Thursday, October 11, 2007

Triune, Troika, Ternion

President's Choice #1 has landed. Featuring new work from Marie Buck, Craig Dworkin, Rob Fitterman, Rodrigo Toscano, Bhanu Kapil, Laura Elrick, & Paper Rad. Edited by Steven Zultanski. One of the great features of the magazine is that ample space is given to all contributors, sometimes up to 10 pages of work, in the case of Ms Buck. Marie's poems here range from somewhat controlled pieces (from a work called Whole Foods) such as "Cheese," "Authenticity," & "The Seaweed That Thickens" to some really exciting, all-over-the-page works like "Starlet Bang" & "19 I Just Pissed Out Disaster". This last one is especially great, ending with a stanza-sea of celeb names ("Jen's Katie Tom Corey Abdul Holmes Jennifer Paula Aniston...") followed by another of stray numbers & pieces of punctuation ("32 - 32 -- 36 ! 38 ? 40 ! -- ! ://. :-/;....").

Toscano's first work, "Great Awakening", is probably my favorite of his, since it so reminds me of the most convoluted portions of Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman, replete with cop-on-civilian tongue-&-brain twisters.

A: Average poetry readings reveal much.

B: I Improve...when the content is based on some other kind of--contract.

A: Respect for The Lord! Respect for Cable Coppersmooth, Cinnamon Face,
and all verifiable accomplishments, in tow.

B: The local is pushed out. Amen?

A: Amen! This re-flavoring of certain...distinctions. Other bitterness's applied lightly to the rippled surface. Property mud bars for the whole family!

B: Audit the flow--incoming. Admit the lord. You're were about to This Very
Moaning In Private Seems Necessary. What's the immediate effect?

A: Piety, double-digit snide, "bilk bilk".

B: What's the immediat goal?

A: Light up the mall.

B: And the lonely shark around the cage?

A: Amen. The people are--poking back--at it.

Craig Dworkin turns things even more conceptual, entering perhaps into Goldsmith territory. His first piece, "Noun Compound Roman Numeral period" begins "In the sentence 'Write the book that pleases you best,' what is the subject of 'pleases?' Perhaps you may ask the question in the usual way, 'What pleases?' Answer, 'the book.' But this is not right. marks of quotation Noun marks of quotation present tense third person singular appositive verb definite article Noun genitive pronoun marks of quotation noun period marks of quotation" & happily continues thus. Laura Elrick's "Diagram (III)" is perhaps the best single work in the issue, clocking in at 6 pages. It begins:

At a dinner party or forum I rip hair out of my leg with a special machine.
At a dinner party (or forum) I rip hair out of my leg with a special machine.
At a dinner party or forum I - RIP - IT - OUT with a special machine.
At reception: opening their suits a dress collapsing shoes turn up at odds, strange.
And walking says it would be drinks and eats its head of their legs with a
Special machine.

It is a work that is simultaneously elusive & highly visible, a formula that makes for enthralling reading.

Next comes Bhanu Kapil, someone I'm entirely unfamiliar with. Bhanu's work (from "Humanimal") features numbered paragraphs, some of which have a slightly larger font size. For some reason I find the work almost indescribable, though there are elements of magic, mystery, narrative & a folkloric sense throughout. I cannot get past how pleasing the syntax of this phrase, near the beginning of the work, is to me: "When it started to rain, the banyan tree outside the girl's room, where she lay in a profound coma, shook."

Next comes Paper Rad. Though I had known of their visual work prior, I wasn't aware that they also worked in text. The work is full of jokes & eschews capitals. All but one of the works features a clash in the title, such as "DJ Cyber Knife vs Cool Cafe" or "Jim Morrison vs Poetry," which commences

god is like love, love is like god
what is this? AARP card?
don't say a word
that's what she said
who said that?

The last feature in the magazine belongs to Robert Fitterman. Here we get two works from the upcoming Sprawl: "Big Box (Category Killer)" & "BISQUICKMARK, an afterward." Fitterman is firing on all cylinders here, the first work featuring a straightforward form of prose-stanza-blocks that Rob is able to make surprising despite their simplicty of form. The work is similar to some of his Metropolis series, focusing on combinations of corporate language, tv language, family language, advertising language. His 2nd & the final piece in the magazine quilts the present & history of Bisquick (originally intended for making biscuits very quickly) with the history/legend of Otto von Bismarck, that Prussia/Germany dude, to delightful effect.

The issue itself is immaculately put together. There is, correctly, no contributor's notes. There are few adornments, next to no info on the title pages, thus the look & contents are allowed to speak for themselves. There is, in the end, only one flaw, which is that the cover paper is of such quality that it retains your grubby fingerprints, should you, like me, take your reading in a more interactive manner: meals, subways, journeys.

Thus the threesome is consummated: Model Homes, The Physical Poets, President's Choice.

1 comment:

Marie said...

Thinks fur reef you!