besides reading for my oral examinations this year and reading books that i will review, i am trying to find some time for some uncritical reading. am wanting to share what i’m reading for fun, so here we go.
1) Denver Quarterly V44#1 1009
i do love the denver quarterly. long enough to feel substantial yet still digestible in one sitting. always a great array of lyrics, narrative, prose poems, & fiction. a nice piece on clayton eshleman & my favorite poems were by kate greenstreet and max winter. from greenstreet: “People often ask me why my photographs are torn. / The purpose would be // to learn. To represent a life.”
2) The Poetry Project Newsletter OCT/NOV 2009 #220
i do love the PPN. always great reviews & interesting features. this issue has a nice piece on robin blaser…and several things that address poetry & theatre (or poet theatre), including an awesome essay by John Beer, an interview with alan bernheimer conducted by stephanie young, and a review of rodrigo toscano’s Collapsible Poetics Theater. unrelated, an interesting review by paolo javier.
3) The Disappearance of Seth / a novel by Kazim Ali (2009)
i started this book a few days before september 11, which was strange because much of the book revolves around september 11th in new york. this is a poet’s novel: written in short vignettes, sometimes as short as single paragraphs (more fragment than vignette). beautiful lyricism & powerful storytelling throughout, but the beginning was a bit tricky because there were quite a few characters and you often got a little bit of their stories at a time and sometimes i felt the sections/fragments/vignettes weren’t really long enough to connect to the characters. in that sense, parts felt like the narrator’s control of the story outweighed the development of the characters. but overall, a compelling read.
4) 99: The New Meaning, by Walter Abish (burning deck press, 1990)
a poet’s short story collection! kindof. similar to The Disappearance of Seth formally as each story is told in short sections, the longest sections only being like 3 paragraphs long…some sections are a mere sentence long. the title piece consists of 99 sections, each section’s text is appropriated from page 99 of 99 other texts. many of the other pieces use appropriated text, many from flaubert & kafka–the themes relate back to those writers. an interesting read…sometimes the result of the procedure really pops…sometimes it’s just appropriated text. ‘new meaning’ can truly emerge when text is set in a new context–but it’s not guaranteed.
5) ancestors maybe by elizabeth mackiernan (burning deck press, 1993)
another poet’s novel! i couldnt really get into the story, but the grammar/syntax/rhythm really kept me going. similar to the novels mentioned above, each paragraph/series of paragraphs were separated by a space, creating the feel of fragmentation but this book was much more connected. tho the space did give the paragraphs that stanza feel. slowed down the narrative too & becomes prismatic. interesting.
what are you reading for fun these days?