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review of field work on Jacket2


"A speck of behavior, a fleck of culture"

A review of "Field Work: Notes, Songs, Poems, 1997–2010"

Field Work: Notes, Songs, Poems 1997-2010

by David Hadbawnik

BlazeVOX 2011, 138 pages, $16, ISBN 978-1-60964-010-1

When Henry James wrote about “the state of the streets” in American cities at the turn of the twentieth century, he expressed over and over the difficulty of ever doing justice to the task. Faced with “a welter of objects and sounds” James in The American Scene claimed his powers of perception to be in such disarray that the semiotics of American manners eluded his grasp almost completely (83). For James “there couldn’t be any manners to speak of” in cities defined by such violent congestion, such “unmitigated publicity, publicity as a condition, as a doom, from which there could be no appeal” (10, 9).

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