September 30, 2009

Update: more Keith Nathan Brown on elimae-- "The Tongue"

(Another fantastic poem. Read it by clicking here. KNB on abjective, that would be.) And! New! "The Tongue", a wonderfully sensuous and trippy one, formally exquisite and juicy as can be-- just what we expect from the man.

September 24, 2009

"Mojo No Mo", "Diploma/cy" and more by Keith Nathan Brown at Word for/Word

Keith Nathan Brown has some poems at word for/word, an incredibly inventive poetry site. Infused in the visual and structural intelligence of these poems lies the fragility of our human existence. These are dark, beautiful poems that do not shy away from moments of clarity and straightforward language in the otherwise sea of chaotic fears and bone deep pain of life, all presented by molding language and form with a sense of geometric wonder. I thought of The Gold Bug Variations, the only book I've read by Richard Powers (and that was 19 years ago), and how math and language are the rudiments of our bipedal life that have continually developed in complexity while remaining to be the simple facts of how we express ourselves, see the world, reach out from our own skins. Brown embodies bothness--his nearly clinical approach to the mechanical aspects of language contains the soaring, anguished emotions of our hearts and souls. Truly remarkable- click here.

I'll continue with saying this: this is not language for language sake, which stains so much experimental prose, that hollow stuff that looks pretty or clever but reveals nothing. There is nothing juvenile in its showiness. Brown reveals plenty. It's as if he's tunneled back to the real reason that modernism sprung into existence approximately a hundred years ago: he turns language around, manipulates it, to better get at the exact opposite of cold, bloodless formalism (which is what experimentalism can become in the wrong hands, a new kind of cardboard cutout), turning it into the tool that it was always meant to be, a tool to open up the inner workings of our troubled, lush, unconscious minds. (This is not to say there isn't playfulness evident- there is. And playfulness has its place and purpose, but to only be concerned with play is an empty cleverness. And Brown emphatically is the opposite of empty. That said, I'm a huge fan of Alfred Jarry...but that would involve a lengthier discussion for another time.)

September 18, 2009

New Books in the Mail

I just opened a bunch of packages. Alice, the Sausage by Sophie Jabes (with an accent over the e, thanks Steven Trull), an issue of Third Coast because it has a Scott Wrobel award winning essay in it, a Grievous Jones package that includes Last Days of the Cross by Joseph Ridgwell, Next to Guns by Lara Konesky, Baby, I'm Ready to Go by Melissa Mann and a Grievous Jones T-shirt! And lastly, the movie The Room directed by Tommy Wiseau (thanks Ron Baldwin!), the movie Let The Right One In (thanks Steven Trull again!) and the book, Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.