May 01, 2005

David Larsen, The Thorn. Mixture of freakishly nonsensical and right on the mark. It has the potential to be a book that poets are cultishly devoted to.

Gary Sullivan, Elsewhere. Also graphic. I think I adore it. Sullivan always has wonderful image sense. The images move from capitalist classics (the black mommy cat with the kitten in her mouth; the milky boy) to the more specifically weird (a woman with a being coming out of her back, its tongue licking a cup someone/thing is holding out to it). The use of capitalist classic images reminds me a lot of some of LRSN's work. But Elsewhere also raises all those issues of what happens when you deal with "elsewhere"s. The book collects phrases in English and images that Sullivan saw while in Japan.

I wonder how many people would see this as straight up orientalism? How many academics trained in the cultural studies of the 90s would complain? I was thinking of this story that Ann Vickery told me about how she did a paper on some work by Leslie Scalapino and talked some about how it avoided an orientalizing (I can't remember the details) and how all the people at the conference were like no.

It all comes back to that how can one talk about elsewhere issue without falling into all the traps. Because the answer is not to not talk about it.

So while I think that many could say that Elsewhere walks close to aren't those japanese people cute/crazy. That its respect of weirdness keeps it backing away from this. Also, because Japan is such a specific global/economically dominant place right now, it is hard to say that the book is perpetuating classic cliches about Japanese-ness. It might be more about global culture finally.

Laynie Brown, Drawing of a Swan Before Memory.

Jennifer Moxley, Often Capital. The earlier poems. Interesting to see the politics question so to the front.

Also . . .

Celia Lowe, "Between Human and Wild Profusion: Cultures of Science, Nation, and Biodiversity Conservation in an Indonesian Archipelago."

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