Thursday, September 07, 2006


Well now....I've been getting a lot of interesting additions to the review copy list for Galatea Resurrects! Word is getting out about that WORD! Do consider reviewing/engaging with these books, Peeps! Join the party and door prize is Tom Beckett's condom!

My "NICE PROJECT" is also honored, by the way, to have had a brief stint over at the elegantly-wise blog ANTIC VIEW. Here's an excerpt that I quote, not because it begins with my name (hee) but for its very lucid views on reviewing:

Allen Bramhall (AHB): Eileen Tabios has a nice project in Galatea Resurrects, offering space for reviews. she even will send review copies (which she has accrued) to prospective reviewers. I asked to do some, a lark. I'd bought Ernesto [Priego}'s book, Stephen [Ellis] (whose work I don't mind championing) had given me his, and the other three came from Eileen. I asked for Anny [Ballardini] and Mark [Lamoreaux], and Eileen suggested Jon [Leon], whose work I didn't previously know. my goal isn't to explain the books, nor to suggest a complete reading. I just want to note what caught my attention. I think all writers should write reviews. by this I mean formally commit to the process of evaluation. whether these are published or remain journal jottings, it seems like a good exercise. I've written on my blog that everything I write there includes a question mark. however declarative I may be, I'm still just poking at the thing. I'm not against negative reviews, but criticism (one sees it all the time) in which there's a momentum of style, the Joan Houlihan School of Snide Rebate, that's just gamesmanship. I don't mind not getting it. a publisher once told me, if he didn't understand a work, he wanted to publish it. that strikes me as an excellent basis.

Jeff Harrison (JH): I agree that all writers should write reviews, whether publicly or privately. I don't write reviews, publicly or privately. My public writings are poems and Antic View entries. My private writings are poems (which are eventually public), emails, and titles of books that I mean to hunt for at libraries or bookstores. If I see a passage I want to revisit in a book I own, I write a page number, and sometimes a keyword, in the inside of the cover. If I see a passage I want to revisit in a book I don't own, I copy the passage in a notebook I use exclusively for copied passages. I often look through this notebook, which is comprised almost entirely of passages on poetry. I particularly enjoy remarks on poetry by people who aren't poets, as I find them largely indistinguishable from remarks on poetry by poets. Perhaps I don't write reviews because I fear this blurring of identities. Does one cease to be a poet when writing of poetry? Writing prose is where poet and non-poet meet, as is reading prose. Poetry is where the non-poet cannot go except as a reader. Does one cease to be a poet when reading poetry? The only two states of a poet being writing poetry and thought unguided by an outside poem (a poem written by someone else) (does reading a poem you've written count as a poem written by someone else?)? Every poet is a compromise with the poet's weaker elements.

AHB: I think I've harped on the writers write reviews bit before, and what I really mean is that conscious evaluation is needed for the writer. this is a constant. which I'm sure you do, whether you write it down or not. I need to write it, otherwise I remain in a sort of inchoate non-verbal glow. poetry absolutely astonishes me, in a baffling way. I cannot write 'privately', not in the sense that I think you mean. always, I'm aware of the Reader, that potential. if not the id then an id. I admire your method of gleaning. I used to do similar, even putting the interesting quotes and phrases that I found into categories. Auden published a nifty commonplace book. I should go back to doing that, as I am a collector of notebooks, always ready for a reason to fill another. you are kinder, by the bye, to your books than I am. I like to annotate, underline and write poems in books (mine only, not library ones). I even kinda appreciate the underlinings in used books that I buy, tho often these are insipid indoctrinations by the teachers. your stance towards poetry is my stance towards writing. well, there is a class of writing that lacks intensity, or crystalline essence: that's prosaic. which is the prose that doesn't exult, I guess. when I write of poetry, it's like looking at a faraway star. it necessitates description, but also this ethereal wonder. poetry, in this simile, is like a closer star, an abstraction of light. so I feel that, yes, the poet still exists when writing of poetry, but it's a cooler activity. I think all I'm writing here confirms your statement that every poet is a compromise with the poet's weaker elements. reading a poem that I've written is indeed a poem written by someone else.

**end of excerpt**

Reviewing is just one of MANY topics addressed by Jeff Harrison and Allen Bramhall -- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READING, indeedy, is moi review of ANTIC VIEWS.