Saturday, January 16, 2010

 



P.K. Page

1916 2010

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Barbara Caruso

1937 2009

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Friday, January 15, 2010

 



Recently Received

Books (Poetry)

John Ashbery, Planisphere, Ecco, New York 2009

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

 

In the time it took for my computer to boot up, I was able to read, leisurely even, the whole of Thomas Rain Crowe’s The Blue Rose of Venice, from Mountains and Rivers Press in Eugene, Oregon. Crowe himself is from the far side of the continent, living in rural western North Carolina, and the six poems in this simplest of chapbooks are themselves set entirely in Venice during a trip there of less than a week that Crowe took with his wife, Nan. That’s him unfurling the flag in the cover image above, on the bridge at the Ponte della Guerra, an act – and photograph by Nan – described in some detail in the book.

I don’t, as a rule, have a lot of patience for poetry that is strictly narrative in the old sense of that word for the same reasons that I often find myself feeling antsy in a roomful of paintings by Andrew Wyeth (which, living just a few miles from Wyeth’s home town of Chadds Ford, it’s easy to do), even as I get it that Wyeth may have been the finest realist painter of the 20th century. But this suite, just 13 pages from end to end, 31 lines to a page, moves so smoothly that I don’t even begin to feel that twitch until maybe the end of the fifth poem. Crowe writes simply, elegantly, directly, without one instance of preening or false note in the entire book. Here is the shortest poem, “The Song of the Gondolier”:

Short bridges.
Narrow canals.
A single wooden paddle
from a black boat on dark water
the only sound
as
the gondolier begins to sing
eeoo, eeoo
into the evening
and the mouth of
a cellular phone.

While the other works may be narratively more complex – there are difficulties of language, politics, his relationship with his wife all to be negotiated – their values are not really different from the ones visible here. One might wonder, for example, about the preciousness of putting “as” alone on a line all its own, but it seems evident that Crowe wants to frame that image of the gondolier, to pause on it, as much as possible. The noun phrases of the first two lines, each treated as tho it were a sentence in its own right, both set the scene & articulate a rhythm against which the longer final sentence can unfold. You can read the final line as a small joke if you wish, but its moment of modernity – post-modernity even – is what contextualizes everything that has come before. It’s not a wildly ambitious poem, but it’s perfectly executed and I found myself reading it over & over, luxuriating in each moment.

To extend the analogy to painting a little further, I often find myself in a gallery or museum in front of some oil painting, moving my right hand as tho following each stroke of paint. To an observer, I probably appear to be conducting an invisible orchestra or presenting some spastic variant of air guitar, but I find it an excellent method to think with the painter as I look at the work & I find myself with a very similar instinct here. These aren’t poems that call for close readings in the New Critical sense, but they definitely reward an attentive eye. I don’t know Crowe’s work all that well, although he’s published a lot of books, including translations & interviews with jazz greats. He’s been an editor of Beatitude in San Francisco & you will find a number of his works signed at the other City Lights bookshop, the one in Sylva, NC.

This book is pretty much a perfect fit for Mountains and Rivers, whose Facebook page characterizes the press this way:

Formed in 1999, Mountains and Rivers Press publishes books that reflect the continued influence of mid-twentieth century poetics on American poetry (Objectivism, San Francisco Renaissance, English-language haikai etc.).

In an in-depth interview in Nantahala Review – with several poems and video clips of Crowe reading – that Crowe gave in 2004, almost certainly before this trip to Venice, he proclaims that he doesn’t want to have a “voice.” Yet the poems in The Blue Rose are entirely consistent with the values of the poems there as well. My sense is that Crowe’s voice is as clear as a bell, and as identifiable. I wonder a little as the disjunct between the professed position and the actual work, as I do also at the production strategies of Mountain and Rivers Press. You can tell that the press put enormous care & love in the making this chapbook, and yet I find the inexpensive white paper & the glossy cover give it a feeling that brings out that antsy feeling in me all over again. Thirty years ago, this is a book that almost certainly would have been produced on a letterpress on good paper with a matte finish. The cover might have been printed on handmade stock with a deckle edge. That is a norm that I find rapidly receding in today’s poetry, where the bargain basement production values of Lulu.Com seem to be invading the entire poetry market. The integral nature of the cover photo might preclude that approach here, yet the book reflects the Mountains and Rivers “look” throughout, and it makes me sigh. The press has some tremendous authors, Cid Corman, Jonathan Greene, John Martone & Bob Arnold among them. Its format seems to shortchange them all. In much the same way, I wonder what it means to disown the idea of a “voice,” as Crowe does, when his own is so very clear. In both instances, there is a gap between what is on the page – which is patently wonderful – and the page itself & how people seem to be thinking about it. I’m puzzled as to what that must mean.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

 



Bill Dodd

1941 2009

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4270071366_6cb68b50ed_o.jpg

George Tsongas

1928 2010

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

 

Louis Armand’s
Avant-Post:
The Avant-Garde Under “Post” Conditions

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Talking with Amy King

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The 2009 MLA Offsite reading
in 18 videos

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Talking with Jennifer Scappettone

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Aimé Césaire’s Soleil cou coupé

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Hackers Attack Silliman’s Blog!”

Liu Xiaobo appeals sentence

Fighting for freedom of speech in Ireland

25 blasphemous quotes,
from Christ to Frank Zappa

& fighting for freedom of religion in Switzerland

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Quietism speaks up!
Anis Shivani
on the sins of the post-avant

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Brenda Iijima’s revv.you’ll – ution

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Latina poets speak

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On Lourdes Vazuez:
The Caribbean in Exile

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Readings by Canadian writers

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Talking with Mark Wallace

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Book Bombs
for the homeless

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The Lord of the Orchards,
a massive feature on the life & work of
Jonathan Williams,
has grown & grown
(&, hint, would make a great book)

Michael Lally on Jonathan Williams

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Don Share on Ray DiPalma

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Bob Perelman:
The Trouble with Genius

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Notes on Conceptualisms,
the movie

Robert Smithson & Nancy Holt
in the original version

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Talking with Niyi Osundare

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Reading report:
Judith Goldman & Adam Pendleton

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Kevin Killian on Leland Hickman

A reading of Tiresias @ the Poetry Project,
January 13
with Elaine Equi, Alan Gilbert, Pierre Joris,
Douglas A. Martin, Bill Mohr, Stephen Motika,
John Yau
, Marjorie Welish and more

“Against taxonomies

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Greenland’s languages are endangered

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Talking with Maysoon al-Eryani

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A tiny reading by Graham Foust

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The Middlemen:
How translators are boosting India’s writers

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Critique vs. cruelty

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Did Google steal Philip K. Dick’s ©
in naming its phone?

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When Lulu decides to collaborate with your text …

Some of what you aren’t seeing (yet)
can be found here & here

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Talking with Ange Mlinko

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“Worst famous poem ever?”
Invictus

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Big Bridge
in the Crescent City

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Louis Zukofsky
& the Transformation of
a Modern American Poetics

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“From Heuristic to Aleatory Procedures:
or, ‘Toward Writing the Accident’”
(reg. req.)

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Talking with Matthew Zapruder

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Yosano Akiko
& the Birth of the Female Voice
in Modern Japanese Poetry

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Australia’s new TV show,
Bush Slam

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Breyten Breytenbach’s
Voice Over:
A Nomadic Conversation with
Mahmoud Darwish

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Hélène Cixous: Readings:
The Poetics of Blanchot, Joyce, Kafka, Kleist, Lispector & Tsvetayeva
(reg. req.)

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Ed Baker’s
very first reading ever
is online

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Responses to Ed SandersPoems for New Orleans

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Who’s Beat?
(& how retro am I?)

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Forgery bedevils Kerouac estate

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Even Alanis Morissette
is writing a Kerouac book

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Allen Ginsberg & the Harvard Psychedlic Club

Killing the Fifties

Patti Smith:
“Footnote to Howl”

Patti Smith:
Dream of Life
PBS website, with lots of extras

Ben Whishaw
on the Lucien Carr murder film

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Enshrining the Venice West Café

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Neeli Cherkovski on the Jane Crown Radio Show

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Handmade books
from the streets of Argentina

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Jillian Weise, cyborg poet

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Dave Brink’s The Caveat Onus

Talking with Dave Brinks

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Some illuminated,
illuminating texts

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The program for this year’s
Louisville Conference

(PDF available)

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Talking with Kirby Congdon

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The Ecstatic Peace
Poetry Journal
reading & performance series
@ White Columns
320 W. 13th Street, NYC
has a most interesting lineup

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The Oxford job is open again

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John Gallaher
on brevity in Ashbery’s Planisphere

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Alan Sondheim: Philosophy
(reg. req.)

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John Jeffcock,
a war poet for our times

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Bataille’s only known TV interview
(with English subtitles)

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Before Your Very Eyes

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Lydia Davis’ “The Cows,”
the movie

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Karri Kokko
has been publishing
a chapbook of vispo
each day so far this year

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Gerald L. Bruns:
On the Anarchy of Poetry & Philosophy:
A Guide for the Unruly
(reg. req.)

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Joseph Mitchell’s
Joe Gould’s Secret

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How to use an apostrophe

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Millions Poets
is set to start its fourth season

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Whom do you like to follow on Twitter?
(asked deep in the heart of Kansas)

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David Gewanter’s War Bird

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Aaron Belz’s
“30 Illegal Moves
in the Cloud-Shape Game”

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Talking with Rob Winger

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William Carlos Williams’
papers @ Yale

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A new job for an urban library:
social worker

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Andrew Motion on Frank O’Hara

On Elizabeth Bishop

On Alice Oswald

On Norman MacCaig

On Edward Thomas

Motion:
teachers fear poetry

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Dino Buzzati’s Poem Strip

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Joan Retallack:
The Poethical Wager

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Can old books save Timbuktu?

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Vera Pavlova on PBS Newshour

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Here come the e-readers

A deluge of devices

E-readers kindle new options

What defines an e-reader?

Skiff:
the largest & thinnest of e-readers

Tablet is the new book”

e-readers at CES

e-readers with 2 screens

Even Lady Gaga can’t battle e-reader buzz

These toys may all be duds

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Why doesn’t Game Change
change the publishing game?

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What you can learn
from the most pirated e-book

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Essentialism vs. socialization
of the feminine

Gender vs. sex

Reimagining the wedge

The Specter of Sex:
The Gendered Foundations
of Racial Formation
in the United States
(reg. req.)

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Cynthia Haynes:
Arctic Virgins: Élecriture & the Semiotics
of Circumpolar Icon(o)graphé
(reg. req.)

Writing Offshore:
The Disappearing Coastline
of Composition Theory”
(reg. req.)

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The “father” of Canadian literature

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A Kuwaiti poet of reason

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Tagmemic
for the Whole of Composition”
(reg. req.)

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7 best online literary mags

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Jonathan Lethem’s Brooklyn

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Lewis MacAdams
on Orhan Pamuk’s LA

The Museum of Innocence

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A poetry calendar

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Chesterton’s world
& what’s wrong with it

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Like the old Ithaca House Press,
a college publisher run by students

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New Orleans:
Surre(gion)al City

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The bicentennial of the death of
Mir Taqi Mir

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The Collected Essays of Robert Creeley

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Remembering Dennis Brutus

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Singular Women:
Writing the Artist

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Mark Bernstein:
“On Hypertext Narrative”

Shadows in the Cave:
Hypertext Transformations”

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There is no “raw” material

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Reading Eminescu in India

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Jerry Ward’s The Katrina Papers

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One of Issa’s strangest books,
Richard Lewis’ Of This World

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Christopher Beach:
The ABC of Influence

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A profile of Muztar Majaz

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Bill Griffiths:
A History of the Solar System

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Michael Lally
on making lists in the brain

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The Creeley tag in tumblr

&, natch, the Ron Silliman tag

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Green Apple’s 2009 best seller list

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Year’s “9 best” small press books

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Granary Books at Ohio State

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Ferlinghetti in ’66:
no place to go but in,
India

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T.V. Reed:
Fifteen Jugglers, Five Believers:

Literary Politics and the Poetics
of American Social Movements

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The MasterWriter demo

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Talking with Michael Turner

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A history of the memoir

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Words without Borders:
International flash fiction issue

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Poetry machine

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Helen Losse on the Jane Crown Poetry Show

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Paul Pines’
Last Call at the Tin Palace

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Sending off the archives

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Garrett Stewart’s
Reading Voices:
Literature & the Phonotext

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Gébé’s “Letter to Survivors”
(A graphic short fiction)

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John D’Agata’s
Lost Origins of the Essay

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Francisco Aragón
receives national Latino literary award

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Plus a prize for
Michelle A. Peñaloza

Butiki

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Jeffrey Knapp’s
Empire Nowhere:
England, America,
& Literature from Utopia to the Tempest

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Conrad DiDiodato
reading with the dead

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The anagram poems of Mike Smith

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Border poets collaborate for peace

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Shovel-ready words
that deserve to be unfriended

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Serge Gavronsky’s
Toward a New Poetics:

Contemporary Writing in France

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Don’t fear the e-reader

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Ty Miller’s Late Modernism:
Politics, Fiction, & the Arts Between the World Wars

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The MLA job market:
it ain’t personal

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Timothy Murphy’s
Wising Up the Marks:
The Amodern
(sic) William Burroughs

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Talking with Jacob McArthur Mooney

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Donald Wesling’s
The Chances of Rhyme:
Device & Modernity

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A death-of-a-bookstore tale
from Winnipeg

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But Black Oak is back!

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Holiday booksales down at B&N:
is it a trend?

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The supermarket & the indie bookshop

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The role of browsing
in the museum called
City Lights

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How to Save Journalism

Ted Cornwell’s

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Wai-Lim Yip’s
Diffusion of Distances:
Dialogues Between Chinese & Western Poetics

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The ghost of WG Sebald

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Contemporary Fiction
& the Ethics of Modern Culture

(reg. req.)

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Talking with John Sinclair

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35 years of Lake Wobegon jokes

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Christopher Reid
on winning the Costa Award

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Iman Moradi: GLTCH Aesthetics

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Deconstructing
Romeo & Juliet

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Talking with Jonathan Ball

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Sheila Delany’s
The Naked Text:
Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women

Marshall Leicester’s
The Disenchanted Self:
Representing the Subject in the Canterbury Tales

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Kristeva on Bakhtin
(reg. req.)

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A lesson plan
on the perception of time

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Virgil’s Georgics

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The lives of Montaigne

Montaigne’s message:
go with the flow

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Financial Lives of the Poets

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Reading & emotional intelligence

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The pickup artist poem

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Susan Howe & David Grubbs
on collaboration

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In Youth is Pleasure

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Skip Fox’s For To

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Mary Swander,
Iowa’s Poet Laureate

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Walter Bargen
reflects on term
as Missouri laureate

§

Charles Bernstein’s
American Poetry After 1975

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Honoring Richard Wilbur in Key West

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Leslie Heywood’s
Dedication to Hunger:
The Anorexic Aesthetic in Modern Culture

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Kate Zambreno’s
“Consciousness is a Surface:
Literary Style Icons”

That’s What Makes It Art, Bitch

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A UK TV book club

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Talking with Joseph Briggs

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Jeffrey Segall’s
Joyce in America

Maria Tymoczko’s
The Irish Ulysses

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Fiction dominates
TLS translation prizes

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In Vietnam,
foreigners “lap up” translations

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Andrei Biely:
Glossolalia
(reg. req.)

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Ben Okri has a poem emerging on Twitter

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Marta Ester Sáchez’
Contemporary Chicana Poetry

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Bayly & Bolaño
top Latin American book market
for 2010

Nazi Literature in the Americas

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Thomas de Quincy,
“odious little creep”

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Talking with Bill Zavatsky

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Sarkozy & Camus: WTF?

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Talking with James Ellroy

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Bakhtin: Speech Genres
(reg. req.)

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How to save newspapers
(with a hint from PETA)

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Understanding New Media
(reg. req.)

Visual Digital Culture
(reg. req.)

Digital Media Revisited
(reg. req.)

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Merleau-Ponty:
Sense and Non-Sense
(reg. req.)

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Talking with Daniel Nester

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Serious creative writing

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Male Writers Go Limp

Katie Roiphe condensed

Prose of the mid-century emo-boys

Wuss 1.0

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Judith Bernstein’s phalluses revealed

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Meiling Cheng’s
In Other Los Angeleses:
Multicentric Performance Art

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Dore Ashton’s
A Critical Study of Philip Guston

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Olmec sculpture coming to LA

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Bill Lavender’s collabs
with visual artists

William Allegrezza on Bill Lavender

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Unpacking Duchamp

The Private Worlds of Marcel Duchamp

Popular precedents to Duchamp

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Rene Magritte image collection
(reg. req.)

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Andre Breton:
Manifesto of Surrealism
(reg. req.)

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Each year Apex Art
(in NYC’s Tribeca)
has two “unsolocited exhibitions” --
here’s how to apply

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Michael Lally on
East of West LA

East of West LA website

With blurbs from Lewis MacAdams & Phil Jackson

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Linh Dinh & Peter van Agtmael
have an exchange
on use vs. exploitation
in war photography
after Linh is interviewed by Scott Bloemker

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Walter Benjamin & the aura of photography
(reg. req.)

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“The Lolita Complex in the work of Jock Sturges

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Nat Finkelstein,
Warhol’s court photographer

Is James Franco the next Warhol?

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Bill Berkson & Molly Springfield:
“Dear Molly Proust”

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California Modernist Art 1900 – 1950

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Sean Cubitt:
The Cinema Effect
(reg. req.)

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Cormac McCarthy’s reaction
to the film of The Road

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James Wagner & Thom Donovan
on violence in the cinema

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Pocahontas = Neytiri

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William Wees’
Light Moving in Times:
Studies in the Visual Aesthetics
of Avant-Garde Film

Mikhail Iampolski’s
The Memory of Tiresias:
Intertextuality and Film

Philip Kubelski’s
The Persistence of Memory:
Organism, Myth, Text

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Is Sherlock Holmes gay?

Holmes the amorphous

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Talking with Ralph Bakshi

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Animation 100 years ago:
Little Nemo: Watch Me Move

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The ten most-produced plays in America

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Behind the Postmodern Façade:
Architectural Change in Late Twentieth-Century America

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Rockpile on the road

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Yoko Ono
autobio
due in 2015

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NY Times obit for
Lhasa de Sela

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Erik Satie’s
Complete Works for Piano
performed by Aldo Ciccolini

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Vijay Iyer profiled in the Hindustan Times

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Boulez’s “gentle roar”

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2 very different
Dylan projects

Talking with Nina Goss
about Montague Street

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NEA survey
on public participation in the arts
(Only 8.3% of Americans read poetry in ’08,
down from 12.1% in 2002)

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Two Gentlemen of Lebowski

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Carl Kassell signs off Morning Edition

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Refried Elvis:
The Rise of the Mexican Counterculture

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Architect of the Monkeemobile

Lyrics to “Little GTO

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Pleasure, scarcity
& website addiction

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The Collapse of Philosophy
& Its Rebirth

(reg. req.)

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John Gallaher’s thoughts while reading

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Reading The Principles of Uncertainty

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Is the net changing how you think?

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Paul Rabinow essay collection
(reg. req.)

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Peter Burns:
Introduction to Tourism & Anthropology
(reg. req.)

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The Levinas Reader
(reg. req.)

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Critical theory arrives at B-school

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Žižek’s apocalypse

The Parallax View
(reg. req.)

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Google is good
for the study of history

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Don De Lillo:
“In the Ruins of the Future”
(reg. req.)

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You Are Not a Gadget

Short profile of Jaron Lanier

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Bourdieu’s Politics
(reg. req.)

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