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Max Cafard, with illustrations by Stephen Duplantier, Surregional Explorations, Charles H. Kerr, 1726 West Jarvis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. The philosopher-activist-poet Max Cafard has crystallized in this collection the practicable philosophy of Surregional Exploration. Originally an offshoot of the Situationist dèrive, the surregionalist practice traveled both its forking paths: that of Eugéne Sue, urban wanderer, author of the "Mysteries of Paris," and that of surrealist and maoist guerrilla intervention. Max Cafard has reconsidered the dérive in light of new virtual mapping and their pathways, and has come to recommend a form of active urban vagabonding that guides philosophical reflection. The Corpse, who has been with Cafard from the start, publishing his essays, finds this new orleanian solution quite beautiful. Our only proviso: look where you're going. There are cars!

Iulian Cãnãnãu
, O istorie documentarã a SUA, Bucharest: Editura-Agatha, It’s weird, but there are a lot of great founding texts of the U.S. that I never read until I found them in this primer for Romanian students by Professor Cãnãnãu. What I learned: natives take for granted “the making of the Americans,” as Getrude Stein put it. Don’t, natives! Use another language if you must, but read The Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of the Confederacy, George Washington’s Farewell, and a few major Supreme Court decisions today! Actually, this is a bilingual book, so you can read them in the original, too.

Cârneci, Dan Hayon, O colectie de mirosuri/ A Collection of Smells, Bucharest: Romanian Cultural Institute. Here is an old dream of mine realized by poet Magda Carneci, with evocative photographs by Dan Hayon. In 1989 I returned to Romania after nearly three decades in the U.S., to "cover" the "revolution" for radio and TV, but secretly hoping to smell my way back into childhood, a secret proustian project that I've had to pursue under the cover of "journalism," and in almost as much secrecy (scent is a solitary and perverse affair: you cannot sniff in company, and the very act of inhaling must be conducted with absolute concentration.) Here now is the poetic project of a keen nose. Above the entry "In smmer, Bucharest Smells Oriental," is this "A world almost begotten, almost born, yet still imprecise, hesitating, just not ready. Over which, surretitious but all-pervading, the spicy, mouth-watering flavor of mititei hovers, garlicky and meaty." Voila, the meat of the matter smoking through the shimmer of a still-tentative city and society. Poets have not always kept their eyes or their minds open, but the best among them always kept an open nose. Our first sense, close to the forest floor, the sense most refractory to language, finds here a connoisseur.

Magda Cârneci, Art et Pouvoir en Roumanie, 1945-1989, Paris: L’Harmattan, A masterful disssection of the recent corpse of communism by one of our contributors, a major Romanian poet.

Mircea Cãrtãrescu, Orbitor, aripa dreapta, Bucharest: Editura Humanitas, This is the “sequel” of an immensely imaginative poetic novel that completes Cartarescu’s vision of childhood and a Bucharest that is no more. Translated, awarded, and praised in Europe and Latin America, Cãrtãrescu has only one book in English, Nostalgia, translated by Julian Semilian, and published by New Directions,, in 2006. There should be more, this is a world-class writer.

Mark DeCarteret, (If This Is the) New World, Greensboro, NC: The poet says “I was reading a book about fingerprints,” and one of those prints is in the Exquisite Corpse.

Norene Cashen, The Reverse is also True, Detroit: Doorjamb Press, See her poetry in this issue. Or, as blurbed by editor: “Norene Cashen ‘s poems are sad and beautiful, they remind me of why I’m sometimes afraid of poetry.”

Nina Cassian, Avangarda nu moare si nu se predã, poeme si desene (antologie 1947-2007). Bucharest: Editura Vinea, with an essay by Serban Foarta, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . This is the great nonagenarian Romanian poet’s own selection of her work and drawings. The title alone, “the avantgarde doesn’t die and it doesn’t surrender,” should tell you something about the fierce spirit of this much-loved poet who strode sexily and without false humility through almost the entire 20th century.

Ruxandra Cesereanu & Marius Conkan,
Tinutul Celalalt, Editura Cartea Romaneasca, 2012. After being abused in the sweaty trenches of poesy by her elder Andrei Codrescu, in Submarinul Iertat (2009), Ruxandra put on her wings and her ballet shoes and snatched from earth a younger poet, Marius Conkan, whom she flew to tinutul celalalt (the other world), and proceeded to love-gurgle with him the story in collaborative verse of two children, a boy and a girl with Down syndrome, who speak their discoveries and affection in a strange and lovely Romanian, like a burbly spring. The other world is Oz, Wonderland, Neverland, but it comments very pointedly on this world as well. The two children, Spuki and Lolo, have no borders and, unlike the Ruxandra and Andrei of the previous book-length poem, it is impossible to say where one begins and the other ends. This book is marvelously untranslatable. Learn Romanian!

Ruxandra Cesereanu
, coma. Bucharest: Editura Vinea, 2008. I heard Ruxandra read poems from this collection in the basement of the Carturesti bookstore in Bucharest in early June 2008, and I was surprised. I don't say this lightly: there is something new about every one of her poetry books, some kind of intention of creating a whole object. In coma, she writes rough-edged love lyrics that are anything but nice, but end up both musically and visually compelling. For instance, from the suite of poems entitled suita porceasca (porcine suite), here in an approximate rendering: there is also the chunk of meat filled with dark force/ this is the hulking girl with horse-giraffe hips/ she only talks with the big sex of the devil-man/ talks/ mumbles/ gurgles/ glues herself/ blinks..., you get (some of) the picture. There are some carnally tender moments in this porcine suite, too, and it was all made triply surreal by her soft but forceful reading in the vaulted basement where she arrived late from Rio de Janeiro via Paris. Later, we had dinner with Ioana Avadani and Laura at a Romanian restaurant called "Carul cu Tei," and then she took a late-night train to Cluj. Poet on the move, look out!

Ruxandra Cesereanu, Crusader-Woman, poems translated by Adam J. Sorkin with the poet, containing "Letter to American Poets," written directly in English. Introduction by Andrei Codrescu, Afterword by Calin-Andrei-Mihailescu. Boston: Black Widow Press. . The first major collection in English by this formidable Romanian poet. To quote from my introduction: "Ruxandra Cesereanu begins her journey at the ur-ground of poetry, the beginning of the begots: 'You are there, and I here.' This is from her Letter to American Poets, written directly in English. 'You are there, and I here' is the first and last human utterance and the first and last line of poetry ever written. The Chinese poets applaud. Ruxandra’s Here is Cluj, Romania, a medieval city where frozen stone knights stand and lie with Gothic stoicism in cathedrals, watching history coagulate, disintegrate, evanesce, and start again. Among them is a Woman Crusader whose story the poet has elicited from dream and chronicle in a conversation that traverses the entirety of her flesh and blood.

Ruxandra Cesereanu, Venetia cu vene violete, Cluj-Napoca: Editura Dacia. Romania’s foremost “delirionist” (a movement she invented in hommage to psychedelics) writes hallucinatory love letters from her favorite city. Venice has already appeared and will continue to make appearances in her poetry and stories, and in here it’s a particularly violent Venice: “Capul ti l-as taia cind ai muri/ ca dar pentru dragostea mea naluca.” (I’d cut off your head when you die/ as a gift for my crazed love.) That is quite believable and I, editor of Exquisite Corpse, know wherefore I speak: I wrote “Submarinul Iertat” (The Forgiven Submarin), an epic-lyric poem in collaboration with Ruxandra, and many were the times when my head was near-rolling. Luckily, we conducted our collaboration by e-mail. After its limited edition by Editura Brumar ( in Bucharest in 2008, it will be published by Black Widow Press in the U.S. in my translation in 2009. Head-spinningly frigging incestuous.

Ruxandra Cesereanu, Nasterea Dorintelor Lichide, Bucharest: Editura Cartea Romaneasca, This is a book about desire and the body, written for the purposes of both arousing and chastising, a kind of S&M manual by a masterful but perverse poet who uses words as if they were actual skin cells or sperms. The last section of the book classifies types of men, as a kind of feminist response to her contemporary, poet Mircea Cartarescu, who wrote a hugely successful book called, “Why We Love Women.” Cesereanu’s men are drawn rather broadly (haha!), but they do resemble, uncomfortably, some real local dudes who are gunning for her in the newspapers.

Dumitru Chioaru, clipe fosforescente, Cluj-Napoca, Editura Limes. This Transylvanian poet from Sibiu is the editor of “Euphorion,” a literary monthly, and an infinitely patient man: “I never hurried destiny – woe is me!/ but at my back someone is collecting traces like sudden mushrooms.” We also know who that is, which is why we don’t turn around.

Petru Cimpoesu, Noua proze vechi. Fictiuni Ilicite, Bucharest: Editura Polirom, 2008. If you were wondering where all the intelligent and funny story-tellers went after Milan Kundera gave up the job, look no farther than this brilliant collection by a master fictioneer who understands profoundly the three pillars of greatness: 1. the people's language (in this case Romanian), 2. the people (who are not the author), and 3. the complexities of fiction. The common folk who move through these stories have seen their share of history, and have come through it all with all their silliness intact, and even some distilled wisdom, be it only in the form of the most profound curse common to the region, "du-te-n pizda ma-ti," which means, loosely translated, "why doncha get back to your mother's cunt," meaning, "You're so stupid, why don't you get born again?." This piece of  onthological advice that works in all lands at all times, receives here a meditation worthy of Montaigne. English-language publishers, take note.

Andrei Codrescu, Jealous Witness, with maelstrom: songs of storm & exile, a CD by the New Orleans Klezmer AllStars based on the poetry cycle by the same name; Jonathan Freilich, guitars; Glenn Hartman, piano; Nobu Ozaki, bass; David Rebeck, violin, viola, mandola, accordion; Robert Wagner, clarinet, saxophone, piano; singers: Coco Robicheaux, Valentina Osinski, John Kendall Bailey, Harry Shearer, Ivan Neville, John Boutte, New Orleans Happy Man's Choir; Chayito Champion.  Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 2008. Reviewing yourself is awkward if not downright gross, even if Whitman did it, akin to "eating like masturbating," to paraphrase  Gombrowicz, but in this case I am not reviewing myself. I am only making whooping sounds of delight at the phenomenal music that Jonathan Freilich and Glenn Hartman and all the other listed artists, made from the flimsy pretext of my poem. This CD is an opera-cabaret of very high quality that will be released separately from the book at some point, but here is an opportunity to get it together with the book, and own the first pressing before it wins a Grammy.

Andrei Codrescu
, Femeia Neagrã a unui culcus de hoti, Bucharest: Editura Vinea, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . A bibliophile’s dream, this book has a story Borges would have enjoyed. The last poems I wrote in Romanian were inside a volume by an Italian poetess in 1965-1970. I not only wrote, but I drew over the originals, defaced, and played with languages. And then I promptly lost it in New York in 1970. In 2005, the rare-book librarian at (M)Emory University e-mailed to ask if this odd book that had been donated to Emory was mine. It was. He made me a fast copy and I mailed it to my poet friend Ruxandra Cesereanu, who showed to Nicolae Tzone at Vinea Press, who went to work and produced one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen, certainly my most beautiful book, an edition that has both the poems set in type like any poetry book and a facsimile edition of the original Italian book by Renata Pescanti Botti. There are also foldout photographs and other book-art wonders. The actual production took place in a very short time over the internet, with the urgent help of David Faulds and white nights spent making up the eight hour difference between Bucharest and Baton Rouge. The reason for the rush was that Nicolae Tzone wanted to greet me with the finished book when I went to Romania in the Fall of 2007. So much drama and so much symmetry surrounds this book, I almost need to write another book around it. I’m sure I talked at least one book’s worth in various places with various people: where is my Boswell?

Andrei Codrescu & Ruxandra Cesereanu, Submarinul Iertat, Bucharest: Editura Brumar, Another bibliophilic coup! At the same time as the story of the book above was unfolding, I was losing my mind collaborating with “delirionist” Ruxandra Cesereanu, who made me delirious with poetry. This particular de-luxe edition comes signed inside a blood-maroon silk pillow, and was also presented to me during the same trip to Romania in 2007. I read at a Poetry Marathon in my birth town of Sibiu, a breathless event that left me feeling a little like a statue, except that I was wide-awake and exhausted simultaneously. No statue I. We took both books to the Frankfurt Book Fair where they were displayed among millions of other books, so I slowly regained my sense of perspective. I shrank from statue to a mildly pleasant pidgeon. Ruxandra got chased by a mad duck on the bank of the Mein. I believe that the mad duck was the reincarnation of a furious 19th century German Romantic poet who died unpublished. The Forgiven Submarine, in Andrei Codrescu's translation has just been published by Black Widow Press (2009, ) we humbly announce, while I (Codrescu) am here to tell you that translating Ruxandra's intricate imagery was almost possible, while translating myself from Romanian into English was an odd kind of mind-knotting fandango that took the breath out of me.  Now I'm breathing. An essay remains to be written on our American tour of the Forgiven Submarrine in New York (Romanian Cultural Center, St. Marks' Church), New Orleans (The Gold Mine Saloon), and Baton Rouge (LSU). Our Romanian tour reached for the limits of my glottal and sublingual resources, the American for my cool. I recommend bilingvism now as Theory, Hardship, Praxis, and Therapy. Through all of it Ruxandra was most gracious and charmed the bejeezus out of everyone.

William Corbett, Opening Day, Brooklyn: Hanging Loose Press, It is fascinating to watch the good New York school-connected poets age, mainly because they tell you exactly what it's like, and because they do, you can also find out how their friends are doing, what poets from their youth they are still reading, and how they feel about the body politic (along with the body decrepit). In a true sense, the poets of the closely observed true and weird thing, make you feel less lonely, a service they will provide for readers long after they and I will be dead. William Corbett is a learned man, a famed art appreciator, and was friends with Joe Brainard, James Schuyler, Ted Berrigan, Edwin Denby, Rudy Burkhardt, and Robert Creeley among the illustrious dead, and what that means is that he read them. His poetry reports the comings and goings of those people in memory and books, as well as his own. "Well, you/ didn't ask but here's the answer./ Ruby's in Providence, Thayer Street/ is where I last drank a Dr. Brown's/ Cel-Ray tonic. Delicious, color/ and fizz of that stormy lake night."

Nicholas Courage
, triangulating happiness, forty-two ontological affirmations, exploding iterations, etc. Brooklyn: a mutual respect book, 2007, Bitter-sweet proses of truth that concentrate life in boho Brooklyn in the early 21st century. I particularly enjoyed the fearless use of "facts" in their soup of feelings, a fresh sort of daring in the overstrained broth of contemp am po. Nicholas Courage, aka Nicholas Richardson, is also the author, under the latter name, of mr. feathers flies again a 2006 mutual respect book, containing more true & life-brimming works in which "someone is misquoting Derrida/ in the hallway" What a place, Brooklyn! We misquote Derrida everywhere.
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