A Mystery in Poetry, with a Foreword by the Future Guardian of the Letters
and an Afterword by Benjamin Hollander
Literary Criticism / Literary Nonfiction / Essay ISBN 9781946104014 / $19
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The Letters of Carla, the letter b: A Mystery in Poetry should be read not as literary or cultural criticism but as literature. The book is a truer and bolder specimen of what has been called crítica-ficción, and it brilliantly strips naked the absurdity of contemporary interpretation. This mystery in poetry will hopefully make readers realize that a dispute based on interpretations which substitute poetics and history (what Olson would call "the WORK") for second hand academic opinions on KULCHUR and identity is not merely pointless, but dangerous. -- Ricardo Cázares Graña
Carla's project is an important, incomparable, astonishing book for the long run. One feels she has been a long-held secret, patiently waiting for a decadent, entrenched time of poetic idolatry -- one that would call forth her utterly serious and deeply humorous redeeming presence. A presence that is a cleansing comeuppance, even as that may take some time to sink in. -- Kent Johnson
A polemic, a dispute, an essai, a history of real persons in poetry, of agon and salient entanglement. An investigation, an epistle. A romp a ride, but open as conclusion. Across boundaries of time and place these ideas sing and let us serve an elusive poetic dream -- Clara Bow perhaps. Like a Le Carre spymaster, this Carla, the letter b., is one of the ghosts whose imaginative skillful (means & motives one cannot grasp, and yet she leads us on." Wallace Stevens and Charles Olson would be delighted. Kudos to the "forsworn author." -- Anne Waldman
Benjamin Hollander (1952-2016) lived for the past three decades in San Francisco, after moving there with his wife, Rosemary Manzo, in 1978. He taught English, Writing, and Critical Thinking, primarily at Chabot College, in Hayward. He passed away on November 21, 2016. His many books include The Book of Who Are Was (Sun and Moon), Levinas and the Police Part 1 (Chax), Vigilance (Beyond Baroque), Rituals of Truce and the Other Israeli (Parrhesia), and In the House Un-American (Clockroot).