Hymn for the Black Terrific
Hymn for the Black Terrific is three tiny books bound together. The first section, “Oiseau Rebelle,” is as close as Petrosino comes to a miscellany, in that its poems dont bear an obvious relationship to each other; the second section, “Mulattress,” is a ten-poem showcase of her manipulation of select lines from that gifted hypocrite Thomas Jefferson; the third, “Turn Back Your Head & There Is The Shore,” depicts the attentions of “the eater,” a figural stand-in for the very gifts of appetite and attention altogether. Three tiny books bound together. Does that sound dismissive? It shouldnt. For each is light enough to whip by at the speed of thought, dense enough to achieve percussive consequence, shaped well enough to defy resistance. Three tiny books, a bundle of airfoil projectiles, mercilessly designed and brutally employed. A sort of… read the full review »
A mysterious package containing a strange Bible is delivered to a village and brings with it an immense sense of wretched misery and despair. A pair of exhausted lovers continuously—agonizingly—falls out of love. A young girl is abused by careless, angry elders and the butcher develops a hideous rash. A prose exploration of suffering and time, Janice Lees latest collection Damnation moves with poetic elegance and intensity, utilizing narrative elements to examine how dailiness can house biblical Judgment. In her text, the apocalypse is hardly a break with history or the catastrophic launching of a new order. It is instead the profuse stagnation of what we are already trapped in: Damnation is persistence.
Lees Damnation is not a “fun” or “entertaining” read, but it is magnetic and immersive. Whether or not you are coming off the edge of… read the full review »
Hello, the Roses
As a term, Empathy, from the Greek em-pathos, in-feeling, is the translation that Edward Titchener, a psychologist working at the turn of the nineteenth century, gave to the German Einfhlungsympathetic understanding, or, literally, feeling into anothers subject-position. Since the late 18th century the concept has had more, and then less, and now more attention in the fields of psychology and aesthetics. As affect, as one of the ways we act and are acted upon, this state of being has likely always been with us. It comes upon us unwilled, but we also consider it a state that can be cultivated, practiced, and theorized. The desired end of such projective feeling is to understand another from his or her perspective.
Such feeling into anothers subject-position on the one hand seems like a happy answer to the selfs well-worried solipsism. However,… read the full review »
The name on my favorite chapbook of 2007, Hotels, is Andrew Mister. For his first full-length collection, Liner Notes, 165 brief paragraphs about music and suicide, Mister has chosen to shorten his name to sound more like another visual artist who wrote a little. I dont know how I feel about Liner Notes but I know I feel a lot. It is the best book of short prose I know of since Susan Barness Earthquake. That book is an order of magnitude better, but Andy Misters book is an order of magnitude more enjoyable than most recent books filed under poetry. It is also a book length work about music and suicide.
WHEN I WAS in junior high a girl I had a crush on told me about a song that actually made you feel like you… read the full review »
In lieu of blurbs, the back cover of Young Tambling simply reads Based on a true story. Thanks to the quality of the design, this humble claim is both comic and sort of sublime. Its comic, of course, because being based on a true story isnt the sort of criterion by which one represents poetry. One can scarcely imagine a browser picking up a book of poetry and choosing it for purchase because it was based on a true story. But why not? Because poetry isnt as much of a story as a story is? If so, we could describe poetry as based on truth. And this would be accurate, but also weird, and in that weirdness we can find something essential about folk art, of which the ballad is a prime example, as is the ballad that… read the full review »