Reviews

Healer and hunter

A review of Pierre Joris's 'Barzakh'

In identifying archetypally with healer and hunter, Pierre Joris brings his poems of the twenty-first century into an ever more fervid and restless search mode. Healers and hunters operate under the most severe time constraints, with survival at stake. Which is why Robert Kelly’s sage half-truth “Nothing truer than fragment” needs to be fleshed out. What Joris does with fragments, with increasing acuity decade after decade in his poems, is search and sift among fragments with urgent speed and decisiveness — nomad on the run — to shape fragments so they coalesce into culturally vibrant patterns of meaning.

My father was a healer & a hunter. Is it any surprise I became a poet & translator? (“Nimrod,” 121)

Vagabond imagination

A review of Leonard Schwartz's 'If'

In the fifteenth century, François Villon claimed the subjunctive mood for his vagabond verse with Si j’etais roi. In his book-length poem If, Leonard Schwartz returns to this conditional world of the subjunctive with a series of wise, vivid, and vulnerable questions, which the poet poses and then leaves unanswered — at least, apparently. More so than most poems, If invites readers to participate actively in its seemingly hypothetical world, underscored by the poet’s frequent invocation of we, our collective selves. In this deeply philosophical work, ontology and epistemology are made as human as hope and fear, and as necessary as wheelbarrows.

Eloquence

On Sally Silvers's 'Actual Size'

Photo by Paula Court.

Actual Size / Sally Silvers & Dancers / Roulette / Tuesday–Friday / November 4–7 / 2014

Space

Make it reappear

A review of 'Reading Writing Interfaces: From the Digital to the Bookbound'

Reading Writing Interfaces by Lori Emerson undertakes the ambitious task to demystify the rhetoric of magic surrounding ubiquitous computing. When so-called invisibility, user-friendliness, and seamlessness are touted as integral features of a device, how can everyday users disrupt the imperceptibility of the interface to access its mechanisms?

To be between

A review of Ed Steck's 'The Garden'

“To be between is to entirely flatten oneself in the encircling material.” The Garden by Ed Steck is between on several fronts. It’s between language as communication with people and language as binary code propelling computers. It is between data logs and codex. It is between the archetype of a garden (a space of paradise, innocence, and unspoiled beauty) and a virtual garden (a space defined by surveillance, a series of algorithms and geo-fence).