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American Book Review, January/February 2008, University of Houston-Victoria, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Special focus on contemporary Romanian poetry, edited by the editor of the Corpse, who managed to offend many of his friends and incur the enmity of many others he hadn’t read.

Born in Utopia
, An Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Romanian Poetry, edited by Carmen Firan with Paul Doru Mugur and Edward Foster. New Jersey: Talisman Books, This is a major anthology by numerous translators of what’s becoming the hippest style around the high-powered world of verse. See American Book Review Romanian focus issue notice in Magazines list.

Callaloo, American Tragedy: New Orleans Under Water, a special issue, Vol. 29, No.4, edited by Charles Henry Rowell. The Johns Hopkins University Press. This is an extraordinary collection of original writings, documents and photographs of the 2005 Katrina tragedy. The vast range of interviews, writing and art work make this an indispensible and historic anthology.

Cartea cu Bunici
, editor Marius Chivu, Bucharest: Editura Humanitas. This is a collection of reminiscences and considerations on the subject of grandfathers and grandmothers by many fine Romanian writers. I was mightily amused and moved (because I speak Romanian), but someone should follow suit with an anthology about grandfathers in English.

Casandra Ioan, Patricia Goodrich
, Elizabeth Ray, Bone/ Flesh & Fur// Oase/ Carne & Blana. Romanians translated.

Constance Nr. 2: Delicate Burdens. One of the most visually stimulating print magazines we’ve seen. Art and text are linked beautifully in an hommage to New Orleans, with poetry by Dave Brinks, Susan Gisleson, Andy Young, Megan Burns, stories by Michael Patrick Welch, C.W. Cannon, art by Tim Best, Skylar Fein,, Musa Alves, and many others. Noon, 2008, editor: Diane Williams, 1324 Lexington Avenue PMB 298, New York, NY 10128. This is possibly the most elegant literary journal published in the U.S. today: current issue features a fabulous zebra cover. (And we don't say "fabulous zebra" frivolously). The contents aren't shabby either: among contributors are Lydia Davis and Monica Manolescu-Oancea, a Romanian essayist unknown to us whose presence we signal as part of our ongoing effort to grease the Carpathian-American axis.

Detroit: Stories, edited by Lynn Crawford, Peter Markus, and Michelle Perron. A publication of the Museum of Contemporar Art Detroit (MOCAD). l This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . This healthy volume of Detroit's major modern artists contains a superb section of work by Jim Gustafson, edited by Michelle Perron. Gustafson was a great poet who created a prodigious body of work between 1975-1996, when he died young of a brain aneurysm. An oversized personality with immense charm, Jim was simultaneously "a riot among friends" (as Jeffrey Miller, whose work Jim edited post-mortem said, describing his own michigander self), and a very serious writer who probed the language for secrets that yielded music. Gustafson published only a few slim volumes in his lifetime, a scarcity that can be attributed to his integrity and justified sense of self-worth. His poetry is just now beginning its ascent, and its astonished beauties are becoming visible to a new generation; there are new collections in the offing. His letters alone are anthologizable. Detroit, the city where Jim was born and where he died, after many perregrinations and sojourns in the bohemias of San Francisco and New York, was a source for both his toughness and his tenderness. "Detroit just sits there/ like the head of a dog on a serving platter.../ Detroit means lovers buying matching guns..." ("The Idea of Detroit"). Jim was also my friend and our adventures together would make a terrific book of stories, a claim that many of his friends might rightly make. He had a gift for friendship, and a generous and profligate nature that markes us all deeply.

a monthly journal of writing, authors and readings (Scrieri, Autori, Lecturi), edited by Mircea Vasilescu. Bucharest, Romania, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Imagine a Newsweek dedicated entirely to writers, writing, and culture. You cannot imagine it because it doesn't exist in our overspecialised, abundant, and decentralized continent.  Dilemateca (a word-play on "dilema," the source-weekly Dilema Veche, and "discoteca," or discotheque) treats literature like any ongoing societal urgency, such as politics or urban policy. There a book reviews aplenty, considerations of work in translation (there is a translation orgy inRomania now), columns by writers on whatever gets their attention, features on certan writers and, in general, considerate attention to the cultural climate of Romania, Europe and, occasionally, the U.S. Much was made recently of the remark by some northern european that the U.S. has become too provincial now to produce Nobel-worthy writers. It's a stinging remark that carries a certain truth, even if it's in essence pretty stupid. The stinging part has to do with the apparent indifference of americans to european literature, and our tendency to insularity. The stupid part is that the author of the remark couldn't have possibly kown the weath of writing and profound work being done in the U.S. now, an ignorance excusable only by the fact that we do not have such comprehensive general culture magazines as Dilemateca. This monthly is able to take in at a (monthly) glance a great deal of what is being published and talked about. The source journal from which Dilemateca springs, is a lively weekly, Dilema Veche ( ), founded by the philosopher Andrei Plesu, a feisty cultural and political forum of ideas organized around a theme  (tabloids; is there a european identity?; compassion and philantropy, etc). Written by columnist-writers, with contributions by other intellectuals, this newspaper is in the long tradition of the journals that have made of Romania's culture a major force and player in the country's fate and development. This tradition, evidenced brilliantly before WWW2 by Bilete de Papagal, a fiercely polemical journal edited by the great poet Tudor Arghezi, ceased entirely during the communist era (1947-1989). After 1989, the cultural-political journal was reborn with a vengeance, and Dilema Veche is a stellar example.

House Organ
, edited by Kenneth Warren, Lakewood, Ohio, is the best print poetry monthly in the U.S. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it, but its retro look (no website) belies its rich crême-de-la-crême contents. Among the contributors: Jack Hirschman, Harrison Fisher, Vincent Ferrini (goodbye, great old man of poesy!) and many, many others.

Island of my Hunger: Cuban Poetry Today
, edited and with an introduction by Francisco Morán. San Francisco: City Lights Books. These are the Cuban poets of today, at a critical junction in Cuba’s history. Here is Omar Perez (b. 1964) writing in English: “I understand, I understand/ But I don’t explain, I don’t explain./” We know, we don’t explain either, but then we don’t feel so much.

kadar koli, Nr. 1, editor David Hadbawnik,, publishes Sarah Peters, Hoa Nguyen, and Dale Smith, among others. That’s good enough for us, so you habe a bunch, nein?

Lettre Internationale, Spring 2008, Romanian edition, published by ICR (the Romanian Cultural Institute), New York, www. icr. ro . Sixty-five weighty issues later, this publication keeps track in Romanian of world literature. In this issue, one finds essays, fiction and poetry by Ryszard Kapuscinki, Juan Goytisolo, Slavenka Draculic, Lao Wei, Marius Chivu, and a host of others. Lettre Internationale, a journal with european relatives elsewhere, is a good index of what is being considered, at any given moment, the high peaks on the lit horizon.

Libertinage, DADAzine, The College of Pataphysics, Los Feliz Chapter of the World, 3230 Griffith Park Blvd. #1, Los Angeles, California 90027, Untied States of Amnesia. Unnanounced but regular, almost stern in its quasi-prussian schedule, Libertinage, DADAzine, shows up in my post office box in a plain envelope stamped across the fold with an ink-drawn dog smoking a pipe from which issues a long and thin thread of smoke reaching all the way up the envelope. My name, the addressee, is hand-lettered on the front, then retraced with an orange marker, next to a spiral drawn the same way. The side of the mailing directs it PAR AVION and LUFTPOST, and the return address, also handwritten but not magic-markered is The College of Pataphysics, Los Feliz Chapter of the World, 3230 Griffith Park Blvd. #1, Los Angeles, California 90027, Untied States of Amnesia. The interior of this slim booklet features photo collages accompanied by cryptic captions; some of the faces collaged within are famous, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, for instance, pointing to a button on his lapel that says, “FUCK ART. LET’S DANCE”; standing on Ferlinghetti’s shoulder is a screaming baby with his hands in his short pants; vizavis the baby is a black-and-white jazz poster in Spanish with the words blanco-negro in two lines of reversed black and white type, with the outline of a swinging brass player, vintage 1957, I’d say. On the page opposite the frowning Ferling is an alien who looks like Prince, wearing a wig, with a tear falling from his left orb, and a plate of fried chicken above his head, above which float the words Semper Dada in flowing italic script. It would probably take the rest of my day to describe what the eye takes in at a glance in this classic Dada-inspired pataphysical product, but you can rest assured that you will find George Harrison in drag here, walking atop a rustic fence as the caption informs us that Joan was quizzical/studied pataphysical. Our only conclusion regarding the steady appearance of this postal object is that the editor (Fazulito Rett, I believe) has vowed to the Dada God that if the Dada God lets him live through his liver transplant, he’ll mail me these things with scrupulous and frightening regularity. I’m not unhappy. I’m glad the transplant took, and I enjoy the product. (8.3.2011)

live mag
Nr.4, edited by Jeffrey Wright, publishes Sheila Lanham, Hugh Seidman, Kimiko Hahn, Sparrow, Marc Nasdor, Amiri Baraka. PO Box 1215, Cooper Station, NY, NY 10276

Nr. 21, Spring 2008. Contains R. Crumb, Bill Griffith, Harvey Pekar, Bruce Simon, Diane diPrima cartoonized by M. Fleener for the upcoming History of the Beats in cartoon form. What more of the best of the still-pulsing “refuse-to-be-burned-out” Sixties do you want?

The MIT Press 2008 Catalogue, this edition marks a special occasion: the 30-year tenure of Roger Conover as editor. During his amazing run, Conover has published over 800 books on avantgarde and modern art, architecture, and cultural studies. There is hardly a point in listing all the grounbreaking and/or physically gorgeous volumes issued under his care, since they constitute a complete library of certain arts viewed in a particular way (Conover's), a library that would suffice to educate anyone about what artists have been up to in the 20th century.  On the cover of the catalogue, there is a photograph of Roger Conover handing out a copy of THE EXILES of Marcel Duchamp with one hand, and a pound of hamburger with the other; he's wearing a blue apron and looks for all the world like a 19th century peddler displaying his wares from a pushcart. The inside of the back cover features Conover again, in a photo by Horst Hamann, dressed in black, standing with his arm raised over the tower of books he has published. These two pics frame an extraordinary project, without precedent in my opinion. In addition to realizing this visionary publishing epic, Conover is also the editor and (re)discoverer of Mina Loy, whose presence has been steadily changing the landscape of poetry in English. Add to all of it the fact that Roger Conover is a poet, and something mighty strange is beginning to emerge, namely, a new type of multi-dimensional artist whose work is vast and singular, but completely of our time: Roger Conover is a 21st century William Blake. He is not a man wearing different hats, as unimaginative copy-writers like to say about people who do more things than they are capable of understanding, he is all there, working in different media on the same vision. Conover's publishing, his Loy venture, his poetry, and his real-life person are expressions of one great impulse for which there is no convenient name yet, but which is prototypical for artists of the future. The Corpse takes its hat off (yes, this is a hat!) to Roger Conover.

noua literatura
, Nr. 15, II, mai 2008. . Edited by young Romanian critic Luminita Marcu, this is the battle-field, coffee-house, and customs house of the young cats who are swarming Romanian literature right now, ready to pick its bones clean. Two things you'll notice right away: the writers in here are young but very well-read, and secondly, they are hungry and know the ropes. The web-inspired graphics are instantly accessible, as is the brevity of the reviews and the literary pieces; the layout makes it clear that these are writers with websites who travel physically and virtually, and have no provincial complex. There is compelling freshness and honesty here, and I found the deliberately conversational vulgate delightful; the journal is writing slang and making it look good in print. It's a lively scene that will shake up the literary derangements of the house of scribblers, and it's the healthiest sign yet that Romanians are to be reckoned with on the field of letters.

a semi-annual literary newspaper, edited by Paul Vangelisti, published by the Graduate Writing Program at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . This awkwardly long address is the source of some of the freshest, most interesting fiction and essays being made in the U.S. now. This first issue of the journal means, I think, to complement the offerings of the press; it presents an excellent overview of some Italian poets in translation, as well as terrific autochtons. We feel serious kinship with the intents and voices herein, and the Corpse salutes and welcomes Or as a family member.

Poesis International, 2012,
edited Claudiu Komartin, This issue of young, youngish, and not-so-young Romanian poets, a healthy selection of translations from English, Hebrew, German (and even A dutch graphic poem-novel) makes a tonic case for poetry. These days we need badly an affirmation of the magical twists of our oh-so-human-and-deliciously-divine psyches.. Among the many delights here is a remarkable essay on the poetry of Maria Bănuş, who was dismissed for many years as a proletcultist communist server, but who was (also) a true poet, both victim and hero of her work and times.

The Poetry Project Newsletter,
edited by John Coletti, St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, New York. . American poetry may be the only excuse for murdering trees, and not most of it. Reviewing the Poetry Project Newsletter is a little like reviewing your sister: you knew her all your life and she still turns you on. Intended originally to publicize the poetry readings taking place without interruption since the mid-60s at St. Marks' Church-in-the Bowery on New York's Lower East Side, the Newsletter evolved over time into a literary publication of poetry reviews, essays, and letters. Over the years, the Poetry Project was the originating site of numerous esthetics, poetics, and cultural phenoms, a diversity held together by an undying je ne sais quoi, composed in the je sais parts by  incredible faith in the power of poetry to affect all that it intersects: politics, culture, cultural politics, space, and time. This je ne sais quoi's secret recipe contains, among other things,  the city of New York, an incessant rebellion against the shifting status quo (especially when the Project itself might be threatened by it), youth (the quality, not the chronology), and disdain and intolerance for most kinds of boredom (with exceptions too complex to go into here). Among the venerated Ancestors of the Poetry Project, some living, some dead, one counts Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Ted Berrigan, Maureen Owen, Bernadette Mayer, Paul Blackburn, Joel Oppenheimer. I myself, a mere nub of mongrel composition, found shelter at the Church in the mid-60s, and have had a continuously satisfying relationship with it. The Newsletter, throughout the tenure of many brilliant editors, has been an ongoing source of family news and a source of inspiration. The issue I am looking at (not the latest), contains a powerful appreciation of Lorenzo Thomas by Dale Smith, a poem by Tim Dlugos, and remembrances of Mahmoud Darwish (1941-2008) and Jonathan Williams (1929-2008). The memorial texture of this issue is by no means typical, but when so many great poets died in such close temporal proximity, there is no choice. When they were living, those poets also read at the Church and were reviewed in the Newsletter. And this may be another solid feature of the St. Marks' magic: its loyalty to the poets who have stormed through the building and through American life over the incredible span of nearly half a century. So, like I said, you want to know what's new, hip, and fresh, check out my sistah!

Poets Bookshelf II
, edited by Peter Davis and Peter Koontz, Seattle: Barnwood Press, This is a book about what poets influenced the poets in the book in case somebody wants to be a poet like one of the poets in the book and read all the books that influenced that poet – that’s known in the trade as a Circle Jerk. I’m in this book saying something to the effect that too many people influenced me to sort them out now, plus I’ve influenced a lot of the people that were in both. Vol I and II, but they are too pretentious to know it, so they pretend that they were influenced only by people like Guy Debord and Edmond Jabès, which sounds really impressive, esp. since I am reasonably sure that they haven’t read more than one page of these resonant names’ works. Most poets are not only liars, but have an inflatable organ that swells them to ten times their real size as soon as you ask them a question like, Who Influenced You?, which makes them the size of squirrel poop (inflated).

Semnalul, a monthly journal published by the B'nai Brith, Lodge Dr. W. Fielderman, Toronto, Canada. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Every month this brave little Jewish magazine in Romanian, makes its way to our post office box in Louisiana. Opinionated (to the right of Attila the Hun), hawkish pro-Israeli, sentimentally Romanian, well-written, amusing, sometimes grave, sometimes solemn, at times goofy, this publication is a reminder of just how much affection Romanian-born Jews feel for the language, the culture, the food, and the people of Romania. If a sobering essay on the Holocaust wasn't there occasionally to remind the reader just how brutal the beloved Romanians could be, one would think that they were reading a zealously patriotic traditionalist review. Unhappily, the good news and affection are leavened by the truth, and the reader enters that strange (not unpleasurable) zone where melancholy haunts memory. Semnalul is by no means a literary publication, but its brief portraits of great Romanian writers of Jewish origin, birthdays and anniversary reminders and such, point out just how much Jews have enriched Romanian culture and vice-versa, in an intertwined and real way.

Seeing Los Angeles, A Different Look at a A Different City, edited by Guy Bennett & Bèatrice Mousli, Los Angeles: Otis Books/Seismicity Editions, Los Angeles is an evolving world of three million people sitting on a powder keg, and this collection of essays by thoughtful writers, reveals this amazing city under many lights. We knew something, but honestly, we didn’t know just what a complex beast L.A. is. I’d like to go back soon. The publishers of this anthology are also hosts to the new review of literature, This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , one of the best mags going these days. Whatever they’ve got at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles (except cash) they should put in the water. It works.

State of the Union, 50 political poems
, edited by Joshua Beckman and Matthew Zapruder, Wave Books, A refreshing collection of poetic disappointment and confusion at the dawn of the Obama age. The poets here, among them, John Ashbery, Dave Brinks, Lucille Clifton, Eileen Myles, are too smart, too tough, and too good to be trapped into the rhetoric suggested by "political poems," so they do their damning hard but they don't forget the flowers, the eucalyptus, the minaret, or the name of the street they live on. The "political poem" doesn't really exist anywhere now, since a) all poems are political just by being poems (i.e, less of a commodity than paper hats or land mines), and b) no poet in his right verse would be found dead hanging out in the cliche-worn neighborhood of the op-ed page. The "political poem" thus monickered may have never in truth existed anywhere, except in places like Russia where Majakovski killed himself for writing too many of them, and Ossip Mandelstam was killed for writing one. A "political poem" one isn't executed for is not really "political," but why quibble with a subtitle?

Stop Smiling
Nr. 34, The Jazz Issue, featuring ORNETTE! and a Tribute to Eric Dolphy. One of our favorite mag titles, and one of the Corpse’s kin.

Vatra, a monthly literary journal published in Targu Mures, Romania. This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it . Edited by Virgil Podoaba. In the best literary traditions of this excessively and, sometimes, enervatingly erudite country, this magazine probes, critiques, and presents contemporary Romanian essay, verse, and fiction, with a passion long gone from the U.S. Our literary magazines are mostly house-organs for writing programs or, like The Paris Review, insecure attempts at promoting an elite in a nonelitist country, in a nonelitist sort of way. In the U.S. we have very few literary monthlies, our literature being produced (in overwhelming quantities) in quarterlies. Vatra has its own agenda, having to do with its own area, but there is breath-takingly transcendent writing in it, like the essays of Al. Vlad, a world-class writer.

Voices of the City
, edited by Rosamond S. King, Charles Russell, Marie Carter, and Robert Hershon, Brooklyn: Hanging Loose Press, 2008, . Ever fresh and weary, gritty and despairing springs the city, and in this new anthology from the venerable and still street-wise Hanging Loose Press, the city is mostly The City, New York, which includes (and always has) Brooklyn. Bob Hershon and Donna Brook have a recognisable editorial style: they like it real, spare, tough, and with heart; if these editors were painters they'd be Marsden Hartley. Selected here are some magnificent works that continue the work left for us by the firm of Whitman, O'Hara, Oppenheimer, Blackburn, and Berrigan. Notable to this reviewer, "Headlights" by Nora Lawrence, The lights from the FDR Drive streak by/ outside the windows tonight, Elinor Nauen, Sunlight for Brooklyn, Brenda Coultas' catalogue of garbage on the sidewalk around 9/11, 2001 (without mentioning it), Paul Violi's "On an Acura Integra," Sharon Mesmer's the love-making   the L train  the blue hour, Hettie Jones' stunning poems, "Hare Krishna Haute Couture," and "Say Goodbye to the Little Yellow Building" (both of which I heard her read in Baton Rouge in 2007, what a delightful reader/person!), Robert Hershon's "Brooklyn Bridge the Other Way" I bought this bridge a long time ago/ and now I'm almost home, Sherman Alexie's very funny (but not ha-ha funny) "Things (for an Indian) to Do in New York (City)," a loving take on Ted Berrigan's "Things to do in New York," Vicki Hudspith's thorny "Incisors at Dawn," and the very great Maggie Nelson poem, "Subway in March, 5:45 PM" I take the long way home, knowing/ I am free to choose happiness. The only other grandly sung city in here is Detroit, the part that leads into New York, and this connection is given absolute grace by Ken Mikolowski's magnificent "January in Detroit or Search for Tomorrow Starring Ken and Ann," a glorious poem of poetry, money, culture, and life that made me tear up. I could praise everything in this spare book, I know most of these poets' work, but let me just say: the editors give us The City here, a special poets' city, one that I once lived in and feel little nostalgia for, but what little I feel this book feeds.

Xavier Review, Volume 26, Nr. 1-2, edited by Richard Collins,, a Katrina issue that gives the Catastrophe its rightful gravitas with works by David Brinks and many others.
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