Reviews - April 2013

Between bibetgekess and 'but …'

A review of Lyn Hejinian's 'The Book of a Thousand Eyes'

Writing about Lyn Hejinian’s The Book of a Thousand Eyes is like talking about someone else’s dreams. The poems are peculiar and uncanny, full of surprising leaps and linkages that one might expect from a book written in the dark.[1] Such is the stuff of dreams.

We peer through various portals

A review of Gail Scott's 'The Obituary'

Gail Scott’s The Obituary occupies and animates the tantalizing space of the in-between. Between English and French, poetry and prose, lurid gutter noir and stylish Hitchcockian thriller, Scott’s novel (though it is in some sense an injustice to characterize it simply as a novel) inhabits these elusive gaps, experimenting at every turn with subjectivity, grammar, and the poetics of lapsus. Set in Montreal, The Obituary reflects the city’s gleeful heterogeneity — its negotiation of old, new, and postmodern, francophone, anglophone, allophone, and native cultures.

The plasticity of our pagelessness

Myung Mi Kim at a Belladonna* reading series event, 2006. Photo by erica kaufman.

Building is a Process / Light is an Element: Essays and Excursions for Myung Mi Kim
Andrew Rippeon and Michael Cross, editors

In my language of Tagalog, the word “dura” means spit. In this way, Myung Mi Kim’s Dura is potentially a circumstance of utterance as much as it risks the gesture of contempt as much as it attempts to manage one’s digestion as much as its perceptions clarify cultural practice as much as it risks the evanescence of spitting.

Climbing earth

The spiritual materials of Hank Lazer and giovanni singleton

Hank Lazer’s most recent collection, N18 (complete), and giovanni singleton’s first collection of poetry, Ascension, deploy similar formal strategies to remind us of an old truth: the bone of spirit means just that, the inseparability of the spiritual from the material. Lazer uses handwritten shapewriting as a kind of “first tool” to meditate on song, knowledge, and being in relation to the quest for transcendence embodied in his ongoing projects. singleton frames her more normative meditative lyricism with shapewritten (non-standard) typographical differences.