I feel I should list all the websites on home improvement I've been consulting because that is where the bulk of my reading has been lately. Learned a lot about joint compound this weekend.
In between that . . .
Kate Greenstreet's Case Sensitive and Katie Degentesh's The Anger Scale. There could hardly be two more different books. One lyric and poem essay and beautiful dwelling of ideas. One a new deviant explicitly political flarf full of nasty language. Insert discussion about great diversity of US poetries here.
Case Sensitive suggests that there need be no divide between the associative connections of poetry and the extended thinking of the essay. This is a book full of luminous footnotes, details, and attentive readings. In a moving meditation on “Great Women of Science” that is framed as a car trip across country, Agnes Martin shows up with her question of “You say you want to do something. Or you say: what can I do?” An extended piece on salt ruminates on what it means when we say that salt has lost its savor. Case Sensitive strings together a series of moments to create something resonate, large, and inclusive. Or as the book reminds at its end, “all messages join, somewhere.”
The psychiatric industry’s tests are essentially a database of all that our society wants to expel under the rubric of mental instability. Katie Degentesh’s The Anger Scale uses the MMPI as its source and from that writes a series of poems that take as normal all that the MMPI would like to pathologize. This is a scary book with a complicated politics. It is an uneasy and thus all the more crucial read.
After this, one more and then I need to take blurb break and finish up this dumb prose book.