Reviews - July 2020

A provisional map of who/what/where we are

A review of 'Inciting Poetics: Thinking and Writing Poetry'

Photos courtesy of the authors.

On one level at least, Inciting Poetics would seem to be in dialogue with Donald Allen’s 1960 iconoclastic anthology of poetry and poetics, The New American Poetry. With the majority of this volume’s contributors having come of age in the 1960s and 1970s and now in their sixties and seventies, the essays collected here tell a particular narrative, one that seems acutely linked to the political upheavals and cultural shifts of those formative decades. 

When I first learned that the University of New Mexico Press was publishing Inciting Poetics, a collection of essays edited by Jeanne Heuving and Tyrone Williams, I was excited for a number of reasons.

Infrastructures of feeling

Fugitive fugues in the undying present

Photo by Jessie Eastland, via Wikimedia Commons

Syd Staiti’s novel The Undying Present opens with a somewhat startling brief scene wherein the narrator smashes their watch on their desk, ripping off its hands, before entering out into the world and its “present and continuous catastrophe” (11). What — outside of crisis — thrusts us into the pure present other than an escape from — or rebellion against — (modern, capitalist) time?

Time is the cousin of punishment Syd Staiti, The Undying Present[1]