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tearing the rag off the bush again
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César Vallejo, The Complete Works, a bilingual edition, edited and translated by Clayton Eshleman, with a foreword by Mario Vargas Llosa. Berkeley: www.ucpress.edu. University of California Press. This is the crowning work of decades for Clayton Eshleman, disinguished poet, editor of two of the last half century’s best magazines, Caterpillar and Sulfur, and translator also of Aimé Césaire, among others. The UC Press did a grand job of publishing the magnum opus of the great South American poet.


Megan Volpert, Sonics in Warholia, SiblingRivalryPress, 2012. Volpert has a long poetic finger on the pulse of America, which cycles from sublime to limp. In teasing out Andy Warhol's "sonics," she gets the "sublime" that so many of us admire about Andy. This slim volume distills Warholia from many readings of Warhol writings, books about Warhol, and Andy's recordings, and mixes them in the pop stew that was Warhol's America. A combo of poetry, essay, art critique, and ripoff, Volpert's tomette should get up on your Warhol shelf. And apropos of nothing pertinent, do you think that Warhol's genius notwithstanding, his fame has something to do with his name? War-hole... We've been in a war-hole for a while, and we are digging it deeper, and the only way out is maybe to shrug a la Warhol and be presently brilliant.

Megan A. Volpert,
the desense of nonfense, poems by Megan A. Volpert, Buffalo, New York: BlazeVox, 2009. blazevox.org . The bold typos in the title prefigure the double and triple-takes this dynamic and sophisticated poet will oblige you to do throughout. One cannot “defend” “nonsense,” but one might, just might, “desense” a “nonfense,” whatever that is. In other words, what philosophers find impossible, this poet solves with the flick of a typo. You can hear her laughing along with Alexander (the Great) who cut the gordian knot, a similar solution. This collection is playfully rich, stylistically acommodating, and full of unexpected traps and other surprises. “nine kinds of life” opens on a carnivalesque note with the poet “chased in by a band of wild idiots/ carrying one dull sickle between them,” only to turn around and take the sickle away from them, and turn them into “adjective men.” At the end of the poem, a revelation: “Captain Ricky,” who possibly “worked at the Pentagon forever” has no idea that “robert mcnamara was left handed.” That’s like working in a whorehouse and not knowing what a “madam” is. Swift. Volpert makes word-collages, even geyser-word-collages, but they are never without strategic purpose(s), the exact aim of the strategies often being discovered in the process of being strategized. Once a famed spoken-word diseuse, Megan Volpert now uses the page like a field of rye grass, and her sickle is never dull.
 
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