Reviews

Toward an embodied critique

A review of Louis Bury's 'Exercises in Criticism'

Early this spring, I perched on top of a table (it was the only space left) to hear Fred Moten talk about “Blackness and Poetry.” The room was teeming with poets, critics, academics, and students. At the end of the talk, a question about the contemporary “mania” or “fetish for rule-based constraint-based poetry in a lot of poetry circles” was asked. More specifically, Nada Gordon wanted to know what this contemporary mania for rules might be a symptom of.

Moving image, moving text, never past, look in mirror (repeat)

A review of Lisa Robertson's 'Cinema of the Present'

Lisa Robertson’s epic, nothing-quite-like-it Cinema of the Present reads and screens like its title. I daresay it is a textual film. On paper. But moving. You often hear about “poetic” or “text-films” but on film. But what about the opposite? Films on paper. After you’re done reading it you will feel like you’ve just watched a film. The images will come back to haunt and unhaunt you over and over. You’ll remember and then you’ll remember you just read a book, not a film.

Dear Tyrone Williams

May 11, 2013

Dear Tyrone,

Adventures of Pi made me think a lot about Detroit.

As you know, I was born in the Motor City. I am child of the auto industry. My grandfather worked as a draughtsman for American Motors. My mother worked in Lee Iacocca’s secretarial pool at Ford. My father worked at Ford, too, in the leasing division. I remember him bringing home these shiny adhesive Mustang logos when I was a boy. I stuck one to the shell of my pet turtle. 

We moved to California in 1971.

Dear Stephen Motika

March 17, 2013

Dear Stephen, 

I read Western Practice last night after watching Wong Kar Wai’s first film, As Tears Go By. It wasn’t a great film, but it contains flashes of brilliance that hint at things to come. This has been my habit lately. Give the baby a bath, put her to bed, eat dinner and watch a movie with Lori, read poetry while listening to music, climb into bed, read from a novel, go to sleep. I don’t remember what I was listening to when I read your book. It was either BBC Three or Blue Mars Cryosleep ambient radio. 

Dear Mikhail Epstein

March 28, 2013

Dear Mikhail Epstein,

When I first pulled PreDictionary from the shelf, I glanced at your name and skimmed your bio. My mind registered the following facts: your first name was Mikhail; you had come from Russia; you taught at Emory University. Your last name did not register. I started reading the book.