Jacket2

A poetry staycation

Recently received for review

It's the truth. Summer in the Jacket2 office is not a vacation. Because I'm still here, and not there (on the beach or looking at the beach).  So, I'm calling this what it is: a poetry staycation, where the poems come to me and they come from places I would like to travel to.

& it has been an amazing staycation so far: with books coming in over the past few weeks from locales including Toronto, Manchester, Brooklyn, Seattle, and Minneapolis. 

These poetry books are the many guided tours of the wonderful world of poetics.  They are tourist-adored maps of famous people's houses. They are waiting in line to get through airport security to not miss their connecting flight.  And they are stopping at a rest stop for rest. 

Tom Clark reviews '100 Multiple-Choice Questions' by John Ashbery

From Jacket #15 (December 2001)

100 Multiple-Choice Questions is

1. a vast electrical disturbance
2. a cut-up of student examination papers
3. tremendously funny
4. spanking new/old stuff just out & need-to-get
5. a work that travels at the velocity of glacial drift
6. more complex hygronomy from the author of A Kind of Waffle

When, in the obscure depths and glib surfaces of John Ashbery’s poetry, philosophy paints its gloomy picture of the present world, we see that a form of life has grown old. It cannot be rejuvenated, but only understood. Only when dusk starts to fall does the owl of Minerva spread its wings and fly... these words came to me in

1. the street
2. the form of gray tiles arranged as a rebus in a dream
3. a seizure of earnest talk with a young girl
4. a book
5. the spur of a moment of surprising apprehension
6. a fit of impatience after reading 100 Multiple-Choice Questions

Bill Lavender responds to a review of 'Cyclones in High Northern Latitudes'

We are pleased to publish Bill Lavender’s response to Jacquilyn Weeks’s review, “Taking the concept of meaning-making by storm,” which we published on June 24, 2011:

There is a lot to argue with in this review. It’s weird how it approaches the real weaknesses of the poem and even analyzes individual points quite succinctly and yet, in the end, embraces the very banality it accuses the poem of.  In a review that counts the number of personal pronouns in the text, the final judgement boils down to “I didn’t like Cyclones.”

Anne Waldman on Lewis Warsh and the Angel Hair Anthology

From Jacket #16 (March 2002)

I met Lewis Warsh at the Berkeley Poetry Conference [in 1965] and will always forever after think we founded Angel Hair within that auspicious moment. Conflation of time triggered by romance adjacent to the glamorous history-making events of the conference seems a reasonable explanation. Perhaps Angel Hair was what we made together in our brief substantive marriage that lasted and had repercussions. And sped us on our way as writers. Aspirations to be a poet were rising, the ante grew higher at Berkeley surrounded by heroic figures of the New American Poetry. Here was a fellow New Yorker, same age, who had also written novels, was resolute, erudite about contemporary poetry. Mutual recognition lit us up. Don’t I know you?

Pam Brown on Philip Mead's book about Australian Poetry

From Jacket #37 (early 2009)

Philip Mead, Melbourne, 2008 [photo by John Tranter]

Refuting Critical Bewilderment in Twentieth Century Australian Poetries

Philip Mead’s Networked Language: Culture & History in Australian Poetry is a much needed, dynamic ingression in the tiny field of Australian poetics. Critical writing on poetry in Australia is incredibly scant considering the sizeable publication (and associated activities) of poetry. However, as tiresome as it is to note once more, in spite of its volume and vigour, poetry itself remains marginal to Australian culture.

Practising poets need to read poetics. My own bookshelves house many books of essays on poetry by contemporary North American poets and critics, some European and some from the UK, yet relatively few books on Australian poetics. Strategically, Australian poet-editors use their introductions to infrequent anthologies to gesture towards a poetics. So, Philip Mead is working in a disappointingly small world. In his introduction Mead discusses the dearth of critical writings on poetry and, in fact, of Australian literary theory in general.