Though it may be somewhat brash to refer to Seascape as a long poem, it certainly is a kind of long-form data-driven narrative poetry. In an age when many are conditioned to look at the “story” that data tells, it is not at all beyond claiming Bäcker’s transcription as such.
Edwards’ text recognizes the possibilities of an original text, but bends them to poetic will, exercising an intervention that results in a collection that does not lean on whimsy or cleverness, transcending mere gimmick and trickery. Instead, it focuses on how our essential strangeness is a constant living condition.
Montesonti’s “pruning” of the text returns it to its wild, untamed roots as an unengineered, replanted, and completely new cultivar from its tightly-controlled parent text.
Rather than being “so much the less complete,” A Little White Shadow is lighter in terms of present text and much heavier in poetic weight and so much more whole, even if it exhorts the reader to look beyond its pages for that sense of completeness. It is a book endowed with a kind of historical status and significance that makes it artifact rather than mere artifice.
American media has been saturated by a kind of escapism that seems to focus on people unlike us; literary tradition has usually taken the opposite tactic. In it, we see ourselves or can come to recognize a common behavioral ancestor, no matter how outrageous. Corwin Ericson’s Checked Out OK is another entry into the long-standing tradition of community exposure that creates a solidarity between readers.
What does it mean for a text to be othered, to be cast apart or treated as foreign, strange, or deliberately distanced?
Not often does a text suggest a change to a reader’s practice. The so-called “rules” of reading poetry are well understood: one reads linearly, left to right, line by line, jumping from stanza to stanza down the page. Even in those cases that books of poetry require a non-traditional approach, often the reader creates a plan of attack evidenced by some consistent approach to the text that is applied throughout. Erica Baum’s Dog Ear changes that with the simple fold of a page.
Often, as the adage goes, those that write the historical texts traditionally part of the “canon” of the narrative of history are written by the victors, the vanquisher, in their own voices and in their own conditions. What Holmes has done reverses the process: history is called to account for the fact that it repeats some of its worst behaviors.
Typically, work of “found” poetry that finds its way into the Found Poetry Review is predicated on a writer scouring a text to see what poems may lie hidden or even those that may be forced into being. Whether or not a particular piece is successful hinges on how the new work produced is reframed or reconstituted. What happens when, instead of a poet finding a poem, the poem finds the poet?
Goldsmith’s work is characterized by challenges to the typical definitions of terms associated with writing and culture. And, spectacle is now among them.