Zoom Blog

Everything BlazeVOX
Mark DuCharme makes Best Poetry of 2013 at Writing The Messianic

Mark DuCharme makes Best Poetry of 2013 at Writing The Messianic


Mark DuCharme makes Best Poetry of 2013 at Writing The Messianic

Friday, December 13, 2013

Best Poetry of 2013

It’s not quite accurate to title this list “The Best of.” For one thing, I never start any year with the idea in mind to compile a comprehensive sampling of American poetry. But calling it “My Favorite Books” somehow lacks gravitas. And let’s face it, we all like year-end “Best of” lists. So this, then, is a random assortment of books that gave me great pleasure this year. I reviewed two of them,Imago, and An Ethic, and intend to review a third next year (The Unfinished). But unfortunately I don't have the time to annotate this list. Probably the most notable are the first three titles, which collect work long unavailable by some of our major poets. The appearance of the Ceravalo and the Lamantia are particularly exciting, while Bernstein's Recalculating is perhaps the finest thing he's done so far. Likewise DuCharme's The Unfinished. Alfred Starr Hamilton writes from a very strange and beautiful planet and GC Waldrep's complex music is a wonder. And someone really should publish Keith Jones'amazing meditation on Cy Twombly, sigh loop echo.

N.B. An earlier version of this post inexplicably omitted what, for me, is The Book of the Year, namely Robert Duncan's Collected Later Poems and Plays. Peter Quartermain's work editing the two volumes of Duncan's poetry and plays has been nothing less than heroic and lovers of Duncan owe him a profound debt of gratitude for his meticulous care and his, as usual, brilliant essays.


The Unfinished is constituted by movement and desire, by speaking that unsays itself: by knowing, if only provisionally, that the “energy is in the body/Blooming when we speak.” Not a bloom, but a blooming: this ambitious book unfolds and unfolds through the dual actions of pursuit and escape (“Is meaning embedded in fleeing?”). For here, to be finished would be dishonest to the Real. So The Unfinished is a veritable catalogue of deliberately partial poetics and metaphysics which alternately affirm and balk in suspicion at world, history, or word.

Ghosts of experience occupy this poetry, placing pressure on logic until it morphs into the assertive speculations that force new logics. Moving through a startling range of tone and formal shape, The Unfinished erects its tower of Babel, keenly attuned to “What’s still not real, but missing.” Mark DuCharme acknowledges that living means being continually erased and yet he has the guts and grace to proceed anyway, “To piece the language shreds/ into a body.” His poetry enters our own breath, blooming.

—Elizabeth Robinson

Mark DuCharme's beautiful poems teach us to read all over again: mystery, the situation of person, the texture of dream and the texture of awareness: The Unfinished is a tough book, a necessary book.

—Joseph Lease

About Answer (BlazeVOX, 2011):

"DuCharme spins and alters the music of his lyrics in as varied a way as any lyric poet working at the moment, without ever losing their basic melodicism.... DuCharme is neither a writer of conventional lyric phrasing and imagery, nor of Stephen Burt-named New Thing minimalism, although his work sometimes veers in and out of both tendencies. The poems in Answer take more risks than most lyric poetry of the present day."

—Mark Wallace

"Like Whitman, DuCharme might hear America singing; he might hear America marching, but what he’s particularly good at hearing is America gone off key and become unconsciously discouraged.... What he hears is America too put upon and embroiled in irrelevance to bother trying to say anything worthwhile at all, which is a bad thing in a society that is fueled by dissenting opinion."

—Tom Hibbard, Galatea Resurrects

Mark DuCharme is the author of four previous books of poetry: Answer (BlazeVOX, 2011), The Sensory Cabinet (BlazeVOX, 2007), Infinity Subsections (Meeting Eyes Bindery, 2004), and Cosmopolitan Tremble (Pavement Saw, 2002), as well as numerous chapbooks.  The Found Titles Project was published electronically in 2009 by Ahadada Books. His poetry and essays on poetics have appeared widely. DuCharme, who has taught in the Summer Writing Program of the Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University, lives, writes, works and teaches along Colorado’s Front Range.  He has also recently launched a Web site: http://mark-ducharme.com.


Book Information:

 · Paperback: 214 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-140-5




Read more »

House of Forgetting reviewed in Jacket2


Transitionary framings, a case

A review of Geoffrey Gatza’s ‘House of Forgetting’

House of Forgetting

Geoffrey Gatza

BlazeVOX [books] 2012, 38 pages, free at scribd.com, ISBN 978-1-60964-099-6

For readers of Gatza who have already come to expect the unexpected; for those fascinated with emerging innovation in book-structured polygraphies, then House of Forgetting is yet another contribution to what is becoming a prodigious oeuvre. For those who have come recently to poetry and poetics, or desire a greater understanding of Intermedia poetry, House of Forgetting offers an attractive entrée.

While there is a “heart” to House of Forgetting (human figures with human concerns) and an ekphrastic narrative (the death of a beautiful woman/gifted revenant), there are also elements of language-image that transform temporal and human identity. Such transformations themselves form book “frames”; generate a hypertextuality, (“of moving frame to frame”) as Charles Bernstein notes; an alternative to the perceptual limitations of “frame fixation” and “frame lock.” Such transformations seem to invite the display of “an art of transition through and among [interpretative] frames.”[1]

The idea of elastic, transitionary frames in which material assumes the provisional form of the book is as true of this collection as it is of Gatza’s other work: the five seasons of rewoven myth in Black Diamond Golden Boy Takes Bull By Horns; the hagiography of saints and celebs among word images (coinages consisting of gray-scale mutations and other unique treatments), seemingly aleatory and unrelated, found in Secrets of my Prison House, and the most notable of these may beKenmorePoem Unlimited, that four-volume satire on American suburbia, a pataphoric world risen on a foundation of assumptions, fantastic as they are amusing, revealing angles of cultural significance.

House of Forgetting consists of two temporal frames: each interacts with the other in transfiguring human form and identity. The first is “The Twelve-Hour Transformation of Clare,” a woman who morphs into words, and the second section, “Recipe for Water,” is that of an artist who is drawing his wife’s portrait while she is in her deathbed, beginning “Now,” going into the past (“17 Days Ago,” “Last Saturday,” and fragments with similar titles) to conclude with “Five Years From Now” told in the voice of cultural assumption: a radio announcer. The “artist” becomes a reported figure; the “subject,” a fictional image no less real than the figure it re-presents. These are not pairs, but multiples. Their reappearance in alternative contexts suggests, rather strongly, an operative multeity of figures, an ongoing dance with interchangeable partners.


Read more »

Two reviews on Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling


Here are two new reviews of Petrarchan by Kristina Marie Darling. 

Book Information:


· Paperback: 72 pages

· Binding: Perfect-Bound

· Publisher: 

BlazeVOX [books] 

· ISBN: 978-1-60964-116-0



Read more »

Kristina Marie Darling's collaboration with Max Avi Kaplan is featured at Connotation Press


Kristina Marie Darling - Fiction

DarlingKristinaMarieKristina Marie Darling is the author of fifteen books, which include Melancholia (An Essay) (Ravenna Press, 2012), Petrarchan (BlazeVOX Books, 2013), and a forthcoming hybrid genre collection called Fortress (Sundress Publications, 2014). Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, and the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. in Poetics at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo.


Kristina Marie Darling interview with Meg Tuite

I love these micro-flash pieces that seem to be from another time period? I was guessing maybe the 50’s? 

Max Avi Kaplan PRESS IMAGE 1Thank you for your kind words about the flash fictions! You guessed right. My collaborator, Max Avi Kaplan, and I imagined the Polaroids and the accompanying stories as a character study, an in-depth look at the life a 1950s housewife named Adelle. We're both fascinated by 1950s material culture, but also the situation of women of the time period, who were so often surrounded by beauty, but trapped by their roles as wives, mothers, and homemakers. Many of the objects, clothes, and accessories depicted in the photographs are really from the 1950s. Max came to the collaboration with a background in costuming, and strives for great historical accuracy in his photographs. This influence certainly carries over into the flash fictions, which reflect a similar fascination with the complex histories, and the emotional weight, that we attach to objects. 

Were these ekphrastic pieces inspired by the photography or was it the other way around? 

Max Avi Kaplan PRESS IMAGE 2That's a great question. The flash fictions certainly began as ekphrastic pieces, which were inspired by a set of eight of Max's photographs. But he had not yet completed all the photographs. So I sent him poems in response to the initial set of images, then the collaboration became much more of a conversation. Just as I had responded to Max's work in my poems, he began responding to and incorporating the narrative I had constructed around his work. I think of our collaboration as a dialogue, which unfolds over the course of the book. 

Read more »

Thanksgiving Menu Poem - 2013 has been declined



For the past twelve years we have had a Thanksgiving menu-poem up and available for you to read and enjoy on Thanksgiving. Beginning in 2002 with a poem to honor Charles Bernstein, I began a series of poems, using a menu that I could prepare, in a feast of words that could be presented if we had a table large enough to fit all of our poetry friends.


This is year is no different and we had a poem ready to go, however the poet who we were to honor this year kindly declined. Being from another country whose ideas on thanksgiving are different from our own, if not very similar, he felt that he could not support this holiday. We have written a nice note explain his position which is posted below and on our Thanksgiving Menu-Poem page.


Since the project was completed and presented to our guest of honor, who wishes to be left nameless, there was little time to begin on a new work. So we decided it was best to keep this honor in place and announce his wishes. His ideas are very important to understand and devour while we sit and consume. We should also understand the cost this feast represents. We will certainly be back next year with a new, full menu poem! Hurray! 



Thanksgiving 2013 Menu-Poem declined


This year we chose to honor a wonderful poet but this honor has been declined for sincere political reasoning. This poet has been a deeply committed animal rights activist for three decades and anything associated with meat eating, homophobia and generally reactionary nationalist politics would not be something that would be in keeping with his strong beliefs and practices. The thought of this holiday, for this poet, is insulting to indigenous peoples. And in the end, the prospects are all too distressing. To honor this poet, a man of strong integrity and conviction, in the best way we can, this year we will not have a menu-poem. Thank you and we’ll see you next year.



Thanksgiving Menu-Poems Archive


            Bill Berkson 2012

            Keith and Rosmarie Waldrop            

                 and 50 years of Burning Deck Press 2011

            David Shapiro 2010

            C. D. Wright 2009

            Anne Waldman 2008

            Ron Silliman 2007

            John Ashbery 2006

            Robert Creeley 2005

            Kent Johnson 2004

            Forrest Gander 2003

            Charles Bernstein 2002




Even though we are not celebrating and we still might want to have something to read, to the right is a list of our previous eleven Thanksgiving Menu-Poems. But, if you are looking for something new and fun to read, here is a sneek peek of my new book, Apollo. 



It has often been said that Marcel Duchamp gave up art for chess. Geoffrey Gatza has reversed the process, and produced a sumptuous “souvenir program” of a performance of Stravinsky's ballet Apollo, framed by an elaborately-plotted chess game between Duchamp and his female alter-ego, Rose Selavy. The results are stunning.    —John Ashbery 

This book will be released in the Spring and you can frind more information and pre-order it here  

Read more »
« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ... »

Extra Pages

Photos on flickr