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Archive for November 2016

Animated Landscape by Robert Gibbons Reviewed

 

Robert Gibbons, Animated Landscape, BlazeVox, 2016, 146 pp, $16.

Speaking recently at the Gloucester Writers Center, poet and Olson scholar Don Byrd advised poets who are inspired by Charles Olson not to attempt to follow him because Olson was uniquely unfollowable. Rather, Byrd said, they should attempt to move beyond Olson with their own work, as the poet himself had done with respect to his own masters, Pound and Williams.  

Among poets who have learned from Olson while forging their own unique path, Robert Gibbons stands out. Though widely published and admired among poets, scholars of poetry, critics, and curators of contemporary art, Robert Gibbons has been less known to discerning readers of new American poetry. This is about to change with the publication by BlazeVox of Animated Landscape, Gibbon’s major new collection of poems. Those who care about the life of poetry in a time when there are many MFAs in verse but fewer poets who appeal directly to the human condition should attend to what Richard Deming calls Gibbons’ “universal and inclusive vision.”  

Gibbons’ poetry is informed not only by the crucial texts he’s read and internalized—Kristeva, Davenport, Olson himself— but also by the music and visual art that has animated his life and work—the jazz of Coltrane, the inventions of Bach, the paintings of Clyfford Still (about whom he has written incisively in Olson/Still: Crossroad)—along with the walks he has taken daily in the places he’s lived—Gloucester, MA, Salem, Washington, DC, Boston, Portland, ME, and now Denver—bringing them to life and into his pages through conversations with those he has encountered going about their daily business, as Gibbons has gone about his as both secret sharer and astute observer. His is a poetry that is as intensely lived as it is informed by a poised intelligence; a poetry of the heart and mind, where intellect and feeling do not conflict but, instead, fuse into incandescence, as Gibbons writes: “where senses reach an/intoxicated height, where air alone is/magic, silence music, touch between/us dispelling all dread.” 

Read the whole review here

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Daniel Borzutzky wins the National Book Award

 

Congratulations to Daniel Borzutzky on winning the National Book award. Check out his BlazeVOX The Ecstasy of Capitulation Daniel Borzutzky here: http://www.blazevox.org/index.php/Shop/Poetry/the-ecstasy-of-capitulation-by-daniel-borzutzky-17/

"Daniel Borzutzky’s poems bespeak an amazing grasp of current nounage that the writer skillfully employs to achieve a piercing social and political critique. Little of current or recent history has immunity. Richard Milhous Nixon, Ronald Reagan, the matter of requisite allegiance to sexuality, linguistics, even leek soup, serve as springboards to a greater revelation brought about by the ruthlessly comic clarity of Borzutzky’s eyes and ears. The writer plants the spotlight on speakers of the poem who do not know that they can plead the Fifth. Yet even in his most successfully sardonic observations, Borzutzky never merely points the finger. In a virtuosic display of rhetoric, these speakers self-reveal, self-incriminate, and in so doing, take us down with them. For Borzutzky consistently brings to the poem the recognition that his subject is not restricted to these few isolated others, but, at root, to all of us. Joining its best-of-genre companions, The Ecstasy of Capitulation provides scathing critique of culture amid an underlying self-effacement that holds itself responsible and consistently depicts a sense of caring. Borzutzky’s is the honest intellect we have been waiting for, to show us what we are."

- Sheila E. Murphy


“After I first read Daniel Borzutzky’s poems in magazines, I became a hellhound on his trail, pursuing him over the oceans (he was in Turkey at the time) until I ran him to earth and shook more poems out of him. I wanted my students to read those poems and to write like Borzutzky, yeah, but, more importantly, to think like him. There’s a divine foolishness to these poems, a knuckleheaded clarity that allows the poet to ask “Are Nudists Nuts? (the question of our time, to my way of thinking) and to say “We approve of intersections but are opposed to streets in general” and “Out with mayors, in with majordomos” and “We have too many potholes. They should be filled with violets, or ideas.” The title of this book not only describes it but recommends it—far too many poetry books today are about the capitulation of ecstasy. I love these poems. Daniel Borzutzky for president.”

- David Kirby



The Ecstasy of Capitulation by Daniel Borzutzky Book Preview

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