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Showing posts from May, 2013

Hernán Rivera Letelier - From the lovingly, baroquely detailed descriptions of Providencia and its workers and management to the long, twisted digressions on the prophet’s life story, with liberal borrowings from Nicanor Parra, to the dark phantasmagoria of the final chapters

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Hernán Rivera Letelier, The Art of Resurrection (Alfaguara, 2010)


The small stone plaza was floating in the midday heat. The Christ of Elqui, kneeling on the ground, his gaze thrown back on high, the part in his hair dark under the Atacaman sun—he felt himself falling into an ecstasy. It was no less than this: he had brought it to pass. Had restored to life a dead man.”

We meet Domingo Zárate Vega, “better known to all as the Christ of Elqui,” in the opening lines of Hernán Rivera Letelier’s The Art of Resurrection (Alfaguara, 2010), at the moment of realization of his greatest dream—of having mastered “the sublime art of resurrection.”
The novel follows Zárate Vega in his travels through a key week in the midpoint of his 20-year mission of penance. It is the last week of December, 1942; the randy Christ of Elqui journeys to the mining camp of Providencia in search of the woman he believes will play the role of Mary Magdalene to his messiah. His story of finding her and losing her ag…

Brenda Coultas unearths the eccentricities and tragedies that congregate along humanity’s borders: vanished nations, the mutable names of rivers, the clues left behind when families disperse; terror and beauty, the banalized crimes of complicity, the diversions of superstition—but also the persistence of clairvoyance

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Brenda Coultas, The Marvelous Bones of Time: Excavations and Explanations, Coffe House Press, 2007.
Incorporating memoir, folktales, fact, and hearsay into two distinctly moving poems, this collection begins with “The Abolition Journal,” set near the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln, and along the Kentucky border where “looking from the free state / there is a river then a slave state.” Here, Coultas delves into her personal history and uncovers a land still troubled by the specter of slavery. In “A Lonely Cemetery,” Coultas collects and investigates “true” tales of UFO sightings, poltergeists, legendary monsters, and eerie crematoriums, exploring the very nature of narrative truth through the lens of the ghost story.

“As the title suggests, The Marvelous Bones of Time is a meditation on earthly things: vanished nations, the mutable names of rivers, the clues left behind when families disperse; terror and beauty, the banalized crimes of complicity, the diversions of superstition—but also…

Agnieszka Kuciak - a faux anthology of 21 invented poets, with their poems and biographical notes.Mystical, mischievous, and musical

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Agnieszka Kuciak,Distant Lands: An Anthology of Poets Who Don't Exist, Trans. byKaren Kovacik, White Pine Press, 2013.

Distant Lands is a tour de force, this faux anthology of 21 invented poets, with their poems and biographical notes, belongs in the company of world literature’s distinguished fabulists—Jorge Luis Borges, Fernando Pessoa, Franz Kafka, and Italo Calvino—in blurring the boundary between the textual and actual worlds.


“I have a shelf in my library I refer to as my sacred shelf, which contains only those books I love so much, I could reread them a hundred times and never tire of them. The shelf includes books by Rilke, Marquez, Borges, Pessoa, Michaux, Calvino, Milosz, Kafka, and others. I am forever looking for the next poet or writer who will inspire me and surprise me, not once, but again and again. Agnieszka Kuciak’s Distant Lands is my latest discovery. Mystical, mischievous, and musical, Kuciak enchants me with the scope of her imagination, her whimsical flirtat…

Hanne Lippard - an impressive and equally idiosyncratic practice based at the meeting point of words, performance and visual art. At times graphic, playful and intimate, this is an artist using language in all its forms in an effort to create an original aesthetic of the word

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Hanne Lippard, Nuances of No, Broken Dimanche Press, 2013.

It is with great pleasure for BDP to announce the publication of Hanne Lippard’s Nuances of No, the first comprehensive collection of the artist’s text work. Over the last number of years Lippard has built up an impressive and equally idiosyncratic practice based at the meeting point of words, performance and visual art.
When composing her texts Lippard relies on the sounds that they trigger in her mind when she is writing but crucially also when she is speaking. The use of her voice has gained for her a typographical insistence, becoming her main medium of expression whether it be through the linearity of a mechanical narrator or through the use of her voice as a more personified melodic rhythm during her compelling live performances.
Her affinity with common speech ensures that hers is nothing less than a poetry that all of us can recognize. Common sayings, turns of phrase, everyday chitchat become for her a repeated chorus rat…

Typo magazine 18 - Venezuelan Poetry: 1921-2001

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Typo magazine 18
www.typomag.com/issue18/intro.html


GUILLERMO PARRAPORTABLE COUNTRY: VENEZUELAN POETRY: 1921 - 2001The first Venezuelan-American artist I ever noticed was DevendraBanhart. His acoustic albums, Rejoicing in the Hands and Niño Rojo, were a minor revelation for me when I first heard them in December of 2004. It was during a visit to my family’s house in Florida, and I sat in my old room playing these records repeatedly for days, feeling a sense of immediate recognition. Those infinite riches I looped in a little room for two weeks would eventually have a big influence on my own work. In the fall of 2003, I had started the blog Venepoetics with the idea of translating and writing about a handful of Venezuelan poets. Venepoetics would turn out to be the beginnings of an anthology called Venezuelan Poetry: 1921-2001. These English translations of twenty Venezuelan poets are my version of Venezuelan-American folk culture, hybrid and lo-fi.
Venezuelan Poetry: 1921-2001 includes a…

Sarah Fox - The First Flag is a mystic alimentary, blood, bone, and pearl poetics—utterly engaging in its seductive conversational tone. It’s a luminescent accomplishment, lush with decay, exploding with impossible meldings of stench and shimmer

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Sarah Fox, The First Flag, Coffee House Press, 2013.

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“The First Flag is a mystic alimentary, blood, bone, and pearl poetics—utterly engaging in its seductive conversational tone. But it’s an odd conversation as Fox periodically cries her brains out in ecstasy, disbelief, grief. It’s a luminescent accomplishment, lush with decay, exploding with impossible meldings of stench and shimmer. By way of a powerful natal femininity she claws back the oral threads of her got-away story. I wanted to be right there when her words crowned. Her sentences deliver. It’s not just that her language is a trip; she is really saying something you find you want to hear all the way down.”—Nor Hall

Sarah Fox’ second book is The First Flag, and it is one fierce standard to follow. The book dispenses a potent compound of divination, memoir, psychoanalytic insights, placental rites and resolute feminism. This list might evoke what Kathleen Fraser referred to in 1989 as “immediately accessible language of per…