Sunday, April 23, 2006

Happy as a pig in you-know-what with the journals that have come in this weekend: the Lisa Robertson issue of Chicago Review (which includes among other goodies an essay by Cal Bedient, "The Predicament of Modern Poetry (The Lyric at the Pinch-Gate)" that I'd like to see become part of a larger conversation) and the premier issue of PRACTICE: NEW WRITING + ART, which is both a beautiful object and shrewdly edited—a lot of the work featured there straddles that line between my two favorite modes, the postmodern baroque and social formalism. On the one hand there's the poems from Christi Kramer's sequence titled Reading 'The Throne' that purports to be "an ethnography-in-poetry of Iraqi Kurds exiled and living as refugees in Harrisonburg, Virginia"; an interview with and two poems by the Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic, who advocates a strongly "documentary dimension to [his] work, which hopefully brings us closer to the truth"; and an essay by Betsy Andrews called "A Huge and Important Thing: The Body P\oet/olitic." On the other hand, there's a poem from soon-to-be-SOON reader Dan Beachy-Quick that he says is "the result of a fusion of Plato's Phaedrus and the event to come" (the "event" being the birth of his first child); a collaboration between G.C. Waldrep & John Cross that ranges gorgeous words and phrases in ragged columns down the page; and some acutely synesthetic poems by Eleanor Graves: "Sweet flowers sweat bitterly in the mouth." In the comments box of my last post, "Spicergirl" complains that I didn't really answer "Snapshots'" question about how theoretical poetry might be made available to the common reader: I might now direct both of them toward PRACTICE, because most of the poems are preceded by one-page statements about the work that are designed to make it more accessible.

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