Saturday, January 14, 2006

The new Prairie Schooner (they have the fall issue up there, maybe the winter issue 79:4 will be up before too long) features a supplement of ekphrastic poetry edited by Hadara Bar-Nadav. I have a prejudice against the genre of poetry about art -- terrified of unearned chumminess, insinuations of genius by association, not to mention the temptation to feel superior about anyone's taste -- but there are several nice moments here: Braden Welborn on William Christenberry's half-blindness, Dionisio D. Martinez on Courbet's anarchist sex, Bob Hicok on the Museum of Modern Art, and two by Mary Jo Bang, one on Breughel one on Cindy Sherman:
We watched and watched until we became her
And we waited for the bad to be all there was.
Elsewhere in the issue, two poets new to me hit it with three poems each. Susan Hutton amiably straddles the elegiac and the ridiculous ("It's hard to take a man seriously when he's named Donald Duck"), and has a knack for evading the perils of the art-historical anecdote:
...when Prokofiev was called away from Moscow
and his returning train was cancelled, he heard his symphony
played for the first time over the phone.
"It is not too bad," he said, or they said he said.
Reminds me a little of David Shapiro, actually. Miho Nonaka has some gorgeous lines:
By the time
she pincettes a photograph in her dark room,
this world will be leaf-thin, drained of all pigments
save the ink of melting mushroom,
and I will be putting the toxic berries into
my mouth though their red won't show.
Maybe by gorgeous I mean psychosexually loaded; whatever quality it is, it makes me to ignore the peevishness coming through in this work that could totally go either way.

Jordan - #




I'm Jordan Davis.
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