmic splatters of visual static seem just as applicable an approach to poetry.

Anti-colonial resistance | cf., Frantz Fanon | Iraq, Afghanistan, Occupied Territories, elsewhere | ongoing

If US government officials really want deeper insight into the anti-colonial disposition, they shouldn’t be congratulating themselves for belatedly discovering Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers, they should be reading Fanon.

Benjamin Friedlander | Adult Contemporary | Subpoetics self-publish or perish, 2004

Friedlander continues to mine the vernacular of popular culture in a way that’s never meant to impress you with the size of his CD collection or his knowledge of, say, obscure film noir. Rather, plumbing the fathomless emotional depths of if-the-shoe-fits-wear-it FM radio love songs, Adult Contemporary feels as if it’s written by a Kantian Glen Campbell, with the result that you don’t know if it’s just an idea or entirely real.

Marvin Gaye | What’s Going On | Motown, 1971 | remastered version, 2002

A couple months ago, this CD earned the distinction in my household of being the only one my partner has ever told me that I play too much.

The Detroit Pistons | NBA Champion, 2004

If they can do it, surely Kerry can beat Bush.

Alan Gilbert’s writings on poetry, art, culture, and politics have appeared in a variety of publications, as have his poems. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Noah Eli Gordon

George Albon | Brief Capital of Disturbances | Omnidawn, 2003 | $12.95 | 94pp

Beth Anderson | Overboard | Burning Deck, 2004 | $10 | 78pp

Eric Baus | The To Sound | Verse Press, 2004 | $12 | 80pp

Fran Carlen | I Know Where I’m Going | Adventures in Poetry, 2003 | $12.59 | 117pp

Kevin Davies | Lateral Argument | Barretta Books, 2003 | unpaginated

John Godfrey | Private Lemonade | Adventures in Poetry, 2003 | $12.50 | 100pp

Tan Lin | BlipSoak01 | Atelos, 2003 | $12.95 | 327pp

Christopher Nealon | The Joyous Age | Black Square Editions, 2004 | $13 | 69pp

Hoa Nguyen | Your Ancient See Through | Subpress, 2002 | $12 | 111 pp | illustrations by Philip Trussell

Catherine Wagner | Macular Hole | Fence Books, 2004 | $12 | 64pp

Elizabeth Willis | Turneresque | Burning Deck, 2003 | $10 | 95pp

• • •

I decided it’d be interesting to construct an Attention Span pseudo-cento in place of any brief commentary. The following sentences, taken verbatim (although many were written in verse & didn’t originally have periods marking the sentence’s end) from the 11 books on my list—two sentences from each, are deployed alphabetically, according to the last name of the author, mirroring the progression of the list itself; however, each author is given one sentence until the list repeats its cycle.

A strange, small bird-sound from outside: a clucking rasp, only sounded when your attention has returned to where it was before. Obsession with the recovery of what has been taken from you manifests itself as an excess of sleep. I’m afraid you’ll have to build another machine to explain yourself. The delicate link to silence, luminous redemption, adieu then, curtain slit, kimono sleeve. You might be familiar with the old atlas I’m shaking in your face to keep both of us cool. It goes in one ear and stays put. This aspect and its watercolor. These are qualities of mind we like to call emotion. My Luden’s cough drop sunrise. The reward for buying is the bought thing. Who would not leave the mess for the illumination, the culture for the poem? Labor replaced by simple days, simple days by labor. I am not a hero, and I expect the assassin this evening. I am writing to you from the most public library in the world. It is raining and one part of the population tries to annihilate another. The weather is something you notice. It should be one of us. Needles of pink smoke jet from a vent high in the wall. Am I the sexiest person in the building? We wisely keep these thoughts to ourselves. Trying to walk out of there. Why risk warmth?

Noah Eli Gordon is the author of the book-length poem The Frequencies (Tougher Disguises, 2003) and a collection of three long poems The Area of Sound Called the Subtone (Ahsahta, forthcoming). He lives in Northampton, MA, where he publishes the Braincase chapbooks series.

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Kevin Killian

Terrence Chiusano | On generation and corruption | Buffalo: handwritten Press, 2004

Unbound, the pages of Chiusano’s first significant publication take a stand and argue for systems of increasing lexical and syntactical complexity, while retaining the down-home flavor of good old Long Island tack. He is almost frighteningly good, but if you stand too close you get sucked in like those glass houses filled with Venus flytraps.

Garin Cycholl | Blue Mound to 161 | Pavement Saw Press | PO Box 6291, Columbis, OH 43206

I don’t usually care for this kind of poetry, but the exception proves the rule. Cycholl takes a few square miles of territory (in Illinois) and watches it up and down the 20th Century as it mutates on some kind of Wisconsin death trip. The dark and bloody crossroads where US writing and politics are often said to meet has a new signpost that says, "This stretch of highway adopted by Garin Cycholl." If there are any questions about this national nightmare, feel free to call him at any time.

Buck Downs | Golden Taters | Box 53318, WDC 20009

As a tribute to Jonathan Williams’ poetics, it’s an unusual tribute from one generation to an older, on a regional basis, in multiple fonts and multiple eras of US Southern history. "Throw the first fish back / hold me that hash bucket / I can still smell your ass in my hair." It’s raunchy as all get out.

K. Lorraine Graham | Terminal Humming | Slack Buddha Press | 50 Garrison Avenue | Somerville, MA 02144

I have seen Graham’s work compared to that of the late Kathy Acker, she’s got something of Acker’s sexual frankness, voracious intake, the sense that anything can come into the writing, but even if she isn’t, you know, Kathy Acker she’s got something that Acker never had. I can’t really characterize it right now, but I’m a sucker for Graham’s writing and this is the best example of it I can name.

Paolo Javier | The Time at the End of this Writing | Tokyo/Toronto: Ahadada Books, 2004

Though he aposteothizes himself as a kind of freee zone of writing between the large islands of Jose Garcia Villa and Ted Berrigan, Javier’s best poetry is all about youth and its relentless extremism. Thus there’s a poem which takes off from the different names by which he is known to many people--the mirror effect of Lacan writ large. I could read this forever and hope someday to meet the lad.

Murat Nemet-Nejat | EDA: An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry | Jersey City: Talisman House, 2004

This is a big book I’ll be poring through for ages, because it brings to me a number of areas I know nothing of, via the generosity of editor Murat and publisher Ed Foster. I riffle the pages of this big book and the air of the Sufi blows back at me. There’s a feeling of utter strangeness not being familiar with any of the names. Murat’s introductory matter proposes a mystical reading of poetry, a gathering of a band of readers that itself flirts with the mystic. I’m all ears.

Barry Schwabsky and Hong Seung-Hye | Ways | Meritage Press | $12 | ISBN 89-950473-2-1 03650

If possible, WAYS looks even more elegant than when Dodie and I published its text in our zine, "Mirage #4/Period[ical.]" The combination of Schwabsky’s sparkle and shine with Hong Seung-Hye’s jokey, Lego-block drawings is a potent one.

• • • 

And then there are our four new Krupskaya books which appear almost any minute now. One is by Rob Halpern, called "Rumored Place," the first book of a young poet and student in the "HIS-CON" program at UC Santa Cruz. For a long time I’ve been wanting to see a whole book by Halpern, and it’s great to actually be part of the publishing collective that’s doing one. He is one of the bright lights who has been brokering the marriage of high theory, New Narrative, and Genet-like French symbolism. And everything is about situationalism to the extent that the term includes the site. Or mattress in Rob’s case.

Another book we are doing is called TRAMA by Kim Rosenfield. Rosenfield has a whole battery of different styles that she wields effortlessly, like Willlow Rosenberg her spells and charms, and she can interweave them within a singlle paragraph. TRAMA to me is a brief, poetic, even picaresque novel about a young child and also an epic history of a world shimmering under blue smoke of crisis. Rosenfield’s writing is hypnotic, puts you under.soul.

Deborah Meadows’ book is called ITINERANT MEN. Meadows, who lives in the Southland, has been turning various chapters of Moby Dick into the purest kind of Pan-American verse, and this book contains the largest selection of them yet. I saw her read at a reading at Antioch in Marina del Ray and haven’t gotten it out of my head still, this voyage between the oceans.

We fantasize that in decades to come, poetic historians will look back at this time and dub it the Age of Rodrigo Toscano, and they will be reading TO LEVELING SWERVE as one of the signal texts of this era. And then and only then will our poetic prognostications be fully justified, but in the meantime we feel sure that Toscano’s great gifts have never been more beautifully brought to fruit, and we have the book that we call, in the loving shorthand of fans, "TLS."

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Aaron Kunin

Beth Anderson | Overboard | Burning Deck, 2004

Brian Blanchfield | Not Even Then | California, 2004

Kevin Davies | Lateral Argument | Barretta, 2003

Frances Ferguson | Pornography, The Theory | Chicago, 2004

Graham Foust | As In Every Deafness | Flood, 2003

Lisa Jarnot | Ring of Fire | Second edition | Salt, 2003

Madeleine de Scudery | Trans. Karen Newman | The Story of Sapho | Chicago, 2003

Marjorie Welish | Word Group | Coffee House, 2004

• • •

Also, some older books: W.S. Gilbert, The Bab Ballads; Henry James, The Wings of the Dove; T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets; and a lot of Jack Spicer.

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John Latta

A contribution arrived at (with the imposed limit of eleven) with some difficulty—after weighing several strategies of "balance" (wild churning considerations of gender, generation, trade versus small press, praises unsung versus lauds oversung, jeez Louise . . .). I pretty much quit the gob-smackin’ and look’d around the room: what (for the most part) seem’d the flotsam bobbing to surface in the sea of books got the nod. One I was unhappy to leave out: Jordan Davis’s Million Poems Journal (really, the whole project—I’m not entirely convinced that the best Davis poems here end’d up under the Faux Press imprint). Another nod should go to Dale Smith’s tremendous Black Stone project—seventy prose ditties to help a new son into the world—that he recently finish’d, all post’d at Possum Pouch.

So, alphabetically (whatever caches the fancy footwork of preference, and makes all equal in the eyes of jeez Louise):

August Kleinzahler | The Strange Hours Travelers Keep | FSG, 2003

Christopher Edgar | At Port Royal | Adventures in Poetry, 2003

Graham Foust | As In Every Deafness | Flood, 2003

Joyelle McSweeney | The Red Bird | Fence, 2002

Lee Ann Brown | The Sleep That Changed Everything | Wesleyan University Press, 2003

Lisa Jarnot | Black Dog Songs | Flood, 2003

Lyn Hejinian | The Fatalist | Omnidawn, 2003

Merrill Gilfillan | The Seasons | Adventures in Poetry, 2002

Susan Howe | The Midnight | New Directions, 2003

Ted Pearson | Songs Aside: 1992-2002 | Past Tents Press, 2003

Tony Tost | Invisible Bride | Louisiana State University Press, 2004

A few notes: though most of these I think I spoke about at th’Hotel sometime or other in the last several months . . .

Fought down a temptation to put some other Hejinian books to the list: The Beginner (Tuumba, 2002), Slowly (Tuumba, 2002), and My Life in the Nineties (Shark, 2003) could all arguably be present—Hejinian is just now writing her finest work, fluid, all-encompassing, having "natural" (oh dear) grace.

The newest discovery here is the Pearson (and he’s apparently almost a homeboy, living nearby in Detroit)—the book is four sequences, each in number’d sections of eight short lines (four couplets) with impeccable attention to sound. I go mindful of the Harryette Mullen of Muse and Drudge reading him. Pick’d at random (from "Acoustic Masks"):

Or (from "Hard Science"):

The Red Bird appeals to something like my vestigial love of "surrealism" (or something like it, thank you, Georg Trackl), one that seems "natural," not over-stretching, not "dream-work," not research’d, more like th’eyes of a curious 19th c. naturalist stuck into the ratty consumerist 21st c. Notebook in hand. "The bobcat poses in a tripod of rifles." I like the humor, especially the humor; also the mischief, mystery and mess of it all.

The Midnight: I keep wanting to fault Howe for something like "unavoidable and leaking Brahminism" (a charge that could be level’d at innumerable men and women "of letters" in these historical States). Something faintly precious in th’infatuation with colonial history, and "things"—"dimity," for Chrissake:

1775 landscape America
blindstitched to French
edge silk damask cover
Silhouette of Gothic city
soaring bird needlework
Quiet under false scant
lonely ecstatic incessant
white on white coverlet

Then I relent, "took" by my language affliction, its variables and vagaries (and "dimity" is a lovely word, just as "wade" below enlarges my world . . .):

Sweet affliction, sweet affliction
Singing as I wade to heaven


Is the cloven rock misled
Does morning lie what prize
What pine tree wildeyed boy

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Peter Middleton

Bruce Andrews | Lip Service | Coach House Press, 2001

Read this in bursts for the startling sense of a documentary of the contemporary sexed up libido, fear and grappling in the urban world where epigrams are to cultural capital what xeroxed money is to a hedge fund.

Andrea Brady | Vacation of a Lifetime | Salt, 2001

Parataxis struggles with clever stanzaic architecture, deadpan linebreaks, dialectical intelligence, an exilic consciousness of America.

Ken Edwards | Eight + Six | Reality Street Editions, 2003

If only we believed in our English sarcasm, say the poems, trying to meet the times with bluster and wit, then admitting a fragility, conscious of the other poets who "presuppose no need / for emotional closure."

Allen Fisher | Ring Shout | Equipage, 2000

Another episode of the cosmological epic in which our protagonist tries the Hay diet and the "prepared trampoline" of science. Despite saying at the end that "ecodamage reifies poetic strain" the dry tallying of genetics, SAS activities, and undergrowth brilliantly conveys the sheer scale and many-sourced high street of everyday experience.

Lyn Hejinian | Happily | Post-Apollo Press, 2000

I love post-Romantic autobiography, and this brief cross-Stein-dressing keeps it dawning. Retro-introspective questioning reflects into generalisations of personal dilemma in a rare because truly free verse line.

Fanny Howe | Gone | University of California Press, 2003

Surprising syntax, as in the poem about the Brontes, "Angria". The gap between aspirant self-image and the actual "poetic stitch", the shoulds and I don't means. You can trust her to tell you.

Myung Mi Kim | Commons | University of California Press, 2002

Understated, encylopedic history of war in South East Asia, never polemical or sensational, wise after the long aftershocks of destruction.

J. H. Prynne | Furtherance | The Figures, 2004

Four books seen before in pamphlets from a poet I am always rereading. They read better in this format. Unanswering Rational Shore has the Mephistophelean voice offering consumer blandishments and anaesthetic moralities that taunts the later work, as well as a newer tone of chipper brightness in the pediment story of Triodes.

Tom Raworth | Collected Poems | Carcanet, 2003

Several British poets are long overdue for a collected, just so we can see the line of working. This ugly volume has none of the visual, tactile pleasures of the variegated books, but the words still offer endless delight at the comic cuts, narrative wierdos, exposed textuality androids, words that surely don't.

Peter Riley | Excavations | Reality Street, 2004

Prose poetry. Further reading may amend reactions, have only read the first part of the new book, Distant Points, published earlier. A series of meditations based on the re-inhumation of the texts of archeological reports on British grave sites. Evokes the curiously English melancholic interest in landscape.

Lissa Wolsak | Pen Chants or nth or 12 spirit-like impermanences | Roof
Books, 2000

Immensities, traces of landscape, travel, undiscovered terms. Deft sonics, fake sublime.

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Chris Murray

This list is from my home worktable where I write and post to my blog, texfiles. It is my habit to keep a lot of books in play simultaneously, going over something in one, then turning to another, and so forth – even to the point of reading while I walk on campus, which is one way to remain sanely ignorant of how (in many ways), for many and much of Texas, there is no question that the earth is flat.

Some of these books are new to me, while some I am happily rereading. While a given deck like this is reshuffled often, I only completely replace it about three times a year--due again in September. Also included here from the texts themselves are a few words I have found particularly resonant as I read and cross-read, or in the case of the Ana de Orbegoso entry, a book of photography, I offer a description with commentary. Where authors have inscribed special notes to me, I offer these in the italics after the publication information. There are longer considerations of many of these books on my blog.

Ana de Orbegoso | directo al CORAZON | Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano, 2001

—photography, black/white, all on the figure of the heart, which is artfully/comically, semiotically, (totally) rent and rendered. As if linguistically literal and unflinchingly material. Though in terms of what and how art works, this also suggests that rhetorical functioning necessarily stems from connections via fabrication and/or narrative, to a large extent—otherwise there is no comic/joke to get in this artwork. Best example?—the clichéd compound word for a beloved, "Sweetheart" (in Spanish: corazoncito de azucar) is represented here by the depiction of an animal’s fat-encrusted heart, which has also been sprinkled to encrustation with sugar. Thus, atop it now is a sprinkling of dead fly-bodies. Live flies are also busily walking across and around this monumentalized and apparently demobilized, abject heart. Thus it is that (now post-romanticized, and post-romantic:) Life (flies and/or) Goes On. Semiotically, this is a very economical art-system.

Linh Dinh | Blood and Soap | Seven Stories, 2004 | To Chris! LD

—"In darkness, semiconscious and cursing, we try to brush these ants onto the floor, or kill them by crushing them against our cheeks. The ants retaliate by biting us. By the time a lamp can be turned on, however, all of the ants are gone." (81)

Ravi Shankar | Instrumentality | Cherry Grove, 2004

—"Better to lay eyeglasses at Hephaestus’ forge as alms for the prosthetics/ Which grant our bodies metaphors for itself. Because before the invention/ of the pump, there was one less way to understand the human heart." (37)

Barry Schwabsky and Hong Seung–Hye | Ways | Artsonje Center and Meritage Press, 2004

—"Mrs. Blue Skies-translationese/ for music pushed through blown/ speakers. Slow burning when I do you/ this ode to distraction, invisible/ and certified real as the day." (np)

Jill Jones | Struggle and Radiance | Ireland, Wild Honey Press, 2004 | For Chris: Some Australian words out of Eire heading to Texas... --JJ

"A star falls/ past your window/ into the alley./ And nothing else?" (17)

Dale Smith | My Vote Counts | Effing, 2004 | To Chris: Vote Goat!

—Buy a goat instead of a vote. Milk it. ... I will vote for my irrelevance. Me and my goat. Hunting birds, we shall wander a wilderness darkened by growth of ten-thousand year old trees. We shall walk antique gardens. Burrow in soiled grottoes... " (npp)

Chus Pato | from m-Tala | Tr. Erin Moure | Nomados, 2003

—"... she knew of the body’s destruction by the unbearable weight of the passion of God, by the word/ —that passion led her to an unrelenting desire for disappearance, in the cerebral circumlocution of time. And so the forest closed upon itself. That’s how the script of the Yawist Bathsheba relates the real meaning of ‘opening toward light’ or genesis. In the tomb of Cordelia... Long live Grimm!" (26)

Hoa Nguyen | Your Ancient See Through | Subpress, 2002| Artwork by Phillip Trussell | To Chris, O joy’s selfish traveling—HN

—"You have your ancient see through/ ways Stars sustain their axis/ Orion listing like gallows/ for my creepy life the pieces/ of our ascending selves/ Olmecs/ (save for a few stone faces)/ erased in the ‘50’s by an oil company..." (77)

Steve Tills | Rugh Stuff | ms | Theenk Books, due out Fall, 2004

— "Position, Cure thySelf!/ Sing in a Barrel/ Wing it through the tunnel/ of Carpe Diem Syndrome/ these dings/ in the marrow." (97)

K. Silem Mohammad | Deer Head Nation | Tougher Disguises, 2003 | For Chirs—I mean Chris! in Carrboro, NC, 6/04-- Love, Kasey [note: I sometimes typo my own name as Chirs, and Kasey has seen that in email, thus his kindly joke in this inscription.--cm]

— "the riot grrl kicked the goat’s ass/ for something as meaningless/ as a crow being present/ ‘it was just sleeping’/ thousands of free essays/ crash into the back of me" (15)

Murat Nemet-Nejat, ed. | Eda : An Anthology of Contemporary Turkish Poetry | Talisman, 2004

—"In the insanity of turtles/ i am the owner of useless arguments/ i strolled along the shore for days."—Sami Baydar (276)

Shanna Compton & Shafer Hall | Big Confetti | Half Empty/Half Full, 2004 | Dear Chris: Enjoy!! --SC

—"Here I sit, with you on the other side of the window, out on the street, out window shopping, looking in at the dough kneaders and the mannequins in turbans and the lip-reading teachers like myself. I’m saying something to you; only you don’t know what it is, because you haven’t taken my class yet." (24)

Tom Beckett | Vanishing Points of Resemblance | Generator Press, 2004

—"Metaphor sucks the life out of things. It is the basis for communication." (np)

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John Palattella

Kenneth Burke | Counter-statement | Harcourt, 1931

Basil Bunting | Complete Poems | New Directions, 2003

Jeff Clark | Music and Suicide | Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004

Yves di Manno | <<endquote>>: digressions, 1989-1998 | Flammarion, 1999

Kenneth Fearing | Selected Poems | Library of America, 2004

Peter Gizzi | Some Values of Landscape and Weather | Wesleyan, 2003

Susan Howe | The Midnight | New Directions, 2003

Sandra Moussempès | Vestiges de fillette | Flammarion, 1997

Lorine Niedecker | Collected Works | California, 2002

George Oppen | New Collected Poems | New Directions, 2002

Gilbert Sorrentino | Something Said: Essays | North Point Press, 1984

John Palattella writes about poetry for The Nation and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Marjorie Perloff

Anne-Marie Albiach | Figurations de l'image | Paris: Flammarion, 2004
Charles Bernstein (libretto) and Brian Ferneyhough (music) | Shadowtime (opera), CD | forthcoming, see Buffalo website

Clive Bush | Pictures after Poussin | Illustrated by Allen Fisher | Hereford, England: Spanner Press, 2004

John Kinsella | Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems | New York: Norton, 2004

Karen Mac Cormack | Implexures | Tucson: Chax Press, 2003

Douglas Messerli | First Words | Los Angeles: Green Integer, 2004

Dimitri Prigov | Fifty Drops of Blood | Trans. Christopher Mattison | Ugly Duckling, 2004 | distributed SPD

Lev Rubinstein | Catalogue of Comedic Novelties | Trans. Philip Metres and Tatiana Tulchinsky | Ugly Duckling, 2004 | distributed SPD

Gerhard Rühm | I My Feet: Poems and Constellations | Trans. Rosmarie Waldrop.  Providence, Burning Deck, 2004

Susan M. Schultz | And then Something Happened | Cambridge, Salt, 2004

Susan Stewart | Columbarium | Chicago: University of Chicago Press | Phoenix Poets, 2003

Note: I don't usually list books in languages other than English or translations but Waldrop's Ruhm is outstanding as are Philip Metres and Tatiana Tulchinsky's renderings of Rubinstein and Christopher Mattison's Prigov.  Anne-Maria Albiach's book is her first in over a decade and thus must be cited.

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David Perry

Eric Baus | The To Sound | Verse, 2003 | and Something Else the Music Was | chapbook ms., forthcoming from Braincase

Peter Culley | Hammertown | New Star, 2003

Jean Day | Linear C & "The I and the You" | PDF, /ubu Editions, 2004

John Godfrey | Private Lemonade | Adventures in Poetry, 2003

Noah Eli Gordon | Jaywalking the Is | chapbook, Margin to Margin, 2004 | and The Frequencies | Tougher Disguises, 2003

Lyn Hejinian | The Fatalist | Omnidawn, 2003

Andrew Joron | Fathom | Black Square Editions | 2003

Aaron Kunin | The Mandarin | unpublished ms.| and The Mauberly Series | PDF, /ubu Editions, 2004

George Stanley | A Tall, Serious Girl | Qua, 2003

Rosmarie Waldrop | Love, Like Pronouns | Omnidawn, 2003

Jacqueline Waters | The Garden of Eden a College | chapbook ms., forthcoming from A Rest Press

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Meredith Quartermain

Richard Caddel | Magpie Words: Selected Poems 1970-2000 | West House, 2002

The territory of language as bird-cry, language as vulnerable, exact instrument, that, taken with all the other cries of living creatures, presents an unclosable eruption, rather than an explanation, is the territory of Caddel's poetics.  His work reflects an acute awareness of both music and  plants and animals, particularly birds. Caddel learned much from Olson, Creeley, Bunting, Zukofsky, Pound and Williams, but grew far beyond the formal possibilities opened to him by these poets, developing a highly inventive compositional strategy based on musical forms (he played viola and studied music at university). In this he brings to mind the Canadian poet Fred Wah's Music At the Heart of Thinking.

Richard Caddel | Writing in the Dark | West House, 2003

In facing his own death as he had done in facing his son's, Caddel triangulated, with the voices of others, in particular Robert Duncan's last work: Ground Work II: In the Dark: "The imagination alone knows this condition."  What emerged was a series of compact riveting condensations—some of the finest of his work. He confronts death head-on with humour, rage, charm, love, political savvy and, above all, song.

Gail Scott | My Paris | Dalkey Archive, 2003

This novel/prose poem series records Scott's sojourn in Paris in which, inspired by Benjamin's Arcades Projects, she examines her actual Paris and the ideas of Paris that haunt it. The book is full of delightful ironic cross-cuts between cafes, parties, encounters with the forbidding concierge, French television, food, Gertrude Stein, Baudelaire, and anecdotes of eccentric friends. We discover here the "floating state" of being in Paris, along with the floating states of Canada and France, a state which is created formally and brilliantly in prose that proceeds entirely in conditional fragments and phrases.

 Annharte | Exercises in Lip Pointing| New Star, 2003

Containing three collections—"Memory Fishes," "Red Noise" and Coyotrix Recollects"—this work opens with dissembling simplicity followed by a swift left punch.  Annharte challenges Canadian cultural syntax with Red Noise as opposed to White Noise.

Robert Walser | Selected Stories | Farrar, 1982 | Trans. Christopher Middleton; Forward Susan Sontag

Walser is a favorite of philosopher Giorgio Agamben. He's somewhere between Stevie Smith and Beckett and somewhere between Kafka and Robert Musil, both of whom admired his work. 

Robert Walser | The Robber | U of Nebraska, 2000 | Trans. Susan Bernofsky

Fabulous, quirky, intensely thoughtful, poetic novel, where the narrator keeps stealing the show in the most bizarre, amazing and amusing ways.

Lisa Robertson| Rousseau's Boat | Nomados, 2004

Rousseau describes this book better than I ever could: "The ebb and flow of this water, its ongoing sound swelling with vibration that set adrift my outer senses, rhythmically took the place of the strong emotions my dreaminess had calmed, and I felt in myself so pleasurably and effortlessly the sensation of existing, without troubling to think."

Peter Culley| Hammertown | New Star, 2003

No word in this book is taken for granted, slid over, or smoothed into easy-to-swallow spoons. Which is to say Culley makes the awesome machinery conducting language and perception and any attempt at human communication visible for our contemplation. A skillful weaver of many idioms (art criticism, economics, pop music), Culley makes words spark and implode in the shifting landscapes of competing ideologies which the heart must navigate.

Francis Ponge | The Power of Language | U of California, 1979| Trans. Serge Gavronsky

Ponge is one of those marvelous, stubborn, quirky, ironic minds that is a pleasure to live with. 

Francis Ponge | Selected Poems | Wake Forest UP, 2000 (1994)| trans CK Williams, John Montague, Margaret Guiton

Ponge works in prose forms.  He may say he is writing about pebbles or seashells, but you quickly find that he is writing about writing and about humanity.

Rainer Maria Rilke| The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge | Random House, 1983; Vintage, 1990| trans. Stephen Mitchell

Again, I was drawn to this prose work because of its formal hybridity, its connection to poetry. It is a series of vignettes, but also a meditation on death.

Meredith Quartermain's next book of poems, Vancouver Walking, will be
published by NeWest Press in Spring 2005.

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Lisa Robertson

Peter Culley | Hammertown | New Star Books, 2003

Christine Stewart | Taxonomy | West House Books, 2003

Andrea Brady | Vacation of a Lifetime | Salt, 2001

Chus Pato | from M-Tala | Translation from Gallician, Erin Moure) | Nomados, 2003

Christophe Tarkos | Ma Langue est Poetique-- selected works | Edited by Stacy Doris and Chet Wiener | Roof Books, 2000

Tom Paulin | The Day-Star of Liberty: William Hazlitt's Radical Style | Faber, 1998

Arakawa and Gins | Architectural Body | U Alabama, 2003

Eleni Sikelianos | The Monster Lives of Girls and Boys | Green Integer, 2003

Ann Carson | Economy of the Unlost | Princeton UP, 1999

Renee Gladman | The Activist | Krupskaya, 2003

Aby Warburg | The Renewal of Pagan Antiquity | The Getty Research Institute, 1999

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Kaia Sand

I submit my list as a snapshot of reading highlights since January 2004…. Here goes:

Jules Boykoff | Philosophical Investigations in a Neo-Con Roots-Dub Styley | The Interrupting Cow, 2004

These poem-conversations between NeoCon "thinkers" and reggae artists, among others, compose a handbook for resisting the Age of the NeoCon. The chapbooks contain Jules’s Ronald Reagan art and are handmade artifacts by Cathy Eisenhower.

Allison Cobb | Born Two | Chax Press 2004

My reading and thinking are most recently informed by how place and space convulse with unframed history, so I’m especially intrigued by these poems that spring from the ColdWar, nuclear reality of Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Buck Downs | his postcard series

The mail deliverer blushes and smiles. So do I. Gladly.

Rob Fitterman | Metropolis XXX | Edge 2004

In this book, the internet provides content caught on pages and bound in its chatter—from chatrooms on Goth jewelry to promotional material on Christian-themed mini-golf parks. The unfamiliar and de-familiarized feel very familiar…

Heather Fuller | Primary Writing 7/03

This pamphlet poem doubles as a bureaucractic form Heather fills out during animal rescue in Virginia. These poems at once serve their practical purpose—she does record the necessary information —and present a kaleidoscope of imagery and words that shape that information with ethics and urgency.

Carol Mirakove | Occupied | Kelsey St. 2004

Bravo for this book with its fierce political engagement, tender turns, and incredibly useful and innovative glossary!

CE Putnam | Putnam Institute for Space Opera Research | link

Like Lisa Roberton’s "Office for Soft Architecture," PISOR is an "institute" that houses an author—in this case, Chris Putnam. I first started reading these zany sound and text projects in March, when Chris Putnam performed in Wash DC.

Joan Retallack | Poethical Wager | University of California Press

When, six years ago, I read a photocopied conversation between Joan Retallack and Quinta Slef, my sense of poetics took a radical shift. I’ve been eager for this book ever since (the book contains that interview), and I am reading it now, luxuriating in Joan Retallack’s rigorous thinking…

Lisa Robertson | Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture | Clear Cut Press

This book is the size of my hand. I carried it across country when we moved across the continent last month, often in my hand, sometimes in my bag, always with me. This is a book of the most lovely sentences.

Lorenzo Thomas | Dancing on Main Street | Coffee House Press 2004

Poems skidding across time and ideas, playing off and against idioms…

Kevin Varrone | g-point almanac 9.22-10.19 | duration e-book 16, 2004

This is the newest volume of Kevin V.’s big project, g-point almanac. It’s downloadable from duration, and full of Kevin’s most charming lines of lists and surprising moves from word to word or punctuation.

Kaia Sand is the author of Interval (Edge 2004). She co-edits the Tangent, and currently, briefly, lives in Portland, Oregon. She will soon live in Walla Walla Washington.

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Jennifer Scappettone

In random order, and leaving out what I thought would be well covered already as well as the bitter enchantment of Google News:

Lisa Robertson | The Weather | New Star Press, 2001

The battered paysage sees you back. In tandem with Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture, Clear Cut Press, 2003, reviewed for Tripwire. Inversely, in wading through some contemporary sources of the latter, I was overwhelmed by the flimsiness of third wave theory. Deleuze could not model us girls and neither will the likes of his critics (c.f. Zizek’s interpretation of the nursing Madonna & kid on The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity (MIT, 2003)).

Heriberto Yepez | | sporadically from late ‘03 through present | link

No-guar-gum prose.

Superstudio | Life Without Objects | 2003 catalog

Much anticipated show still respected the hide of these guys.

Pierre Alferi | OXO | Translated by Cole Swenson | Burning Deck, 2004

Solid too.

Sergio Bettini | Tempo e forma: Scritti 1935-1977 | Time and Form: Writings

Art historical segues put together by the publishing house out of Adriatic Marche called Quodlibet in 1997.

Alan Halsey and Kelvin Corcoran | Your Thinking Tracts or Nations | West House, 2001

Sandy, who still hitchhikes between Berkeley poetry readings and treehouse-type quarters in Mendocino, recommended this charming he said/he said set of drawings and poems. Out of the runes and diagrams gone awry Corcoran manages fairy prose with a guilt complex, which is a substantial achievement, since the signature of those tales is their lack thereof, or arrest within "the white zero of spring." C.f. also Halsey’s The Text of Shelley’s Death, same publisher same year.

Henry James | The Wings of the Dove | various, including Googleable online editions

Plowing through the hearttwisting syntax a third time was not nearly enough to get it.

CA Conrad & Magdalena Zurawski, eds. | Frequency Audio Journal | 2004 | link

Listen to some of these pieces and think who says the voice is dead?

IRWIN Group | Malevich Between Two Wars and other icons | 1980s-2003

Framed chatty speakers on charcoal ground are classics you can’t take in.

Yun-Fei Ji | The Empty City | scattered sites in 2004

"The figure of the constrained gives happiness because the force of constraint must not be forgotten; its images are a memento" (from Adorno's Aesthetic Theory, "Natural Beauty").

Louis Zukofsky | 80 Flowers

They live in mediation. Also "Anew," most pleasurably in chorus. Both books are in All and in Complete Short Poetry of Louis Zukofsky (Johns Hopkins, 1997).

Taylor Brady | Essay on the lyric coming up in Faux Press anthology of Bay Area poetics

Undersummarized thus far; from my April notes: "lyricism of empire" "proxy dust" "without authorizing cadence" "anything but return" "phatic gamble of the lyric" "is the recognition that I might not speak at all."

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Michael Scharf

The comments below are excerpts from Publishers Weekly's unsigned "Poetry Forecasts," or capsule reviews. A section of poetry reviews will again appear monthly beginning in September.

Adrienne Rich | The School Among the Ruins | Norton, 2004

"This confessional reeks of sweet anitseptic/ and besides she’s not confessing," writes Rich toward the end of this newest collection, the third person standing for her speaker, her self, the genre she is often tagged with (and the gender "confessional poetry" is itself tagged with) and the real stakes of speech for real detainees at various global locales—as well as religious hypocracy and a refusal to speak within its confining terms.... The result is Rich’s most powerful and engaging work since Your Native Land, Your Life (1986), and perhaps the most urgent book of her long career: "The desert isn’t vacancy or fear, it’s life, a million forms of witness. The fake road, its cruel deception, is what we have to abandon."

Carl Philips | The Rest of Love | Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2003

Phillips’s unmistakable, short-lined apostrophes, riddled with exhalative em-dashes and pulled-up-short interrogatives, perform the kind of personal control that, before The Tether, would have been a main component of domination, but has slowly modulated into conscious attempts at sharing one’s physical and psychic lives fully--or as fully as possible: "to what extent can this be said, and/ it be true? and/ it be false?/ Under what conditions?// Under whose conditions?".... And as with Phillips’s other recent work, while the poems do not form a series, they seem to provide multiple and overlapping accounts of the title’s excess (or its repose) without trying to define it.

Deborah Richards | Last One Out | subpress, 2003

From the Quarked-out textual imaginings of "The Beauty Projection" (where the so-called Hottentot Venus’s history and legacy gain voice) and "C’est L’Amour: That’s Love" (ditto the cinematic Carmen Jones), to the Tarzan-based deconstructions of Last One Out’s title poem, Deborah Richards, from Philadelphia by way of London, creates immediate, can’t-look-away present-tense synchronic slices of colonialism’s multiply dimensioned "interventions."

[To which I would add—"Parable" is my favorite poem in the book, and is best read I think in the Leroy chapbook edition, which gives its carefully-spaced prose the margins it requires.]

Jalal Toufic | Distracted (2nd Edition) | Tuumba, 2003

This year has already seen the publication of Toufic’s Undying Love, or Love Dies (Post Apollo), a book that among other things unforgettably re-writes various versions of the Orpheus myth, as well as the release of a "revised and expanded" version of (Vampires): An Uneasy Essay on the Undead in Film (also from Post Apollo), first published in 1993, and written for "mortals to death...." The book is... not so much about what happens when Raymond Roussel repeats a sentence but changes billard (pool table) to pillard (plunderer), or about theories of the effects of "surpassing disaster" on cultures (including Jewish and Shi’ite) and literatures, or about reactions to how love, drunkenness and distraction are rendered by (and in) the deeply interconnected media of memory, film and language. Rather, the book records a kind of double or even multiple experience of these things (what Toufic elsewhere calls an "over-turn"), with eternal recurrence and total dissolution as its horizons.

Laura Elrick | sKincerity | Krupskaya, 2003

"How big/ is now" asks the provisional subject position constructed in Laura Elrick’s brilliantly historico-rhetorical sKincerity. These nine "jerk the beat" open-field disputings of canned sociopolitical particulars push the limits of discursive and body-based action; readers become more than "fixtures/ for composition," and begin to—productively—"altercate."

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge | Nest | Kelsey Street, 2003

"In the classic Empathy (1989), Berssenbrugge made inquiries into the ways sentences constitute perceptions and form the boundaries of worlds by sculpting them into impossibly long-lined verses. Four Year Old Girl (1998) marked a shift to hemistitch-like lines where each sentence stands by itself, seeming to accrue as thought and perceptions do. Nest further refines that style into an almost diaristic directness and descriptive bluntness: one poem begins "We’re in New Mexico," while another opens "The photograph is handsome of the young man," and a third "I’m so pleased to be friends with Maryanne, though I don’t understand how she has time for me, with her many friends." These intentionally scaled-down beginnings develop, with demanding elegance and unerring pace, into scenes where the speaker seems to quietly reflect those around her, as in Chantal Akerman’s film Les Rendez-Vous d’Anna. And as in that film, the maintenance of such spaces seems to require a lot of leisure, as the speaker repeatedly takes "all morning to lounge in bed, talk on the phone, read the paper," while deliveries of flowers arrive, last night’s parties are picked over, and "a jade ring is endowed with depth with stories of Grandmother’s connoisseurship." Yet it is not languor or money that give this book depth, but rather their teller’s ease in turning them around with statements like "I... accept my old relative whose memories are sentimental and impure" or "A sense of deferral has been added to this weave of naivete, humor, fragility, but our relation has, in fact, ended." Anyone who has a family or friends will relate.

Michael Gottlieb | Lost and Found | Roof, 2003

"The Dust" is a list poem, one that tallies, in trade catalogue language ("Interior Concepts workstation T-base for non-raceway panels"), some of the things that got compacted when the World Trade Center towers fell. When Gottlieb finally, and with extreme care, transitions from products to people’s names, the juxtaposition of financial, bureaucratic and personal losses seems to make the ground fall out from under everyday life. The poem is sad, frightening and extraordinary, and while it honors the dead, it also refuses to separate them from the things with which they lived.... This is a brave book, one that records enormous loss, but refuses to look away from events that continue to unfold.

Peter Culley | Hammertown | New Star, 2003

Vancouver and its environs have produced an obscene number of superb poets now mostly in their 40s; with this book, his first in 10 years, Culley’s unique, seamlessly constructivist lyric comes to the fore.... Traveling far beyond their fictional base and collecting aural and visual source material ("Sepia splash along a margin"), the poems produce a provisionally connectivity, yet edit out all lapses of attention; the speaker’s sets of perceptions are cut together in the manner of a film editor or DJ. "House is a Feeling" brilliantly puns on felicitous domestic arrangements and music measured in beats per minute.... Culley’s multiply reflective sonics, winningly quixotic references (one poem prints "the tattooed maxims of Philip Whalen" beside "the heaving crystallographies/ of Wanda Landowska") and unerringly pitched descriptions forge a poetic that is as unshakably materialist and understatedly hopeful as it is sharply beautiful.

Rae Armantrout | Up To Speed | Wesleyan, 2003

...contains, particularly in the poems that end the book, the most dazzling meditations on time and space of this century.

Semezdin Mehmedinovic | Nine Alexandrias [trans. by Ammiel Alcalay] | City Lights, 2003

The title series of short lyrics opens, imagining "at least nine cities in America called Alexandria" (Mehmedinovic’s is the one outside of Washington D.C. in Virginia) and how one might "mov[e] from one/ American Alexandria to another,/ On the same Egyptian dock" as the poet and poems cross the country. The terrific "This Door Is Not an Exit," written in slowed-down, sometimes fragmentary couplets, reflects on exile in the aftermath of violence, death and continued political insolubility: "I am, in fact, where you are, to make/ your weariness inspire meaning." The final sequence, "8 Things About Cadillac," takes in everything from the ironies of a luxury car named for a destroyed people (and that now drives over their land), to the fact that "The longest lasting Cadillac in memory/ Is the one JFK is dying in."

Renee Gladman | The Activist | Krupskaya, 2003

By turns noirish first-person memoir and journalistic satire, The Activist depicts the goings on of a cell or affinity group that may or may not have blown up a bridge that may or may not have existed. Descriptions are inflected such that the names of characters (Lomarlo, Monique), their relations to each other (often same sex) and the way they talk ("This our downtown"; the title itself may be in the plural) put pressure on categories of race, gender and sexual orientation. The group may also have developed technology for emptying the memories of subjects, and controlling them Matrix-style, and their prevarications have a Godardian intellectualized haplessness. Yet the memory technology sets up the most powerful of the book’s 10 sections, "The State," where it is unclear if the first-person narrator is being held by the government or by the activists, for what reason and to what purpose. The book works best as one of the first full-length mirrors held to the post 9/11 U.S.; in its targeting and rhetoric, it is something less than allegorical, more than a little chilling, and often very beautiful.

Drew Gardner | Sugar Pill | Krupskaya, 2002

"Missile silos implode in North Dakota/ copping the absence/ as I shrunk back in horror at the use I was making of my intelligence..." writes Gardner in "Black Atlantic Sky," one of 12 perfectly calibrated, mostly monostichic poems in Sugar Pill. The editor of Snare magazine and a percussionist who has collaborated frequently with other poets, Gardner is concerned with keeping time of all sorts here: "Homeostasis" finds "body systems regulated within normal bounds/ tethered seven shrimp to a platform"; "The Manufacturers" know that "each muscle fiber can support 1000x its own weight/ set up to maintain systems of feeling/ whether we are included with our descendants" or not; the title panacea charts "footprints of darkening work/ we cannot fall out of." Readers will not want to fall out of this one.

[To which I would add: Gardner's new work goes even further toward incorporating consc. and unconscious bad algorithms into linear Sardonic Structures (see Chomsky, 1956) — gets extremely close to historicized syllogisms of self- and outer deception (check the Keats/Cortez shout out) — and not only articulates them in this space-generating way — but shows a method of bloodlessly powering them down that I think is some kind of future poetry, and an active articulation. It is at this level, where discourse prepares the ground for death (in ways that are updated daily), that poetry can still operate. Gardner’s work seeks to disclose, unmask and make intelligible the spoonful-of-sugar procedure by which the entire process is generally rendered painless for a certain percentage of the world, and to slo-mo the psychic transactions that provide the cover by which it can happen. In presenting what Arendt called "the banality of evil," or the making of TIME into TIMETABLES, Gardner refuses to heighten the materials with which he comes into contact. Fragmentary increments turn into reflectively teleological puzzle pieces that spell out, as Gardner’s "Student Studies" note, "how isolated/ in experience and history / anyone is."]

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Jerrold Shiroma

Pierre Alferi | OXO | Burning Deck, 2004

Peter Gizzi | Some Values of Landscape & Weather | Wesleyan, 2003

Lisa Jarnot | Black Dog Songs | Flood Editions, 2003

Mark McMorris | The Blaze of the Poui | U. of Georgia, 2003

Semezdin Mehmedinovic | Nine Alexandrias | City Lights, 2003

Jerome Rothenberg | Writing Through | Wesleyan, 2004

Marjane Satrapi | Persepolis | Pantheon Books, 2003

Jean Sénac | Oeuvres Poétiques | Actes Sud, 1986

Cole Swensen | Goest | Alice James, 2004

Keith Waldrop | The House Seen from Nowhere | Litmus Press, 2003

Rosmarie Waldrop | Love Like Pronouns | Omnidawn, 2003

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Rick Snyder

Giorgio Agamben | The Open: Man and Animal | Trans. by Kevin Attell | Stanford UP, 2004

In this reduction and expansion of his examination of the zoe/bios distinction in Homo Sacer, our suave scholiast sketches the development of the "anthropological machine" that allows "man" to distinguish himself from other beasts. Gorgeous and provocative, as always. Perfect beach reading.

Noelle Kocot | The Raving Fortune | Four Way Books, 2004

Colloquial, intense and visionary, a brilliant collection with more influences than antecedents.

Sin Puertas Visibles: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry by Mexican Women | Ed. and trans. by Jen Hofer | Pittsburgh UP, 2003

Finely translated, extensive selections of a number of talented poets working in a variety of modes. A generous introduction to a wealth of progressive writing.

George Oppen | New Collected Poems | ed. by Michael Davidson | New Directions, 2002

Still some of the most relevant and vital work I know. I’m never really comfortable with the inclusion of unpublished work in a posthumous collected, but Davidson’s insightful introduction, the re-setting of the Discrete Series, and long-overdue addition of Primitive make this book a necessity.

Peter Culley | Hammertown | New Star Books, 2003

Marked by an overwhelming sense of place, as beautiful and uncanny as Bunting.

Lev Rubinstein | Catalogue of Comedic Novelties | Trans. by Philip Metres and Tatiana Tulchinsky | Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004

Wry and circular, a wonderful gift from Russia, with love via Brooklyn.

Ingeborg Bachmann | Letters to Felician | Trans. by Damion Searls | Green Integer, 2004

Devastatingly romantic letters to a lover who resides in the young writer’s psyche.

Circumference | Vol. 1, Issue 1 | Ed. by Stefania Heim and Jennifer Kronovet | 2003

It’s actually hard to comprehend the scope and quality of this journal. The typesetting alone is an amazing feat, and the poetry is even better.

Ted Greenwald | Common Sense | L Publications, 1978

I traded my rent-stabilized apartment in Brooklyn for a copy of this book, and I think I got a bargain.

Graham Foust | As in Every Deafness | Flood, 2003

Spare as early Creeley and sad as Trakl. It’s amazing that he pulls it off.

Sextus Propertius | The Complete Elegies of Sextus Propertius | Trans. by Vincent Katz | Princeton UP, 2004

Katz’ admirable introduction and elegant translations display a fine understanding Propertius’ milieu and influences.

The Butthole Surfers | Brown Reason to Live and Live PCPPEP | Latino Bugger Veil, 1983-4/2003

A CD re-release of two albums that made an Indiana adolescence in the 80s less (or more) than suicidal. Highlights include the live version of "Bar-B-Q Pope," with Gibby’s improvised (or so I’ve always imagined) golf monologue via bullhorn, "A marvelous triple eagle on eleven."

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Eileen Tabios

Simon Smith | Reverdy Road | Salt Publishing, 2003

kari edwards | iduna | O Books, 2003

Barry Schwabsky and Hong Seung-Hye | [WAYS] | Meritage Press and Artsonje Center, 2004

James Meetze | Instrument & Amplifier | mss.

Spencer Reece | The Clerk | Mariner Original; Houghton Mifflin, 2004

Basil King | Mirage | Marsh Hawk Press, 2003

Jon Pineda | Birthmark | Southern Illinois University Press, 2004

Nick Carbo, ed. | Pinoy Poetics: A Collection of Autobiographical and Critical Essays on Filipino and Filipino American Poetics | Meritage Press, 2004 | More info here

Tom Beckett | Vanishing Points of Resemblance | Generator Press, 2004

Susan Schultz | No Guns, No Durian | Tinfish Press, 2003

David Larsen | Freaky If You Got This Far | Self-Published, 2004

Eileen Tabios plays with Poetry at her blog, The Chatelaine's Poetics.

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Tony Tost

The following recent books I've found especially compelling. I've left off books I've recently reviewed favorably, as well as books by folks with poems in Octopus; so in addition to those folks, I'm extremely grateful about the following:

Joseph Donahue | Incidental Eclipse | Talisman House

David Rosenberg | See What You Think: Essays for the Next Avant-Garde | Spuyten Duyvil

Aaron McCollough | Double Venus | Salt

Standard Schaefer | Nova | Sun & Moon

Murat Nemet-Nejat | The Peripheral Space of Photography | Green Integer

Will Oldham | Bonnie "Prince" Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music | Palace Records/Drag City

Janet Kauffman | Five on Fiction | Burning Deck

Pierre Alferi | Oxo | Translated by Cole Swensen | Burning Deck

Mark Wallace | Haze | Edge

K. Silem Mohammed | Hanging Out with Pablo & Jennifer | Duration

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Karen Volkman

John Tipton | Surfaces | Flood Editions, 2003

Rae Armantrout | Up to Speed | Wesleyan, 2004

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge | Nest | Kelsey Street, 2003

Elizabeth Willis | Turneresque | Burning Deck, 2003

William Gibson | Pattern Recognition | Berkeley Books, 2003

Richard Foreman | Paradise Hotel and Other Plays | Overlook, 2001

Bill Knott | Outremer | U of Iowa Press, 1989

Peter Gizzi | Some Values of Landscape and Weather | Wesleyan, 2003

Louis Feuillade | Les Vampires | DVD of the 1916 10-episode series | Water
Bearer Films, 2000

Various libretti | recently Purcell's The Fairy Queen and Lully's Atys | Both performed by Les Arts Florissants | harmonia mundi

Sergio Leone | Six film series | Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, July 2004

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James Wagner

Marjorie Welish | Word Group

Lyn Hejinian | The Fatalist

Tan Lin | BlipSoak01

Rosmarie Waldrop | Love, Like Pronouns

Antennae | literary magazine | current and back issues

Lisa Jarnot | Black Dog Songs

K. Silem Mohammad | Deer Head Nation

Robert Creeley | If I Were Writing This

Denver Quarterly | Vol. 38, No. 4 (current issue)

Christopher Kennedy | Trouble With The Machine

Kristin Prevallet | Scratch Sides—Poetry, Documentation, and Image-Text Projects

James Wagner is the author of the false sun recordings. He has reviewed a few of the titles above at his website, Esther Press.

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G.C. Waldrep

Kevin Young | To Repel Ghosts

Laird Hunt | Indiana, Indiana

John Tipton | Surfaces

Rae Armantrout | Up to Speed

Tony Tost | Invisible Bride

Tymoteusz Karpowiczó | anything at all I can get in translation

Rosmarie Waldrop | Blindsight

Srikanth Reddy | Facts for Visitors

Cole Swensen | Goest

Eric Baus | The To Sound

Myung-Mi Kim | Commons

—and a 12th, if I may

Brenda Coultas | A Handmade Museum

Is it possible to list a book that does not exist?  I refer, of course, to Tan Lin's Ambient Stylistics.  Clearly it is the Necronomicon of our time.

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Dana Ward

Done in the manner of Rod Smith's Bridge Street updates, which I always thought were fine reading in & of themselves.

James Meetze | Instrument & Amplifier | ms.

"A rouge wave of pathos in the pre-dawn"

Douglas Oliver | Arrondissements

"the coffin waits in this little night/for the whole day's train"

Cynthia Sailers | Rose Lungs

"To describe what I would eventually want I worry has been fed to the wolverines."

Karen Weiser | Placefullness for Etel Adnan | ms.

"Still, there is humiliation in simple ways of being near, how can we stand it?"

Mark Tardi | Euclid Shudders

"Yet I'm still trying to embrace the impalpable, as if it were a flower floating only a foot away"

Kaia Sand | Interval | Edge 2004

"Now I know how it is/with a cup to the ear of thunder"

Jeff Clark | Music & Suicide

"unable to leave, sleepless, relieved only in daydream"

Joseph Lease | Broken World | ms.

"singing hyms for no reason: and, and, and, and, and, and--I, I, I, I, I--"

Tanya Brolaski | "The Real"

"I'm sure my foot is cleaner than your ass"

Renee Gladman | The Activist

"What is it--beyond the issues? What makes one go outside and scream?"

Geoffrey Dyer | The Dirty Halo of Everything

"pay attention to the words collaborating inside your skull"

Dana Ward is the publisher of Cy Press.

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John Wilkinson

I'm continuing to read — and always shall — two inexhaustible volumes of Collected Poems, those by Tom Raworth and John James. The James appeared a couple of years ago but I've returned to it; for about fifteen years, from 1968 to 1983, James was the poet most sharply responsive to British politics and popular culture. The collection of four pamphlets by J.H. Prynne in the chic volume Furtherance from The Figures was of pleasing utility, since I'm always struggling to catch up with the-last-Prynne-but-one.

Favourite new books —

Marjorie Welish | Word Group

Laura Elrick | Skincerity

Andrea Brady | Cold Calling

Drew Milne | Go Figure

Because I had the privilege of a year away from work in 03/04 I was able to read more generally than since the time (decades ago) when I was a graduate student. My best discoveries during this resumed education have been the writings of Bruno Latour and of Henri Lefebvre. Provocateurs rather than systematisers.

John Wilkinson's new chapbook Iphigenia is published by Barque.

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Stephanie Young

Jordan Davis and Sarah Manguso, eds. | Free Radicals: American Poets before Their First Books | Subpress Collective, 2004

Dodie Bellamy | Pink Steam

Kit Robinson | The Crave

The Poker 4 | Edited by Daniel Bouchard

Commonweal, issues 1-4 | Edited by Brandon Brown

John Weiners | Selected Poems

Bob Perelman | Ten to One: Selected Poems

K. Silem Mohammad | A Thousand Devils | Combo, 2004

Juliana Spahr | Fuck You, Aloha, I love you

Tanya Brolaski | The Daily Usonian | chapbook mss, due out from Michael Cross's press, Atticus/Finch in August 2004

• • •

And, for a list within a list, this best of 03 CD from a friend in Toronto is in near constant rotation:

the new pornographers | the laws have changed
hot hot heat | bandages
metric | succexy
future bible heros | smash the beauty machine
the shins | kissing the lipless
the eels | love of the loveless
the plastic folk | that love falls thing
sam roberts | don't walk away eileen
tegan and sara | living room
magnetic fields | I need a new heart
the strokes | is this it
future bible heroes | losing your affection
hot hot heat | this town
metric | IOU
belle & sebstian | dear catastrophe waitress
young and sexy | the city you live in is ugly
the new pornographers | the electric version
the shins | mine is not a high horse
the eels | dirty mouth
joel plaskett | work out fine
cat power | free

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