Tuesday, March 06, 2007


out of my, uh, volcanic ears! To wit, Tom Fink -- one of the most adept poet-critics out there -- reviews Ernesto Priego's faboo hay(na)ku/jainaku collection Not Even Dogs for the new Winter 2007 issue of Word/ForWord #11.

I appreciate how Tom concludes "Thanks to his ability to put line-breaks (and, at times, caesuras) at different points in a sentence, Priego manages to write about one hundred pages of hay(na)ku without falling into monotony. This is impressive." Yep -- click HERE to see more (it's also a nice example of review-writing), but here's an excerpt I like!

Many of Priego’s poems interrogate properties of language in ways reminiscent of Jacques Derrida’s writing. Derrida, whom Priego cites in an epigraph to one poem (23), frequently utilized the trope of “ghost” to further his elaboration of the deconstructive logic(s) of absence/ presence. The figure of the ghost surfaces in enough poems in Not Even Dogs for Priego to admit, in the opening lines of a hay(na)ku sequence, “How/ I wish/ I could write// about/ something other// than my ghosts// but/ what are/ words if not// traces/ of absence. . .” (31). While these lines may be uncomfortably close to the ur- deconstructionist’s lingo, other poems on language exhibit much less derivative discourse. Especially, note one interlingual example where non-equivalence is declared elegantly and symmetrically:

another language
is not Latin

untranslatable word
cannot be learnt

impossible experience
you simply ignore

distant madness
you once imagined

once meant
something to us

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