Like Ashbery in his final collections, or Cohen in his final albums, Paul Muldoon has nothing left to prove, and can take delight simply in doing what he inimitably does. And his delight is ours.
Imagine an anthology of the literature of walking, with examples ranging from the Middle Ages to the present. Now imagine a book containing only commentaries on these ruminations on walking, without the accompaniment of the texts that inspired them.
The volume has its own points of gravity that, comet-like, it revisits as it moves forward.
Remarkably, Lucinda seems both composition exercise and confession (“once again the text finds itself / helplessly stuck between two distinct / critical foci, pinioned”), as unclassifiable and as exciting as the more than 200-year-old book that inspired it.
A new kind of writing about motherhood may be emerging. Rachel Zucker's and Arielle Greenberg's Home/Birth, Brenda Shaughnessy's Our Andromeda, Eula Biss's On Immunity, and Maggie Nelson's The Argonauts, for example, are conscious in a contemporary way about new possibilities of childbearing and parenting, about choices and agency, yet
Jana Prikryl’s The After Party is one of those rare debut volumes, like Stevens’s Harmonium, in which we meet an already fully-inhabited voice. In some such cases, much unforeseeable development may be in store, as with Graham’s Hybrids of Plants and Ghosts; sometimes, as with Delmore Schwartz’s In Dreams
The poems in Monica Wendel’s chapbook are marked by quick dissolves, scenes suddenly opening onto new scenes. The prose poem “Blue” flickers back and forth between “a diner where the waitresses wear their hair swooped up” and a dream of rowing through New York Harbor at night.
Little: Novels Emily Anderson BlazeVOX, August 2015 158 pp; $20 Buy: paperback The vogue for erasure poems continues, which is good news. Done skillfully, the erasure poem encompasses what Samuel Johnson called “the two most engaging powers of an author: new things are made familiar, and familiar things are
Testament G.C. Waldrep BOA Editions, 2015 144 pp, $16 Buy: paperback | Kindle | Nook An endnote to G. C. Waldrep’s excellent new book-length poem points out that it “originated as a exploration of and response to three texts,” Lisa Robertson’s Magenta Soul Whip (2009), Carla Harryman’s Adorno’s Noise
Rooms for Rent in the Burning City Brandon Courtney Spark Wheel Press, 2015 74 pp, $12 Buy paperback In the days before Spotify and iTunes, rock bands faced a challenge known as the “sophomore album slump.” A new band typically had had a few years to compose and then