Despite publishing his work in Poetry in his mid-twenties, despite hanging at Rexroth’s anarcho-art salons on Portero Hill, Writing the Silences is only Richard O. Moore’s second book, decades of poems—a lifetime of poems—pared into one stark collection. Bomblog’s Peter Moysaenko reviews.
Before we even crack its cover, Rick Snyder’s first full-length, Escape from Combray, promises action. As the title references the hometown of Proust’s memorable, nameless front man, so does it hint at themes of origin and transience.
I’d never heard of Srečko Kosovel, but that shouldn’t come as too great a shock. Raised in a desolate region of Slovenia, educated in Ljubljana, dead by 22, Kosovel is just now reaching the New York shore. Since his death in 1926 varying collections of his poetry have been released. Look Back, Look Ahead marks the first American edition. Read on…
“You aren’t supposed to strive in Wyoming,” says city reporter Melanie in a selection from Alyson Hagy’s newest title, a series of short stories set amidst the raw and heavy American West.
The diction pops incessantly, and cuts like “Dear Aging Anarchist,” and “Sweet Spot” serve up a sense of rock ‘n’ roll poetics, brute and oblique. Like rock ‘n’ roll though, in Broder’s verse, wanton escape often loops back to the fears of the forbears, where freedom of choice comes at the cost of deep-seated disappointment.
Josh has a bunch of degrees. He’s also written a nice stack of books. If you read a poem of his you might agree that there’s something wild-eyed and ghostly about it. His newest collection of verse is called Selenography, about two handfuls of sprawling poems accompanied by the Polaroid photography of Tim Rutili, frontman of the band Califone, and Josh’s friend. Part 2 of a 2 part conversation.
Thom Andersen’s 2003 cine-essay is a dense and nearly unrelenting 169-minutes of footage culled from hundreds of different films which, set to pleasantly acerbic narration.
Night fell cold and clear down Ninth Avenue, people in overcoats ambling arm-in-arm or otherwise whisking past with leather folios in hand, the waxing moon above a dome of citylight. Past heavy glass and distressed metal doors opened the Chelsea Market, its air heavy with smells of bread and coffee and meat. Along the corridor emporium, seated before durable cafe tables, men and women drank from heavy cups and plucked at pastry as if in a dream of some impossibly well-stocked European village.
X is for Xerox, Gen, and the kind films Steak Mtn. designs sets for. Peter Moysaenko lunches with him and discusses the process and degradation behind SM’s transgressive visions. His recent work for bands such as Against Me! and The Weight raises the bar for new-classic rock imagery, and his upcoming exhibitions in Los Angeles and Minneapolis promise to titillate. Considering himself one of the “Xerox kids,” Steak Mtn. is a veritable punk auteur, contradictory as that may sound.
If I must, I will begin with an apology—I’m sorry. I missed the first band. I overheard they were working a catchy doom groove, by which I mean plowing through songs marked by a devilish manipulation of tone and an over-riding dedication to the riff, blown-out, stripped-down blues-psych rising from a pit of resin at the pace of a dinosaur skeleton.
Melissa Broder puts it on the line—practical fantasy, art as oppression, pasties and pole dancing, cross-genre collab, faith, fashion, booze and acid, brooding teens. Yeah, and poetry.
Poetry can get tiring. Writing it. Reading it. Writing about reading it. Reading about reading it. Writing about writing it. Reading about writing it. There’s a whole mess of big poems, little poems, middling poems—a crushing, extant lot of beauty and ego to reckon with or not, to revisit or forget about. The stacks—if not the stakes—of poetry keep rising, and the restless complex of it all goes on shape-shifting, calling out codes for radical consciousness from the void that serves as base and vertex. It consumes lives, and its feed can make a grotesque lattice to relax in. Mortals like us, though, we prefer some meat on the bones. Because we don’t only get weary—we stay hungry. And with all this word around to always catch up on, it feels damn fine finding a rare slab of poems fit enough to eat.
Melissa Broder’s Meat Heart embodies that strain of sustenance, that sort of psychosomatic excitement most valiant art more or less tries to pull off. It’s her second full-length book, and as with the first, When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother, it’s a sleek machine hauling gnarly cargo—persons, places, things, things, things. “Championship,” which falls toward the opening of Meat Heart, likely puts it better, just about rallying, “Let’s / write a love song for heavyweights / and by heavyweights / I mean everyone.” Because Melissa’s projections—more pop personist than personal—lay forth, and are laid upon, a sense of spirit contingent on body, we get more than love songs. We get skewed prayers. We get banquets. Transfigurations and showdowns, tough ghosts and fake heavens, escapades through culture-struck waking dreams and flaming cities of memory. Her poems don’t bore or bear down. They beam oracle energy. They pump a music of visions for the life-lusty death dance.
Josh has a bunch of degrees. He’s also written a nice stack of books. If you read a poem of his you might agree that there’s something wild-eyed and ghostly about it. His newest collection of verse is called Selenography, about two handfuls of sprawling poems accompanied by the Polaroid photography of Tim Rutili, frontman of the band Califone, and Josh’s friend. Part 1 of a 2 part conversation.
Peter Moysaenko talks with poet Mark Strand about books as objects, collage, and the difference between “mystery” and “ignorance.”
Mark Strand’s one of those poets with the power to make (good) poetry (an incremental bit more) popular. His best poems are deceptively straightforward, and their spooky genius resonates with readers in that way spooky genius often does, as a memory you had once but misplaced. His work doesn’t hand out revelation though—it prompts questions to questions. It’s an invitation to the exhilaration of uncertainty and the generative potential of loss. And his talent is prodigious. On top of all the verse (and that Pulitzer, which I nearly neglected to mention), he’s penned children’s literature, critical essays, and short stories. More recently, he’s responsible for a gorgeous book of collage and prose poems from a gorgeous press you probably haven’t heard of yet.
With over a dozen LPs under his belt, Bill Callahan’s voice has taken on some further gravitas, but he sounds spirited as ever. Callahan has just published a book with Drag City—Letters to Emma Bowlcut . I’m not sure if it’s a novella, an epistle, or one hell of a big poem. But questions like that are beside the point.