Staff Book Reviewer Spencer Dew is the author of the novel Here Is How It Happens (Ampersand Books, 2013), the short story collection Songs of Insurgency (Vagabond Press, 2008), the chapbook Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (Another New Calligraphy, 2010), and the critical study Learning for Revolution: The Work of Kathy Acker (San Diego State University Press, 2011). His Web site is spencerdew.com.
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In an Afterword, Gordon talks about this book, the sort of action it is. The whole thing speaks to this, theorizing even as it exemplifies, like the demonstrator demonstrating one method for the delivery of flaming gasoline, talking us through the angle of wrist at the moment of release, etc. Gordon writes here about that ever-floating “this” that the poem spills its spotlight all around: “This gray, golf knife’s serrations / This egg (and that egg) and their difference (outwardly minimal),” for instance, and he writes, too, in a piece with all the fist-shaking fervor of a manifesto, “For weather / Against forecasts,” “For the clit / Against the clock,” and “For a girl / floating / for a few seconds / across / the parking lot / Against what’s only / an ordinary / skateboard / underneath her.” This is a call for poems “textured / with the sky / night / stars / and the sun” and against any vivisection or reductionism. “The poem isn’t interested in helping you,” he writes elsewhere, after a few lines about adherence, acquiescence, and “wallpaper wallpaper wallpaper” and the instruction to “Look imaginatively at a pineapple and disappear. Look imaginatively / at a pineapple and disappear.” My point is, by the Afterword, we know what kind of action this book is, but it’s nice to have it spelled out one more time, in prose. Gordon contrasts narrative, stories, with “chatter and babble,” the Word Kingdom. He tells of a time, when he was younger, and a number of first responders rushed past in the night, sirens blaring, driving on, leaving in their wake the dogs of the neighborhood, a countless number, all mimicking in inexact but visceral tones, making something like the sound of sirens: “It felt simultaneously sad and triumphant,” he recalls. The poetry here, likewise, strives to be “mimetic chatter and babble moving paradoxically from intellection to imagination,” or, more tersely put, “The word kingdom in the Word Kingdom.”
Official Noah Eli Gordon Web Site
Official Brooklyn Arts Press Web Site