Browsed by
Month: August 2010

Quick Note

Quick Note

Robert Mueller, a fre­quent con­trib­u­tor for Spin­oz­ablue, has added to his list of pub­li­ca­tions in other venues. He has a poem in the #5 issue of Black­box Man­i­fold, and will be review­ing works by Robert V. Wil­son in the next issue of that mag­a­zine. Robert also wrote the introduction for George Spencer’s new journal, Far Out Further Out Out of Sight, and helped him with the launch. George Spencer has contributed several poems to Spinozablue as well. We wish him the best of luck with his new magazine.

Sofi’s Choice

Sofi’s Choice

In Purge, we have a dark world, fully imagined. We have a brutal world, fully revealed. But Ms. Oksanen does not bring us layer upon layer of meticulous detail to make that happen. Instead, she uses the brush of an impressionist, though her subject matter is closer to an unexpurgated 21st century Film Noir. She is also more direct than those who studied light to see how it changed the world from hour to hour. Hers is not an oblique rendering of the subject at hand. Purge goes for the jugular, for the underside of life, and its gaze is often pitiless.

It fits that she counters the ugliness, sadism and betrayals of the war years and their aftermath with the horrors of Eastern European sex trade cerca 1991-92. She uses tragedy as a fulcrum to show the continuity of cruelty through time. Rape is a motif in both literal and figurative form in both eras. The rape of … Click to continue . . .

Tony Judt

Tony Judt

One of our finest historians passed away on August 6th. Tony Judt, the author of numerous historical works, with a primary focus on French intellectuals, passed away after a long battle with ALS. He was 62.

I recently read his excellent Ill Fares the Land, which would have been a strong and timely work regardless of how it was written. Given the fact that he dictated it while suffering from the ravages of Lou Gehrig’s disease made it all the more poignant and moving. Here is the opening section, first published in the New York Review of Books:

Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling

Click to continue . . .
Violent Contingencies

Violent Contingencies

Purge, by Sofi Oksanen
Purge, by Sofi Oksanen

I’m a bit more than half way through Sofi Oksanen’s extraordinary novel, Purge, and wanted to jot down a few impressions before doing a complete review later. Ms. Oksanen is a young Finnish-Estonian writer, born in 1977. Purge is her third novel, and grew out of her original play of the same title (“Puhdistus”). Deceptively simple in style and structure, it’s a wonderful example of the power that art has to make us see the universal in the particular. In the details of family life, in the interaction between sisters, in the struggles of one small town, we see the wild swings of history. We see the violent shifts in power alignments. A family drama points us to the drama of time and the chaotic march of humanity.

So far, the book has concentrated primarily on the 30s, 40s, and early 90s. An Estonia ravaged by West and East. Minds ravaged by fateful decisions made generations … Click to continue . . .

The Cantinas of Summer: Poetry by Alan Britt

The Cantinas of Summer: Poetry by Alan Britt

 

LOVE POEM THAT LEADS ME
TO A FLORIDA CANAL


The bandoneon transports me
to your lips
relaxed as they are
like orchids
on a late summer trellis.

Orchids climbing the trellis
of your throat.

Orchids like verbs
struggling
with existence.

Orchids
like lovers
from the grave,
as lovers
often appear
from graves.

Beautiful.

Impossible to resist
in their splendor
of Spanish moss
with night herons
perched on giant oak shoulders
circling the moon’s silver waist.

Oak moon.

My moon,
tumbled dry
so many times
that wisdom
separated
itself
from young poets
who occasionally slip
from their conscious minds.

A caballero strikes a match
in a Juarez cantina;
older women
sway;
young girls flock like minnows
beneath a swollen crust of bread
floating on a Florida canal.

 

— by Alan Britt

 

 

 

————–

 

Alan Britt’s recent books are Hurricane (2010), Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006), Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and Bodies of Lightning Click to continue . . .