For some years Steve Evans at Third Factory has been hosting Attention Span, an annual gathering of readers' lists and commentaries about works of poetry (and related books). I have found these lists suggestive and helpful. Attention Span 2010 is complete now. Here are the first four items on Patrick Durgin's list:
Tan Lin | Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking [AIRPORT NOVEL MUSICAL POEM PAINTING FILM PHOTO HALLUCINATION LANDSCAPE] | Wesleyan | 2010
I wrote the following blurb for Tan’s metadata event: Tan Lin is the first poetic conceptualist with personality; it is no wonder he has paid scholarly attention to Eliot. But what was tradition has dissipated, as if it so needed, into detritus, and that cultural clog of ingredients are what you find “controlled” in SCV. In my estimation, this is the best book of poetry written yet this century, and precisely because the politics it demands are yet to come, but their context already so familiar.
Christine Wertheim, ed. | Feminaissance | Les Figues | 2010
One of several anthologies that have been useful to me in unexpected ways, the others include The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry, and…
Brenda Iijima, ed. | eco language reader | Nightboat | 2010
Several things seem to be coming together lately: ecological thinking, somatics, conceptualism (updated, or exploited, depending), feminism, and it’s all here. What’s great about how this collection is comprised and presented is that it posits a center and clarifies the radius of sources past and present for making a foray—you don’t just sit there and absorb, as we say, “the material.” It invites practical pluralities of response. Praise seems beside the point.
Andrew Levy | Cracking Up | Truck | 2010
An old favorite (of a poet) from a new press. The cover shots of Ann-Margaret doing “Bye Bye Birdie” perfectly illustrate the methodically coagulated spurts of late-capitalist wisdom in these pages.