2019-04-30 08:00

14–17/ Finished in April

  • JH Prynne: The White Stones (NYRB, 2016)
  • Claire Wahmanholm: Night Vision (New Michigan Press, 2017)
  • Claire Wahmanholm: Wilder (Milkweed Editions, 2018)
  • Ronald Johnson: ARK (Flood, 2013)
  • John Matthias: Collected Longer Poems (Shearsman, 2012)
  • Jim Harrison: Dead Man’s Float (Copper Canyon, 2016)

Johnson: I’m not sure I actually read the whole thing. I started at the beginning, but then opened it randomly further in, and simply wandered about after that. It’s not a poem you read, it’s a poem you live inside of.

Matthias: Old-school high modernist. These poems are direct descendants of Paterson and the best of The Cantos (and The Best of The Cantos would, by the way, be a very short book, including not much more than the Pisan cantos.) John Matthias could be read comfortably alongside Geoffrey Hill or Peter Dale Scott as well as Lyn Hejinian or CD Wright.

Extremely smart, lots of footnotes, and with a startling music, as bewildering and mesmerizing as hearing bebop for the first time.

Harrison: I put off reading this for a year because it is the last new poetry by Jim Harrison I’m ever likely to see, barring any unpublished manuscripts they find in the cabinet behind the bourbon.

Jim Harrison was this country’s Han-Shan. He acknowledged magic with a shrug, sometimes gravely toasting the gods with cheap red wine, sometimes exuberantly giving them the finger. Angels don’t fly; they crawl on their hands and knees, laughing and weeping at the same time.


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Week of 2019-04-29 18/ Week of 29 April Christopher Logue: War Music (FSG, 2015) This book is sort of a cheat: it’s a new edition of a book I’ve already read,