Sunday, September 14, 2008


Nicholas Manning reviews Mark Young's long-overdue PELICAN DREAMING: Poems 1959-2008 over HERE at JACKET!

Nicholas has several gems in his review, all encouraging Moi to preen over having published Mark's own BRICK. Here are three excerpts below which should persuade you -- if you are the discerning poetry-lover type -- to BUY THIS NECESSARY BOOK!

For instance:
Across the entire latitude of the forty-nine years of poetic life encompassed here, we are witness then to an extraordinarily wide-ranging and diverse poetic praxis, ranging from vispo to experimental sonics, free series to procedural play. This formal diversity is rivaled only by a comparable cultural and contential scope.

Indeed, the extent of this engagement is perhaps what begins to indicate to us one of the important differences between Mark Young’s poetic, and those we may mention as possible forbears. He is, for instance, a consistently more political poet than Frank O’Hara, yet also consistently successful in the subtlety and rhetorical cleverness manifest in his political engagement. Perhaps we may even say, in reference to Young’s poems, that if O’Hara’s tone was his engagement–style the marvellous substance and clothes the beautiful man–then Mark Young often seems to take the original flair of O’Hara’s cosmopolitan insouciance, only to then use it to devastating argumentative effect. Against the heavier political anger of an Ed Dorn or Alice Notley, Young consistently surprises us then with the sting at the end of his apparently more idiomatic rhetorical tale.

A second for instance:
This is as precise and detailed as the best of high-Objectivist Zukofsky–a sink or a mantis perceptively transformed–though there are elements here too, quite obviously, of Frank O’Hara, William Carlos Williams, and perhaps even Robert Creeley. There is precision here but with a perceptive, phenomenological depth. The formality is not dry or overworked, the occasionality never sentimental or gratuit. In this way, the two aspects harmonize one another: they exist, not only together, but with an extraordinary complementarity. It is perhaps for this reason that Young’s poetry seems almost more comfortable with itself–with its status as well as with what it has to say–than much of the poetry of the New Americans which constitutes its vital, and readily declared, lineage.

A third for instance:
It is perhaps for this reason that what I feel to be one of the most achieved and complex sequences here–from Series Magritte–is another example of form and occasion’s stunning complementarity. For, though each poem here takes as its apparent origin an image by the aforementioned surrealist, this sequence of very strong poems is far beyond mere ut pictura poesis. It is also more than any unidemensional ekphrasis: the density of effect here belies the simplicity of its presentation, and the results are unexpected, and always impressive. The following poem, ‘Not to be Reproduced’, is reproduced here in its entirety:

Shown from the back the
subject is androgynous–think
k.d.lang in her man’s suit
phase. It is a portrait of the artist
as a young (wo)man. It is not
a portrait of the artist. Magritte says
it is not to be reproduced
though he reproduces it
anyway. We do not see
the face. Magritte does not
produce it. Or reproduce it.
Is not reflected in the mirror
for what comes back from there
is not mirror-image
but reproduction. Almost as if
we were peering over a shoulder
only to see the shoulder that we
were peering over. But it is
reflection. The mantlepiece
is reflected & the copy of
Edgar Allan Poe’s Adventures
of Arthur Gordon Pym
that rests
upon it is partially reflected. It
is a book about an imaginary
journey. Magritte’s painting
is a journey of imagination about
what happens between two points
that are the same point
though there is distance
between them. He says it is not to be
reproduced. It is reproduced here.

Btw, doesn't above just also make you want to read a well-written review? (Hint: if not, take a look at the reviewer's photo at bottom of review--Nicholas is hot!)

Anyway, y'all know what to do. I've led y'all to the trough. Now DRINK! For your own good!

Labels: , ,