Reviews - December 2011

An antagonistic paraphernalium

A review of 'Philip Guston: Collected Writings, Lectures, and Conversations'

An antagonistic paraphernalium? The answer this time is to only walk these boards. As if that line were true to all possible picture. And above it, you at the last landing, but sideways in a clear structure of junctures, some standing. I’d have first to light my head. Then the stairway. Put out a ring. Throw fingers. Alarm the enclosure of panthers left out. […] When time for a dawn I sat and watched the walls come back. He said, Look, they’re still up. Now we can leave them.

Dorothea Lasky, it’s unbelievable

A review of 'Black Life' and 'Awe'

I couldn’t sleep tonight so I started a new diary. On the first page I wrote the following quotation about Iceland, by Eileen Myles:

Most likely we travel to exist in an analogue to our life’s dilemmas. It’s like a spaceship. The work for the traveler is making the effort to understand that the place you are moving through is real and the solution to your increasingly absent problems is forgetting. To see them in a burst as you are vanishing into the world. Travel is not transcendence. It’s immanence. It’s trying to be here.


On Chelsey Minnis and CAConrad

CAConrad is the son of white trash asphyxiation whose childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. — author’s bio

This is a cut-down chandelier …
And it is like coughing at the piano before you start playing a terrible waltz …
The past should go away but it never does …
And it is like a swimming pool at the bottom of the stairs … — Chelsea Minnis, Poemland

What a trash
To annihilate each decade. — Sylvia Plath, “Lady Lazarus”

The argument

As these epigraphs so clearly emblematize, Art is asphyxiation; annihilation; anachronism; inebriation; something “cut-down”; something shoplifted; like trash, it makes more of itself; like the past, it should go away but it never does. Like a cough, it doubles up or doubles down on terribleness.

Humanitarian strategies for ecosystem stabilization

A review of 're : evolution'

In correspondance surrounding this review of Kim Rosenfield’s re : evolution, James Sherry relayed his excitement at the potential for publishing a “collaborative review in a collaborative technology.” Jacket2 is pleased to present that review, composed by Sherry and E.J. McAdams employing the track changes function in Microsoft Word. 

This is not a book of surfaces

A review of 'The Book of Beginnings and Endings'

The Book of Beginnings and Endings by Jenny Boully is a deceptively straightforward book that poses a number of fascinating questions for the literary imagination to grapple with. Although the book is ostensibly made up of just what the title implies, beginnings and endings, when an entire book “consists” of beginnings and endings, it necessarily brings up the question about what a beginning or ending actually is, since, from a certain perspective, beginnings are not beginnings if they do not have endings, and vice versa.