Friday, March 19, 2004

Props to Jeff Clark on the republication of The Little Door Slides Back by no less a press than Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Ever since I first read that book around 1999 or so, I've considered it a small masterpiece of contemporary surrealism—reading it is like walking on a razor rising from the acid pool of Clark's unconscious. A book as influential for me as my namesake's big-deal book Madonna anno domini. Both struck me, and still strike me, as doing post-Language writing that takes gender at least partly into account. It's my belief that the varieties of ecriture feminine that have manifested in this country and Canada is the best demonstration available of the actual efficacy of the Language project—I think the poets associated with How(ever) and How2 have actually partly realized the goal of destroying and remixing patriarchal language, making possible new modes of being in writing and thinking. The work of male poets who participate in some way in this project often seems to me to be more strongly motivated than that which has no further goal than manifesting edginess for its own sake. There's a certain self-conscious Baudelairean sadism that manifests in both of these books—Clark even has a number of poems with the title, "Demonologue," which makes me think he's playing with the maudit's brand of Satanism as a way to talk about the intrusions of the Real. Anyway, it's a great book and you should pick it up if you don't already have the Sun & Moon version (which has a better cover; but I think the design of the text is much nicer in the FSG version). FSG! Seamus Heaney, John Ashbery, Carol Ann Duffy, Derek Walcott, and now... Jeff Clark. Who'dve thunk it?

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