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Friday, March 4, 2011

Lucy Ives's Anamnesis reviewed by Broc Rossell

Lucy Ives
Slope Editions, 2009
ISBN 9780977769841
Pbk., 83 pp.

Reviewed by Broc Rossell

Anamnesis and The Harmonograph

In an essay written to accompany his recent exhibit at the Reykjavik Art Museum, regarding the relationship between a viewer and a procedural object (such as the waterfalls he built beneath New York City's bridges last year), Olafur Eliasson remarks that one alternative to the ageing Euclidian conception of space is waves. Waves, argues Eliasson, are a more helpful concept for understanding how an individual in all her complexity responds to and interacts with a work of art which itself is responding to and interacting with nature. "These can be waves of information, but also the communication of information through physical waves such as microwaves, long waves and frequency. Electricity is a kind of wave, as are my words, when they leave my mouth as condensed air, spreading radiantly, entering your ears. Also light."1

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K. Lorraine Graham's Terminal Humming reviewed by Joe Atkins

K. Lorraine Graham
Terminal Humming
Edge Books, 2009
ISBN: 9781890311315

Reviewed by Joe Atkins

There’s many ways to describe the poems of K. Lorraine Graham’s Terminal Humming—Gurlesque, flarf, procedural, postmodern—and likely most of them would fit in some fashion, accommodating a singular aspect of the wide range of voices, sources, and techniques within this particular appropriation of language, this particular poetics. Yet, within the pages of this compelling volume, the visions of circulation, connective tissues gone awry, there’s a sense that semantics have shifted into a collage of relativism, and what a wondrous multitude, that. Which is not to say there isn’t an underlying truth here, however elusive this truth may be, but that as the language slides from one amazing line to another, one moment to the next, the real substance is actually contained in this entertaining, leaping action.

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Samuel Amadon's Like A Sea reviewed by Joe Atkins

Samuel Amadon
Like A Sea
Iowa Poetry Prize Series
University of Iowa Press, 2010
6"x8.5", 100 pp., pbk

Reviewed by Joe Atkins

To get an idea of what a non-flarf, non-conceptual version of appropriation looks like, one need go no further than Samuel Amadon’s Like A Sea. The collection has a wide range of samplings sprinkled across the lines, and, since we’re such big fans of the list, here they are in all their illumination: J.D. Salinger, Pound, Walter Benjamin, Jane Kenyon, Robert Lowell, Eugenio Montale, Joris-Karl Huysmans, EA Robinson, Primo Levi, Beckett, Jackson Mac Low’s diastic reading process, Eugene O’Neil, Berryman, an appropriation of Olson appropriating Norbert Wiener, and last but not least Wikipedia. More than just a recounting of the notes, the above list provides the what of the book, it’s primary apparatus.

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Travis Cebula's Under the Sky They Lit Cities reviewed by Nancy Stohlman

Travis Cebula
Under the Sky They Lit Cities
BlazeVOX Books, 2010
ISBN: 9781609640255
Paperback, 93 pages

Reviewed by Nancy Stohlman

In his debut full-length collection of poetry, Under the Sky They Lit Cities, Travis Cebula advises: “Everyone in the city should ride the bus at least once/viscosity of a community is best measured by that stick”. From the first poem in this collection to the last, you understand that the narrator’s relationship with “city” is not one of aloof pontifications, or distant idealisms/condemnations. No, traveling through the pages of this slim volume is akin to traversing a city on foot, an anthem both to decay and the resilient life that rises among debris.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Renee Gladman's Event Factory reviewed by Paula Koneazny

Renee Gladman
Event Factory
Dorothy, a publishing project, 2010
ISBN 978-0-9844693-0-7
Paperback, 136pp., $16

Reviewed by Paula Koneazny

An unnamed protagonist arrives in a fictional city-state called Ravicka where she meets people, has adventures, and then departs without, seemingly, really having been anywhere or accomplished anything. The opening epigraph from Samuel Beckett serves well as a compass : "something has to happen, to my body . . . which never . . . wished for anything, in its tarnished universe, except for the mirrors to shatter . . . the magnifying, the minifying, and to vanish in the havoc of its images." Magnifying and minifying aptly describe the challenges encountered by both narrator and reader. A visit to Ravicka becomes a tour of a land of smoke and mirrors, a Through the Looking Glass experience in which the story is as much a shape-shifter as is the sexual self. Its hard-to-pin-down quality doesn't, however, make Renee Gladman's short novel Event Factory a flawed narrative.

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