Displaying articles for: March 2009
Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: Over Thirty Years of Conversations with Robert Irwin
?the world in two, make a hoodoo soup with chicken necks,
A gumbo with plutonium roux, a little snack
Before the dirt and jalapeno stew that will shuck
The skin right off your slinky hips, Mr. I'm-not-stuck?
I challenge you not to remember this as you eat your next meal. The book is organized in three sections: mambos (from the Bantu "conversations with the gods"), "abecedarian" sonnets, and odes. Hamby says she particularly explored the constructs of odes to create poems that "incorporated Pindar's wild associations and Horace's intimacy yet still had the syntax and diction of the 21st century mind." But really, all her work could be described thusly. Swiveling, strumming, and slicing through air like an Alvin Ailey ensemble, Hamby exhales a world the shape of associated conditions and intimate emotions out of her carefully chosen words. The poems are individually stunning. Collected together, they dance.
Jerome Charyn's fiftieth book may be his best. Abraham Lincoln, known to his contemporaries as a man who loved to tell a good story, steps down from history's pedestal to narrate his improbable career with wit and charm. A bravura act of literary ventriloquism.
The name Eliot Ness and his struggles to bring down Al Capone have passed into the annals of pop heroism via "The Untouchables." But Douglas Perry's biography reveals the less glamorous -- yet no less thrilling -- truth behind the crimefighting myth.
Hassan Blasim offers his first-hand account of contemporary Iraq, in surreal short stories alive with awe, empathy, and a native son's vantage point.