Reviews

Unraveling tongues

A review of 'She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks'

I first encountered M. NourbeSe Philip’s poetical interruptions three years ago, in a course taught by Tisa Bryant called Unnamable Texts. We spent time with “Discourse on the Logic of Language,” which is a sequence from her 1988 collection She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. My memory of this poem is bodily. Part of this is due to how we read this piece; not only silently to ourselves, but also following along to a recording of Philip performing the poem. Throughout her delivery, she subtly elongates the word language until it becomes a cry, a tender wound, throbbing.

If she does not ravel and unravel his universe, she will then remain silent, looking at him looking at her. — Trinh T. Minh-ha[1]

(Re)animating the city

A review of 'Deep City' by Megan Kaminski

Photo courtesy of Megan Kaminski.

In Deep City, Megan Kaminski extends Guest’s poetics, centering on the city as both physical, social phenomenon, and as ever-expanding dreamscape or imaginarium. In so doing, Kaminski creates a boundless repository for our often-intersecting and ever-shifting experiences of the present moment. As if setting a lens over the landscape of a collage-like city (at points the city seems determinable, at others not), Kaminski unearths a myriad of sense perceptions in organic (secular) time.

In “A Reason for Poetics,” collected in Forces of Imagination: Writing on Writing, Barbara Guest addresses the tension between physical and “mysterious” dimensions of poetry. Beginning a section titled “Poetic Codes,” Guest writes:

'What would I want to do? Hide myself?'

Aaron Shurin's life testament to poetry

“The impulse is toward discovery of meaning, including the discovery of oneself,” Aaron Shurin explains when asked in an interview with Lily Iona MacKenzie about his comfort including personal details while writing his memoir collection King of Shadows.

“The impulse is toward discovery of meaning, including the discovery of oneself,” Aaron Shurin explains when asked in an interview with Lily Iona MacKenzie about his comfort including personal details while writing his memoir collection King of Shadows. He continues, “So there is no act that shame will try to cover — and this is very much under the tutelage of [Robert] Duncan. There is no shame.

Paradise now

On Evan Kennedy's 'The Sissies'

Photo of Evan Kennedy (left) by Peter Hochschild.

An alien man-boy, Evan Kennedy. Already starting his poetic career with two pretty good books, then with a giant leap comes the third, Terra Firmament. Now another — this time a mega-leap on all fronts — a book he calls The Sissies.

Able and vexed

A review of Michael Gottlieb's 'What We Do'

This work on work, about work — the work poets do, the work they ought to do, the work they have to do on top of/instead of their “real” work — is by turns frustrating and frustrated.

                                         Poets
leap over death — was that COLERIDGE? If so,
did anyone see him do it and live?[1]