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27 February 2011

Received and Recommended

[ NOTE: Most of the titles below are available for review at Tarpaulin Sky. Titles marked with asterisks are hand-bound books or special editions and are limited, if still available. Publishers please mail books to Reviews, Tarpaulin Sky Press, PO Box 189, Grafton, VT 05146 ]

Harold Abramowitz, A House on a Hill (Part 3) (Slash Pine Press, 2010)

Vyt Bakaitis, Deliberate Proof (Lunar Chandelier Press, 2010)

Judith Baumel, The Kangaroo Girl (GenPop Books, 2011)

Lynn Behrendt, petals, emblems (Lunar Chandelier Press, 2010) 

Dan Boehl, Kings of the F**king Sea; images by Jonathan Marshall (Birds, LLC, 2011)

Julian T. Brolaski, gowanus atropolis (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011)

Summer Browning, Either Way I'm Celebrating (Birds, LLC, 2011)

Lily Brown, Rust or Go Missing (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011) Lily's poem in Tarpaulin Sky #13 is just one of the rusty jewels not missing from Brown's fab first full-length collection--poems that also appeared in Cannibal, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Handsome, Octopus, and Typo, as well as other journals we love. "Lily Brown’s sonorous and cerebral poems can fire synapses you never knew you had," says Graham Foust, and we tend to agree.

Kate Colby, The Return of the Native (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011)

Denver Quarterly, Vol. 45. No. 2 Features TSky contributors Julie Doxsee, Brian Henry, and Bernard Noel (translated by Elena Rivera), along with a host of other greats--Cynthia Arrieu-King, Michelle Auerbach, Bruce Beasley, Janet Bowdan, James Capozzi, Chelsea Dappen, Laura Eve Angel, Elaine Equi, Rebecca Farivar, Thomas Fink, Norman Finkelstein, Craig Foltz, Bill Freind, Elisa Gabbert, Carmen Gimenez Smith, Robert Glick, Joseph Hansen, Terri Kapsalis, Lily Ladewig, Patrick Leonard, Eugene Lim, Bridget Lowe, Sara Michas-Martin, David Milofsky, Eric Pankey, Ray Ragosta, Jo Sarrzotti, Kate Schapira, Aaron Shunin, Arthur Sze, and Tony Trigilio. Cover art by Jeff Kallet.

* Spencer Dew, Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (Another New Callipgraphy, 2010)  In addition to Dew's moving and complicated examination of grief, via (an) architecture--but an architecture that somehow also manages to transcend time and space--the book object features a "DIY scale model of the cathedral at Chartres and transparent overlays." The publishers are "so bold as to suggest that the book is a rather handsomely prepared object," and we agree. We sincerely thank them for sending us a copy and hope that they will send a second if someone wants to review it, because we definitely do not want to part with this book.

Joe Elliot, Homework (Lunar Chandelier Press, 2010)

Fence Vol.13, No. 2, Winter 2011 includes work by TSky contributors Lance Philips and Matthew Henriksen, among lesser-knowns such as Rae Armantrout, Lydia Davis, John Kinsella, Marjorie Welish, et al. Edited by Rebecca Wolff, with the help of TSky Press author Max Winter, as well as Brian Blanchfield, Katy Lederer, Farid Matuk, Mendi Lewis Obadike, Lynne Tillman, and Charles Valle, et al.

Harryman and Hejinian's The Wide Road, designed by HR Hegnauer

Carla Harryman and Lyn Hejinian, The Wide Road (Belladonna Books, 2011) We're pretty sure that no one needs us to say "run out and buy this book." Newsflash: TSky gives thumbs up to the work of Harryman and Hejinian. So what we'd like to say instead is this: The Wide Road could have been printed on a thirty-dollar HP and bound with rubber bands and tape, and the text still would be great,  but what makes this particular edition a joy to hold is the design by HR Hegnauer, incorporating cover art by Nancy Blum. With a 7"x8" trim size, 148 pages of creamy, heavyweight paper, generous 1.5" margins, and even pumpkin-colored endpapers!, this is the kind of book that reminds you why all is not lost for the medium. Seeing that it was printed under the guidelines of the Green Press Initiative just makes the feeling that much more snuggly. Kudos to Blum, Hegnauer, and Belladonna for a thoughtful and pleasing design befitting the work of Harryman and Hejinian. Brill, brill, and brill.

Matthew Henriksen, Ordinary Sun (Black Ocean, 2011). TSky peep Matt Henriksen's long-awaited full-length collection of poetry, Ordinary Sun, dawns at last--thanks to Janaka Stucky's Black Ocean. Henriksen's 100-plus-page collection, anything but ordinary or sunny, rather appears lit from the inside (by something like a surreal earnestness under the glow of Manson lamps) as it finds its serial way, alternately mesmerizing and gutting the reader.

Kristen Kaschock, A Beautiful Name for a Girl (Ahsahta Press, 2011) Janet Holmes snatched this baby before TSky Press could ('least that's how we remember it), but we were lucky enough to publish embryonic versions. "Here're all new episodes of Plath's planetary mind" says once and future  TSky Press author Joyelle McSweeney, to which we add as touched by fetal meth syndrome, by which we mean, "There have been other mothers-- / ones who dipped sudden, strange hands and lips / into the red, let their eyes / /grow / too bright to take," but only one wrote "Angel, Boxed: A Poetics" and asked, "If hacking, if pieces are no option, can an angel be contorted into a box? . . .Or would that preclude genocide, retribution--be 'unnatural.'?"

L.S. Klatt, Cloud of Ink (Winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; University of Iowa Press, 2011)

Janice Lee, Kērotakis (Dog Horn Publishing, 2010) We had the privilege of reading Janice Lee's book when G.I.L.L was knee-high to a Roomba. We loved it then, and love it more that both the text and stunning layout & typography are merged and bound. TSky Mystic and Guide Bhanu Kapil likes it as well: "With enormous tenderness and craft - - (this writer is a design genius in a way that extends to the wiring of the lines themselves) -- Lee asks her readers: What erodes an originating point? Why do people disappear? What brings a body back to the optic and sensate domains, where it thrives, where it has a love, where it had a mother? I am not sure that this book answers these question, but it repeats them until the reader's blood rises in response. Until the reader, alchemically, becomes - also - 'red.'" Says Vanessa Place: "If Frankenstein’s monster was not taken for granted, or was taken as the a priori product of our current mind, it would be named G.I.L.L., and made by Janice Lee. Lee’s is our neurological nightmare and native hope: the act of consciousness grasping towards itself, which is the original act of writing itself."

Dora Malech, Say So (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2011)

Filip Marinovich, And If You Don't Go Crazy I'll Meet You Here Tomorrow (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011) 

Shane McCrae, Mule (Cleveland Sate University Poetry Center, 2011)

rob mclennan, Wild Horses (University of Alberta Press, 2010)

James Meetze, dayglo (Ahsahta Press, 2011)

Fred Muratori, The Spectra (Stockport Flats, 2011)

* Amber Nelson, Diary of When Being with Friends Feels Like Watching TV (Slash Pine Press, 2010) It's about bloody time we lay hands on a chapbook by TSky contributor, and Alice Blue co-founder and poetry editor, Amber Nelson. Not only is her chapbook actually better than TV, it's bound by a magnet. Yeah. You won't get that everywhere. We don't want to part with our copy, but if you want a review copy of your own, we could probably convince Slash Pine to send another.

* Diane di Prima, The Mysteries of Vision: Some Notes on H.D. (Center for Humanities, Graduate Center, City University of New York, 2011) Series 2, Number 2, of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, edited by TSky Press author Ana Božičević, presents Diane di Prima's The Mysteries of Vision: Some Notes on H.D., originally published in 1988 by Am Here Press. We probably don't need to add anything to sweeten a deal such as di Prima + H.D., other than to say this new edition is not only a welcome "score" in the Lost and Found, but is beautifully designed and printed, thanks to Megan Mangus and Peter Viegas. di Prima on Hermetic Definition, which "explores the great Mystery of connection between love and death, the identity for all poetic purposes of sexual love and death. . . . In one sense . . . the final product of H.D.'s work with Freud. But it is much more than that. . . .  The final flowering of love, (in all its dimensions: physical, emotional spiritual) at the very point of death. Love is the angel which leads us into the shadow." Our particular copy is signed with less lethal love from the editor, but we can probably rustle up an "unloved" copy, if you want to review it. Which we hope you do.

Puerto del Sol, Vol. 45. No. 2, Winter 2010; includes work by TSky Press author Danielle Dutton, TSky contributors Clay Matthews, Kaya Oakes, Barbara Maloutas, Sarah Mangold, and TSky peeps Angela Stubbs, A. D. Jameson, Susana Gardner, Kate Greenstreet, Tony Trigilio, and Erik Anderson, as well as work by Masha Tupitsyn, Rick Moody, Sandra Simonds, Grace Krilanovich, Joshua Cohen, Abraham Smith, Kristen Hanlon, S. J. Culver, Annie Finch, Matthew Dube, Elizabeth Brasher, Sam Pink, Gabriel Blackwell, Brian Conn, Rachel B. Glaser, George Henson, Krista Kahl, Andrew Kroll, Rachel Levitsky, Samuel Ligon, Robert Lopez, Joshua Clover, David Trinidad, Jeffrey Sirkin, Elena Poniatowska Amor, Matt Bell, Michael Martone, Joseph Sacksteder, Samantha Stiers, Rikki Ducornet, Dan Barden, Mark Medoff, Alyssa Rosenberg, Peter Ramos, Sarah Hagelin, Lindsay Bell, Sarah Blackman, Jenny Browne, Arielle Greenberg, John-Michael Rivera, Thomas Dawkins, Kelly Bancroft, Alex Chambers, Louisa Diodato, Robert Wendeborn; edited by Carmen Giménez Smith, Evan Lavender-Smith, Jason Denholm, Mike Meginnis, Tracy Meginnis, Krystal Languell, Elizabeth Brasher, Daniel Cameron, Robert Alan Wendeborn, et al.

Meredith Quartermain, Recipes from the Red Planet (BookThug, 2010)

Tim Roberts, Drizzle Pocket (BlazeVox Books, 2011) We don't know anyone else who does what Tim Roberts does. If you haven't read Drizzle Pocket, please do. And then send us a review. If you want a sample, have a look at Tarpaulin Sky #15

Brandon Shimoda, The Girl Without Arms (Black Ocean, 2011). Yet another beautifully produced Black Ocean title (see Henriksen, above), this 88-page, 6"x7.5" volume is the second full-length book of poetry by TSky Press chapbook author Brandon Shimoda, whose first book, The Alps, was published in 2008 by Flim Forum, and whose next book of poetry, O Bon, is forthcoming from Litmus Press in 2011. If you don't already read Shimoda, then allow us to recommend that you do so, perhaps beginning with The Girl Without Arms, so that you, too, may be "walking towards something other than / The stylizations of a technical image," that we all might say we "have taken a liking to bullets / Fast in the bulk of a struggling form." Indeed, that all of us might
. . . want to watch thousands of people
Jump from windows
One hundred stories high
Glutted with pickled eggs and sparkling wine
Out of tinkling windows
Thrown up, Then served
Again, Thrown up
Again . . .

Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young, eds., A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism (Chain Arts, 2011); 400 pages includes work by TSky Press publisher Christian Peet and TSky Press author Ana Božičević, in addition to TSky contributor Spahr. From the publishers: "A Megaphone collects a number of enactments that Spahr and Young did between the years of 2005-2007. In these enactments, they attempted to think with the playful dogmatism of a feminist tradition that they call "crotchless pants and a machine gun" (obviously referencing Valie Export) in order to locate what might still be useful today about the somewhat beleaguered "second wave" feminist traditions. To that end, Spahr and Young lectured in Oulipian slenderized baby talk about figures such as Carolee Schneemann and Marina Abramovic; they counted the numbers of women and men and transgendered people in various poetry anthologies; and they invited writers from outside the US to talk about being a writer where they live (over seventy-five writers from Puerto Rico to Morocco to Croatia to South Africa to Syria to Micronesia to Korea responded). Also included in A Megaphone are discussions of that always contested relationship between feminism and "experimental" poetry by Julian T. Brolaski, E. Tracy Grinnell, Paul Foster Johnson, Christian Peet, Barbara Jane Reyes, Dale Smith, and A. E. Stallings. The book ends with a (soma)tic writing exercise from CAConrad, one designed to encourage readers and writers to create open, yet still meaningful, feminist alliances."

Cole Swensen, Greensward (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) 

Maureen Thorson, Applies to Oranges (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011)

Matthew Timmons, The New Poetics (Les Figues Press, 2010)

Mark Truscott, Nature (BookThug, 2010)

Verse, Vol. 27, No. 1. 2010; includes 160 pages of work by TSky Press author Joshua Marie Wilkinson and TSky contributors Hazel White and Daniel Coudriet, as well as work by Alice Jones, Joseph Massey, and Martine Bellen. Edited by TSky contributor Brian Henry and Andrew Zawacki.

Yván Yauri, Fire Wind, translated by Marta del Pozo and Nicholas Rattner (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2011) 

Steven Zultanski, Cop Kisser (BookThug, 2010)
Raúl Zurita, Song for his Disappeared Love / Canto a su amor desaparecido, translated by Daniel Borzutzky (Action Books, 2010) Says Kent Johnson of the book that we just received and that we "can't wait" to be shattered by. Kent Johnson' says: “Raúl Zurita is, with Nicanor Parra, Chile's preeminent living poet, and his "Canto a su amor desaparecido," here in Daniel Borzutzky's superb translation,is a shattering cyclotron of compact epic. Written in wake of the poet's experiences of imprisonment, torture, and underground resistance, Zurita offers, in the poem's opening half,stuttering, heart-wrenching testimonies of political and personal loss, followed by a tour de force sequence continental in scope-- a kind of Canto General "in negative," drained of any of the consoling teleologies.” Coming from Action Books, we have no doubts.