Recent & Notable
Gennady Aygi, Field-Russia. (New York: New Directions, 2007). A Russian—Chuvash–poet who can claim the same visionary power as Emily Dickinson and George Oppen—and like them, Aygi offers an attractively gnomic language shot through with mystery and intensity. Paul Barker, in The Times, says of his poetry: “Everything is illuminated by the piercing clarity of his images. And, for all of his passionate love of nature, he is deeply humane…Aygi has never forgotten that loving embrace, or lost the unmisted eye of a child.”
Peter Minter, blue grass (Cambridge: Salt Publishing, 2006). At first, this book appears to offer a sharp-eyed, historically-minded take on the present moment as one full of white noise and scattershot poignancy, but then Minter elaborates and complicates that vision against the larger scale of geologic or planetary time. Linguistically—aurally—dense and inventive, this collection is often dazzling. blue grass shows why Peter Minter is regarded as one of Australia’s leading poets.
Alex Lemon, Mosquito. (New York: Tin House Books, 2006). Tender, ironic and rueful, Alex Lemon’s voice explores physical trauma with a distinctively stringent dispassion and an absolute lack of self-indulgence. Witnessing rather than confessing, Lemon’s poems lay themselves open to the limits of physical being, probing with deep intelligence and wit the slow dance between mortality and death.
Tony Lopez, Meaning Performance. (Cambridge, Salt: 2006). 221pp. $21.95. Incisive, vivid, compelling essays in twentieth-century American and British poetics. Rachel Blau DuPlessis says about it: “Lopez experiences poetry with exemplary intensity; he performs this intensity in this striking book on British and American innovative poetries. Meaning Performance articulates in an intimate and engaged fashion Lopez’s passionate assessments of poets’ acts, forms, modes, poetics, mutual influences, careers and cultural values.”
W.G. Sebald, Unrecounted. (New York: New Directions, 2007). Like his novels, Unrecounted is a hybrid project, combining lithographs that look uncannily like photographs with Sebald’s “micropoems.” Bringing together Jan Peter Tripp’s lithographs of pairs of eyes (most often those of famous artists) with Sebald’s micropoems, the effect, as in his fiction, is haunting, many-layered and elegiac: a testimony to what endures and what does not.