Reviews

Ongoing 'Planisphere' notebook

At right: John Ashbery. Photo by Arielle Brousse.

1.

People are much too free with the phrase “a great book of poetry.” They think if the book has ten really good pieces in it then it’s a great book.

They don’t talk that way about albums. For it to be a great album it can’t just have some hits. You have to consider the not-hits, too.

His own shine, her smooth inscrutable

A review of Pattie McCarthy's 'Marybones'

Right: McCarthy reading at the Kelly Writers House on January 23, 2013.

I’ve heard people gasp when they first see the cover of Pattie McCarthy’s Marybones. They’re responding to the fabulous and impossible breasts (one in particular) in Jean Fouquet’s 1452 painting.This Madonna is pornographic: anachronistically Barbie-dollish and as gray as a corpse.

Of fear in abstraction

A review of Fiona Hile's 'Novelties'

At right, Fiona Hile reading July 3, 2012.

“Mondrian Green” is the final poem in Fiona Hile’s Novelties,[1] and one of the most significant in this significant book. It refers to the famous absence of green in the Dutch abstract painter’s mature compositions. Mondrian is said to have hated the color, perhaps as a result of having compromised himself for years while young and struggling, painting floral still-lifes for bread and butter. Mondrian, who would apparently sit with his back to windows in order to avoid gazing out at any greenery, said during a 1915 walk in the moonlight that “all in all, nature is a damned wretched affair. I can hardly stand it.”[2]

Fits of imagination

A review of Thomas Meyer's 'Beowulf'

In being caught between two times, that of composition and circulation, Thomas Meyer’s translation finds itself in harmony with its source text. Meyer translated Beowulf in the 1970s, after completing a 1969 senior thesis at Bard translating the rest of the surviving Anglo-Saxon poetic corpus. Our introduction to Meyer’s electric translation, however, is more recent, as it was released by punctum books, an open-access and print-on-demand publisher, only in 2012.

Transitionary framings, a case

A review of Geoffrey Gatza's 'House of Forgetting'

For readers of Gatza who have already come to expect the unexpected; for those fascinated with emerging innovation in book-structured polygraphies, then House of Forgetting is yet another contribution to what is becoming a prodigious oeuvre.