Reviews

Notes on 'A Mammal of Style'

Let’s begin with the title A Mammal of Style, which of course echoes the Chicago Manual of Style, someone’s notion of the proper and correct way of rendering sensible sentences in the English language.

'Gradually the World'

A review of Burt Kimmelman's new and selected poems

I was unfamiliar with the poetry of Burt Kimmelman when Jacket2 asked me to take up the assignment of writing about Gradually the World: New and Selected Poems, 19822013. Reading, rereading, pondering the volume — which is a life — has been an education for me in poetry’s use as engagement with writing as a means of being in the world. Why, after all, is anyone writing? Of necessity, I suppose, to figure out how to survive in — even appreciate — being alive temporarily in a world. Kimmelman’s poems surely serve that function for him and his readers.

Let 'em eat kitsch

A review of Thomas Fink's 'Joyride'

Ceci n’est pas un article à propos de schtick (except perhaps as René Magritte might have it be). Thomas Fink’s glorious new book of poems presents us often with the joy of Yinglish, but in whole it is all about the magical present, and this is no coincidence.

'Let Her Speak'

The (not-so) quiet revolution of the reproductive, performative, and civic body

At right: Michele Battiste (top) and Pravithra Prasad (bottom) read from 'Let He
At right: Michele Battiste (top) and Pravithra Prasad (bottom) read from 'Let Her Speak' in Denver, Colorado, in November 2013.

In American politics, as well as arts and letters, the mind-body schism of Western dualism (dialectical materialism) rages on between “rational” or cerebral thought and syncretic understanding, normative and “non-normative” bodies and subjects (female, non-Caucasian, gay, trans, queer), and the rights of individual, collective, and state bodies. Injunctions against female self-representation in private and public (to say nothing of the right to labor or own property) dates back to the Greek polis, where women were considered domestic slaves.

Against apocalypse

A review of Ron Silliman's 'Revelator'

At right: “Phuket after Tsunami (2004)” by Milei Vencel; used with modification under CC Attribution-Share Alike license.

Somewhere along the way, Ron Silliman and his fellow L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets earned the reputation for being heartless.