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tearing the rag off the bush again
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Mary Kite, The Bamboo Librarian, Santa Cruz: Blue X Press, www.bluepress.com: “(now is the time for drink).” We agree.

Rauan Klassnik, Holy Land. Boston: Black Ocean. www.blackocean.com This poet is a Mexican resident who reports “a tiny cactus flowering on the window sill.”

Caroline Knox, Quaker Guns, Seattle: Wave Books. www.wavepoetry.com. We love Wave Books and are big fans of Caroline Knox’ poetry. We are awarding this book “The Exquisite Corpse Funniest Title of the Year Award.” About another of her books I said, “Time doesn’t pass in New England, the library just gets bigger. Reading Caroline Knox one is grateful for her idiosyncratic guidance through the selva of text exfoliated (sometimes) and juxtaposed collagistically at other times. The desire that moves the concentrate sol of these word engines is one more powerful in our world now than it was when the world was smaller, namely “I have to have a book to really read.” I really read this one, and felt no time passing.”

Nicholas Kostarides & Mary Richardson
, New Orleans Bicycles, New York: Mark Batty Publisher, www.markbattypublisher.com. This is a charming collection of photographs of the bicycles of New Orleans, those lovely art works of the Vieux Carre on which fly the new bohos, trailing glitter and wonder. I immediately know where I am on this big, cold orb when I cross Esplanade and see my first bicycle boho. Yo, we here, this is the place!

Gyula Krudy, Sunflower, translated from Hungarian by John Batki, introduction by John Lukacs, New York: The New York Review of Books, www.nyrb.com. This is a sparky English translation of a master of baroque prose and irony who plied his trade in Budapest in the early 20th century, and was one of a constellation of brilliant and ill-fated writers such as Robert Walser, Bruno Schultz, Joseph Roth, and Kafka.

Joanne Kyger, About Now: Collected Poems, Orono, Maine: National Poetry Foundation, www.ume.maine.edu. One of the great complete works that should be in every library. With the addition of this lasting collection of the great California-Zen-Radical-Ecologist-Goddess-of-Light Kyger, we now have in print many collected works of the last half of the 20th century’s greatest poets. To mention only a few of the books published recently: Ted Berrigan, Collected Poems, University of California Press, edited by Alice Notley with Anselm and Edmund Berrigan, Ed Dorn’s Way More West: New and Selected Poems, Penguin Books, Alice Notley’s Grave of Light: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2005, Wesleyan, Anselm Hollo’s Attractions of Existence: New and Selected Poems 1965-2000, Coffee House Press, Anne Waldman’s In the Room of Never Grieve : New and Selected Poems 1985-2003, Book & CD edition, Coffee House Press, Ron Padgett’s New and Selected Poems, Godine, and Kenneth Koch’s Selected Poems, edited by Ron Padgett, Penguin.
 
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Thomas Laird, Into Tibet: the CIA’s First Atomic Spy and His Secret Expedition to Lhasa, New York: Grove Press. This is an amazing true story by the man who brought you the first intimate look at the Dalai Lama in The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama, New York: Grove Press. We spent a fascinating hour in the man’s company, in New Orleans, the only place in the U.S. you could safely settle in after decades of living in Nepal. Six years after publication of Into Tibet....CIA has finally admitted that I got the story correct....  See 6th para of CIA Director remarks:  “In fact, the very first CIA officer to die in the line of duty had been gathering data on the Soviet nuclear program. Douglas Mackiernan served in the desolate reaches of western China, one of those brave operatives who worked our top intelligence target along the periphery of the Soviet Union. "Mack," as he was called, was an MIT physics major conversant in Russian and Chinese, a highly resourceful and perceptive officer who had to work with some pretty basic equipment given the remoteness of his post. His primary tasks were to investigate Moscow's access to local uranium deposits and report any sign of nuclear testing in Soviet Central Asia. Mackiernan's mission was cut short by the rapid western advance of the Chinese Communists after their revolution in 1949. He escaped by setting out on an epic seven-month trek across deserts and mountains. He managed to make all the way to the frontier of Tibet, where he should have found sanctuary. Tragically, he was shot by Tibetan guards who had not yet received word that an American was coming and that he should be granted safe passage. Douglas Mackiernan's story speaks to the dedication and courage our officers have brought to our mission for six decades. CIA has targeted the WMD threat in all its forms, from the massive arsenals of rival nations to the deadly aspirations of terrorists. To say that we're focused on 21st century challenges doesn't mean for a second that we've forgotten those of the 20th-or that we aren't looking for the emerging threats of tomorrow. We closely analyze, as we should and as we must, the WMD and missile programs of countries throughout the world. But as attentive as we are in tracking existing weapons programs, the greater challenge lies in detecting those developing in secrecy. CIA is always watching for signs that states and subnational groups might be taking steps to acquire nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons." Note that CIA still spins the story to say that Mack was just 'escaping' to Tibet-- They still do not want to admit that CIA sent him to Tibet, even after China knew he was a blown CIA agent.... Nor do they admit that he set up receivers for the Long Range Detection of Atomic Explosions project... but for the first time they admit he was a CIA officer, who was doing atomic intelligence in Singkiang, before he traveled to Tibet... And that's a first! https://www.cia.gov/news-information/speeches-testimony/directors-remarks-at-lawac.html.

Philip Lamantia,
Tau, and John Hoffman, Journey to the End, San Francisco: City Lights, The Pocket Poets Series, No. 59, www.citylights.com. These are the early poems of Philip Lamantia that he was supposed to read at the famous Six Gallery reading in 1955, when Allen Ginsberg read "Howl." Philip had misgivings about these poems, because he didn't think that they were worthy of his newly-found or re-found Catholic faith. From 2008 it's hard to see the problem: "On a smiling crevice of street,/He cuts, for death, the diamond of her eye:/ Star plumed hands put it/Burning on his brow." Sounds pretty Fra Angelico to us. John Hoffman (1928-1952) was Philip's friend who died young and wrote luminous Zen-inspired works. "Therefore unattained is/ The sudden attainment."

Dorothea Lasky, Wave, Seattle: Wave Books, www.wavepoetry.com. A poet who with gentle irony punctures the quotidian, but not without certain demands: “Kiss me on the lips and hold my breasts.” OK.

Andrew J. Lawson, Cave Art, England, 1991, Shire Publications. We received this from William Honrath in view of our known love for caves. Thank you, Bill.

Alex Lemon, Hallelujah Blackout, Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, www.milkweed.org . What will happen the day when we like all poets? Will that be the day when we won't be able to open our White Goddess (i.e, the refrigerator, as per T. Berrigan) because it will be so covered by poems taped there, the door will not be evident. We do like Alex Lemon, published on acid-free recycled paper in a handsome volume by this respectable publisher, and we are bewildered by how much fine poesy zings across the bows of our overextended nerves. And I'm not talking about the nerves of the Corpse, but all the nerves of all the poetry readers in English. Let's not make Alex Lemon a scapegoat, though: he's splendid: "I wish I might be different but I am/ That I am and all I have are my legs."

Joseph Lease, Broken World, Coffee House Press. A poet who cannot contain either glee nor humor as genuine thinking occurs.

Francis Levy, ErotomaniaTwo Dollar Radio, 2008. www.TwoDollarRadio.com.  Like Henry Miller, whom Daphne Merkin cites in an approving blurb, Francis Levy is on a spiritual quest: substitute the word "God" for "fuck," and there you have it, the silence filled with joy. "Erotomania" is a great book, written with flawless verve by a tremendous fictioneer and thinker, and it deserves glory. It is published by a small press that may yet become great if it manages to set "Erotomania" as the high-bar of its offerings. In any case, have it on my word, a reader, run and buy this book, it's a classic.

Francis Levy, Seven Days in Rio, a novel. Two Dollar Radio, 2011. www.TwoDollarRadio.com . Forgive me for reproducing my blurb here, but I meant every word. “Seven Days in Rio” is worth a full course of psychoanalytic therapy of whatever persuasion. Reading this book will have the added benefit of curing you of psychoanalysis itself, not just the neuroses psychoanlysis guns for. In other words, by reading Levy you get seven days in Rio living like an exiled great duchess in excellent health and rolling in dough. Additionally, you also get the pleasure of schadenfreude because you realize that for the price of a book you get what people spent fortunes for in the past. If Levy ever gets retroactive, he could take the cash from all the business Freud’s spanned and distribute it to you, readers. You’d all be rich. And smarter. Oh yeah, and he’s hilarious.

Tomislav Z. Longinović, Vampire Nation, Violence as Cultural Imaginary, Duke University Press, 2011. When vampires penetrate cultural studies it is because they have penetrated so deep into popular culture, they are sated, and they can let zombies have a turn. Now and then, bored (always bored!) they enter a school and go directly into a professor's brain to insure their legacy. On the way to the prof's office they might stop to sup on a long young neck, but that's just pure indulgence. Vampire hickies are so common now, they are sold at Walgreen's. Which is not to say that prof-brain-penetration is a trivial matter: Tomislav Z. Longinović's brain is well worth penetrating for several reasons: a) Longinovic is a Slav, thus close to the vampire's birth place, b) he is the author of "Vampires Like Us," and he knows both the blood flows of Yougoslavia and America, and c) possesses a good scholarly knowledge of the Victorian spas where vampires once took their vacations. The professor does an excellent job of tracing the sucker from obscurity to blinding fame, and deconspires also the metaphor of nationalism that is the only vampiric reflection applicable to history in general. (Mirrors, as we know, don't do the job). Since they can't die, most vampires are now more like Andy Warhol than Count Dracula, but there was once a breed of nationalist vampire that liked to die "heroically." It's this sucker Longinović nails.

Jim Lopez, Abstracts of an American Pageant: Reality Principle of an Aphasic Metempsychosis. F10F (Fulthy 10 Freeway), jimlopez.org The publisher of Antique Children, A Mischievous Literary Arts Journal, (antiquechildren.com ) is a philosopher/writer who is inventing an extraordinary form of politically radical literary journalism. Violent urbanism and eerily psycho suburban offshoots vein his rich, vernacular prose. Jim Lopez is hacking his own language out of everything at hand, including the work of Friedrich Nietzche, fresh graffiti in a derelict Los Angeles, and kinky sex. Visual, ethnically explosive and unsentimental, Lopez is also fun to read, like Kathy Acker, like an extreme porn mag in history class.

GHERASIM LUCA, The Passive Vampire, with an introduction on the objectively offered object. Twisted Spoon Press, 2008, translated from the French by Krysztof Fijalkowski. www.twistedspoon.com . There is a vogue/vague for this great Romanian-French surrealist poet just now, and we advise our readers to get on it. Luca lived in poverty in Paris since the 1950s and committeed suicide by jumping into the Seine at the same spot as Paul Celan, but not before revolutionizing poetry in Romanian, giving surrealism and Andre Breton new hope for relevance, and becoming an important element in the philosophical machine constructed by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in “Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia.” I met Luca in New York in the mid 1980s when he was already in his seventies, and we stayed up all night after his reading, ending up in an animated discussion between four and six a.m. at the Plaza entrance of Central Park. At one point, at 5:20 AM he leapt up on a sculpture and I saw him as a bull-demon as his shaved head with the pointed devil-ears appeared in the muscular dawn above a bronze grotesque. This year (2009) Black Widow Press will publish another book of poetry by Luca, translated by Julian and Laura Semilian, with an introduction by yours truly. “The Passive Vampire” is a poetic memoir that is also a surrealist living guide and a very sophisticated essay on the connections between objects and human feelings.
 
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