Dark Ladies, by Steve McCaffery
Dark Ladies is an explosive meditation on death and laughter cast as both a Menippean masque and a user’s guide to the tragi-comic. Mixing erudition with illogicality and vaudeville vulgarity it pays homage to Shakespeare by both erasure and incorporation. Preserving the end rhymes of all 154 of his sonnets, in mirror-reverse order, and embedding stage directions from his comedic and tragic plays, it offers a grotesque repurposing of the bard’s great themes. Published to coincide with Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary, written in large part during the epoch of George W. Bush and dedicated to the dead and dying on a continuing basis, it advances a truly pataphysical vision of a haunting question. If death is the real solution to life, is laughter the imaginary solution to death?
Lizard, by Sarah Rosenthal
In Lizard, Rosenthal explores the creaturely membranes that lie between the known-social and the unknown-social. When racified nations, nationified peoples, and “self-evident” identities of every make threaten to squash the efflorescence of Life’s lusty reach toward the stars, Lizard is born and scampers about. But Rosenthal’s sense of Fable eschews morals and maxims in favor of claiming a terrain from which the Para-Human can come into being. Slowly, tentatively, and then brashly, Lizard begins to obverse the world (while keenly observed herself). The resulting Kabbalistic strokes are as patently hilarious as they are intelligently perplexing. This is bone instructive poetry. I love it. — Rodrigo Toscano
Chapbook by Saba Syed Razvi. Limited to 100 copies.
Cover image hand painted by Cynthia Miller. Books are hand sewn with red linen thread. Cover printing is letterpress, with Gloucester Std Old Style and Garamond types.
Luscious, glimmering poems of life, desire, vision, and imagination.
Cacophony of Bells: the Origin of Disquiet
Fernando, the self you see reflected
in the liquor in your glass is not
your self. He follows you, though,
commenting on the silences you resume.
Can you blame him if he emerges
sometimes, holding your hand while you
hold the pen? Lover of ink, he is
in love with your blood.
What he doesn’t see when he looks
back at you is like the sound of breaking
glass, sliver of bells crackling
between your teeth.
He will consume you, Fernando: do not
look at him.
Poetry. ISBN 978-1-946104-00-7. 104 pages. $17 US.
Control and beauty, composition and precision: like one who looks through a pinhole camera and from that vantage notes and examines the unexpected, the near, the never seen before, Gaspar Orozco, a poet, almost an entomologist, almost a Buddhist monk, brings to the eyes, tongue and ears of the attentive reader wisps of a reality, a hyperreality, that flickers for a moment and then is gone. Poet of lucid verse, of contrasts and tensions, Autocinema confirms his status as that rarest of rare birds, an idiosyncratic and powerful voice amidst the crowded flock of contemporary Mexican poets. —Rocío Cerón
We see movies and become them, and then they begin another, transformed existence. The art of filmmaking has engendered a counter-art of which Gaspar Orozco shows himself a master: the making of a movie by a mind become camera, deep in the realm of the unfilmable and almost unsayable. A sunken screen image—it might be from Melies or Vigo, Wong Kar-wai or Edgardo Cozarinsky—undergoes a sea-change into a spectacle for an inner screening room. —Geoffrey O’Brien
Entangled Bank, by James Sherry.
Poetry. ISBN 978-0-9862640-8-5. 90 pages. Published November 1, 2016.
Entangled Bank opens with a set of five line poems dedicated to the “beauty” of various poets, a nuanced and generous version of Joseph Kaplan’s infamous Kill List, and concludes with a wrenchingly honest prose piece on Sherry’s correspondence with the late poet Stacy Doris on the limits of empathy. Between these gestures towards a troubled yet significant human connection, Sherry places poems in a variety of styles, as if styles were species in an ecosystem, a veritable “entangled bank.” Often he writes with scathing wit on the degradation of the environment and the fraudulence of the financial system. One line admonishes, “Wake up, this is about you.” And it is. You’re going to want it. — Rae Armantrout
Taking his theme from Darwin’s “entangled bank,” James Sherry pries open present life on the planet to reveal a tangled flow of vegetation, money, politics, beauty, selves, distributed networks, fish, nation states, death and friendship. “Couching nature as bundles and linkages,” he does not side-step the perils of hybridity but dives in head first: “Tamales of Sparta rolled global.” A dazzling display of formal invention leads up to an intimate, brutally candid chronicle of friendship and illness that is as clear-headed as it is passionate. And how can you not love a poem called “Memoir” that begins, “Dawn again / Fuck!” — Kit Robinson
Unbeauty will take you about as far as you can throw it, appeasing no one and nothing, all for good measure. James Sherry does not beware of entangling alliances, he foments them. — Charles Bernstein
Poetry/Essays/Literature 122 pages
How do we live our lives as poets?
In these three critical essays, plus an afterword, Michael Gottlieb addresses issues faced by us all, even if we are not poets or artists. Michael Gottlieb is the author of nineteen books including most recently, I Had Every Intention, Dear All, and Memoir and Essay, the authoritative recounting of the early days of the Language school. He was one of the editors of Roof, the foundational 1970s and 80s poetry magazine. A number of his works have been adopted for the stage, including his definitive 9/11 poem, The Dust, hailed by Ron Silliman as one of the “five greatest Language poems.” The Dust was stages by fiona Templeton and company at the Poetry Project at St. Marks on the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
Learn what it is to be a poet, what it takes, in order to grasp and live in the art and the life. One essential need is listening. For Gottlieb, “I am still at least somewhat capable of taking the first step when it comes to doing what we do as poets, that is: listening.”
An Intermittent Music 1975-2010, by Ted Pearson
ISBN 9780986264092. Poetry. $24.
O! learn to read what silent love hath writ:
To hear with eyes belongs to love’s fine wit.
An Intermittent Music luxuriously shows us the capaciousness of Ted Pearson’s work—surprising, perhaps, given what may have appeared to be a minimalist tack. We see that Pearson’s has always been a long game, no matter the exacting finesse of its close negotiations. The poems obey an abiding fidelity to the intervallic sway whereby capacity does indeed accrue, one suture, one synapse, at a time. This is desert island work, to be savored and to be returned to again and again.
— Nathaniel Mackey
Over the course of thirty-five years, Ted Pearson has been incrementally publishing a masterpiece, present here before us at last within the covers of this book as An Intermittent Music. He describes it as “a serial work comprising eighteen books in four movements,” and it is therefore possible to situate it alongside key serial works by poets like Jack Spicer, George Oppen, Robert Creeley, Leslie Scalapino, and Barrett Watten. As is true of work by all of these (otherwise very different) poets, the parts of An Intermittent Music resonate within an evolving dialectic, intentionally avoiding a final chord. Writing poetry that is intensely bound to both song and intellect, Pearson has been ever alert to matter in its infinite detail, to social as well as erotic desire, to liminal identities, and to the circulating systems of idiom and opinion that construct the social spaces we inhabit. This magnificent work begins almost plaintively, building to the great crescendo of its end. An Intermittent Music tracks Pearson’s ever-expanding attention to the ever-increasing associative complex that is lived experience. By the end of the book, the music is impossible and the music is everywhere, generating exquisite, ubiquitous suspense. This is a book to read avidly and over and over again.
— Lyn Hejinian
Letterpress Covers on lovely pink papers, printed in two colors. Each book with an individually painted image by Cynthia Miller.
Text of book printed in two colors. Each copy hand numbered. 7 inches x 10 inches. 28 pages. Bound via hand sewing into pink paper covers with French flaps.
Poems are from an ongoing collaboration by Ted Greenwald and Charles Bernstein in which one author sends the other a few lines, and the next responds, until they decide the poem is finished. First poem of SHORT COURSE is “Breaking News,” which begins
Day turns paragraph
Proxy comma sighs
Medical meadow A
Séance in triple meter
Dull determination hedge
On silicone arrivals
If you or loved one
Without you and no they
No this magneto
Tango goes by code name
Divine pairings: tea & . . .
Mango presto chaser (to go)
All in all, the book is an inventive and experimental delight of language playing in the fields of the mind, and vice versa.
Published in April 2016, hand sewn by Charles Alexander (the book designer) and students at UHV Center for the Arts, where Charles Bernstein visited on April 28 and 29, 2016.
Arrive on Wave: Collected Poems, by Gil Ott, edited by Trace Peterson, Gregory Laynor, & Eli Goldblatt
Poetry: 330 pages
published Nov 1, 2016
Foreword by Eli Goldblatt
Introduction by Trace Peterson
Afterword by Charles Alexander
Alas, here are poems that serve as evidence we had among us a spirit of a man whose fertile generosity was not limited to his literary and arts activism, but very much the warp and woof of his art and intellect. Gil Ott’s poetry aims to disintegrate powers of meaning while simultaneously presages radical possibilities of thought and speech which reflect the full-range of his restorative vision.
— Major Jackson
Gil Ott has always been this gigantic presence in poetry to me. For a while I thought maybe it was because he was one of the first real poets I met as a teenager. But it is actually because he is a real poet, an absolute poet, always kept in the present tense no matter how far away his body we knew has become. To garner and sustain the favor of the Muse is a skill apparent in this extraordinary book. If you believe in the strength of poetry, in poems as heat-seeking missiles capable of intercepting a bleak disregard for life then here is a gigantic poetry to smother the worst!