Tuesday, January 17, 2006

More Short Takes

- Ladies and gentlemen, I'm pleased to present an exciting new press to you, Apostrophe Books, edited by Richard Greenfield and Mark Tursi. Please send them your brilliant manuscripts.

- Kasey is back and in excellent form, thinking with considerable nuance about lyric vs. narrative (I take his point to be that this is not only a false opposition, but acts as a de facto false hegemony) and Moxley vs. Collins. Provocative, clarifying stuff: "The real reason mainstream poetry is bad is because any art produced by a complacently 'established' class of artists will inevitably reflect the vicious, chauvinistic, and insipid values of the interests that underwrite that class's position of 'job security.'"

- Reading, mouth agape, Aaron Kunin's Folding Ruler Star, a Miltonic meditation on the erotics of shame. A remarkable book. (Has anyone written anything, a book or essay, about Jewish readers of Milton? Why do I feel such an affinity with this blind polymathic Puritan? Perhaps it has something to do with Milton's uncanny ability (I speak of the textual "Milton") to be both canonical and an outsider, theologically grandiloquent and syntactically odd.)

- Johannes Göransson proposes a School of Elegance as a kind of accessory or corollary to the School of Quietude. I'm not sure I believe in the odd beta-male patriarchy he attributes to it (if you're going to name Michael Palmer as a member of this school, why not Ann Lauterbach?), but it's interesting to compare this to Kasey's Moxley-Collins post: the combined implication is that the School o' Elegance is close neighbors with Quietude because its innovations are strictly formal, and therefore they have a toehold in the academy. As for my own implied membership in this school, it's not quite for me to say. It's true that Eliot was a formative influence, I've never disputed that; it's also true that my attitude toward my inner Eliot is a highly ambivalent one. Once you understand something of your own grain, it's natural to want to see what happens when you go against it.

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