First thought, I hated the title to this blog. Seemed too much like the title of a 50's B-movie, a commercial on late night MTV. Sounded too much like an infomercial, an ad for avant garde erotica. Second thought (may Allen Ginsberg roll over in the grave never having had one as a poet), I'll go with my first thought. Then I'll keep the title anyway.
Lisa Jarnot's Black Dog Songs. I'm ambivalent about writing about it because I'm ambivalent about the book. How's that for a tautology? On the one hand, I have a total respect for her technical ability. She knows how to squeeze every ounce of sound value out of a lyric. On the other hand, most of the poems--on first reading--leave me cold (with some notable exceptions). This may well be a book that I'll return to in a few weeks or months and feel differently about. Some of the lines have been coming back to me at odd moments--that's usually a good sign.
It's interesting how some books of poetry grab one right away and how others work like time release capsules.
I've not yet read Black Dog Songs, though it's been high praised as one of a few recent works that move the project of American poetry forward. What resonated most in the above blog was the notion that some books of poetry don't grab immediately, yet when re-read act as time capsules, releasing, revealing, once, finally, the reader's ready. That is not an uncommon experience for this reader.
I think the same notion extends to poets, too. Poets who initially left me cold but whom I now am hot for:
Elizabeth Willis, Jordan Davis, Anselm Hollo, Ange Mlinko, Daniel Davidson, Ray DiPalma, Juliana Spahr... and so many others. They all had, however, a different approach to the poem, a sense of language, a sixth sense of language, such as Jarnot's technical ability for Beckett, perhaps, that tugged at my instincts.
Check out the winter 2004 issue of Moria (volume 6 issue 3)
Poetry by Camille Martin, Peter Ganick, Bruna Mori, Eileen Tabios, Trevor Landers, Sandra Simonds, Andrew Lundwall, Petra Backonja, Ann Lederer, Shane Plante, and Crag Hill. And a review of Maria Damon and Miekal And’s Literature Nation by Bob Marcacci (which includes a link to the electronic edition of the book).