‘The stone with the music’

On Michael Golston’s ‘The Science Fiction of Poetics’

In a chapter on Ed Dorn’s Gunslinger (1975) in his most recent critical monograph, Michael Golston proposes to treat the enigmatic figure of Sllab as “pure science fiction,” an approach that, so far as he knows, “has not been taken before.” A pertinent question would be, “Why not?” — for Dorn made no secret of Sllab’s genesis in Stanley Kubrick’s “main deific principle” in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), “the stone with the music.” Do critics of avant-garde poetry tend to shy away from science fiction?

The Science Fiction of Poetics and the Avant-Garde Imagination
Michael Golston
The University of Alabama Press, 2024, 243 pages, $39.95, ISBN 978-0-8173-6100-6; E-ISBN 978-0-8173-9468-4

Ways to dream

On Claire DeVoogd’s ‘Via’

Claire DeVoogd is a multifarious poet based in Brooklyn. Via is her first book. Writing more than eight centuries after the legendary Breton poet based at the English court, Marie de France, DeVoogd addresses her literary ancestor casually and intimately, like a familiar spirit. 

Claire DeVoogd
Winter Editions, 2023, 136 pages, $20.00, ISBN 978-1-959708-04-9

“What were the dead like? What sort of people are we living with now? Why are we here? What are we going to do? Let’s try putting it in another way.”

— W. H. Auden, The Orators (1932)

Surrounded by Paris

Yuko Otomo’s ‘PINK’

Cover of 'PINK' and Yuko Otomo, photographed by Donald Martineau-Vega

Written in Japanese and translated by the author, Yuko Otomo’s PINK is a paean to Paris, to her revered precursor, Baudelaire, and to her soulmate, the American poet Steve Dalachinsky. As she explains in a generously spontaneous afterword, Steve and Yuko visited Paris nearly every other year for 15 years or so. 

Yuko Otomo
Lithic Press, 2024, 67 pages, $20.00, ISBN 978-1-946583-30-7

Mud and the poetics of art history

Lytle Shaw’s ‘New Grounds for Dutch Landscape’

Jan van Goyen, Landscape with Two Oaks, 1641, Rijksmuseum.  Photo by the author.
Jan van Goyen, Landscape with Two Oaks, 1641, Rijksmuseum. Photo by the author.

What, then, would a poetics of art writing look like, one which is responsible to the facts of the matter, yet still laying the field open for extravagations and speculations? 

New Grounds for Dutch Landscape
Lytle Shaw
OEI editör, 2021, 304 pages, $19.95, ISBN 9789188829085

Secure that delicate passage

On Hajar Hussaini’s ‘Disbound’

Before the first poem of Afghan poet Hajar Hussaini’s debut collection Disbound, Hussaini already resists the limits of the book’s form, positioning her text in a conflict between sequence and chaos, what is threaded together and what imminently, and presently, comes apart.

Hajar Hussaini

University of Iowa Press, 2022, 77 pages, $19.95, ISBN 9781609388676