some poetry, politics & what have you

Friday, May 22, 2009

elizabeth williamson has a brief review of david wolach's book alter (ed) on goodreads. i reproduce it here because it's interesting

The two sections of book alter(ed) reproduced here by ungovernable press are startlingly different; the differences reward attention. In the first section, the fire speaks, but this is not T.S. Eliot's epic voice. Anchored both in the material horror of the Tokyo firebombings (depicted on the cover) and in the philosophical problem of the historical events that seem to return to us over and over again, this section plays with the terror of "as if." The work seems to be backing into history, ripping holes in the fabric as it moves in and out of what we think of as our factual experience.

The second section, which draws on excerpts from online pornography, deals far more directly with bodies and their vulnerability (and of course with the book as body). Here Wolach is doing a different kind of inversion, taking language that is firmly anchored in the present (Home Depot, foreclosures, etc.), but shifted slightly out of our normal range of perception, as in lines like this: "His hands ran up the left side of my life." Together the two sections are deeply intimate, but also--and importantly--unsettling.


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