Books



The Living Method, by Sara Nicholson
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The poems in Sara Nicholson’s The Living Method imaginatively grasp the raw materials of nature, calling the reader to the “outer limits of the dark,” where one notices the music of the woods and gardens while searching for “the youngest photo of the night.” These poems explore and create various orders of images, a mysterious taxonomy of words and scraps of phrases that revive what in lesser hands would remain dying metaphors. Here, in her debut collection, a new and singular poetic logic reveals itself, growing tenderly out of the “droning chamber” of the poet’s throat, through Google image searches, and from the rich soil of archaic landscapes."Chilean filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky claimed, ‘Most directors make films with their eyes; I make films with my testicles.’ Sara Nicholson makes poems with her hippocampus, that somewhat mysterious part of the brain that deals with memory and spatial recognition in ways we have yet to understand conclusively. Her poems speak to us directly from somewhere in there: ‘A queen will dwell in the radius and eat it//but the circumference/will answer without a refrain.’ We can hear a voice at once speaking to us while also thinking aloud to itself. These are poems of inquiry without the presumptuous rhetoric, wonder without the rhapsodic glitz, formal control without the self-congratulatory show tune medley. I’ve read very few poets of my generation who have so decidedly shrugged off pretense and posturing. She’s pure hippocampus, navigating the external world from deep within the internal. We hear a voice speaking to us, but that voice comes from a crowded place, amid a thousand thoughts we do not hear. Her poems have no angle. They touch on the occult and hermetic but do not wear them as a shroud. They reach out from the radius into the radiant." Matthew Henriksen
Georges Braque and Others: The Selected Art Writings of Trevor Winkfield (1990-2009)
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The painter Trevor Winkfield—born in Leeds in 1944 and residing in New York City since 1969—has been a sought-after contributor to publications such as Arts Magazine, Art in America and Modern Painters for two decades. Editors have long trusted his unique sensibilities and relied on his capacity to usher in fresh understandings of art. Take, for instance, Winkfield’s pure excitement and audacity at weaving the work of the proto-Surrealist author Raymond Roussel into an essay on Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper. Unapologetically the writings of an artist, not a critic, in Georges Braque and Others, Winkfield engages some of the greatest names in art (Vermeer, Chardin, Signac, Ryder, Dadd, Brancusi, Cornell, Duchamp, Johns and of course Braque, among others)—asking questions, seeing the details and sharing the obscure facts that only an artist like Winkfield could notice and convey with such great charm.


"If you are looking for booming confirmations of conventional wisdom, stay away from Trevor Winkfield. With sympathetic eye and tart pen, Winkfield moves across pictures like a sharpening filter, making everything freshly intelligible and strange. Funnier and more judgmental (not to mention better-informed) than most professional art critics, Winkfield also asks better questions. What mysterious tragedy befell the twenty-year old Lubin Baugin? Why should Leonardo’s Last Supper have taken 397 years to paint? With winning irritability and expertise, Winkfield opens art up.” Alexi Worth
"To read one of Trevor Winkfield’s marvelous essays is like strolling through a museum with a witty, erudite, independently minded friend whose sharp, unorthodox observations make you see the art on view in an entirely new light. Whether his subject is a Vermeer portrait, a late Braque “Studio” or a Myron Stout abstraction, there is no one better at conveying the experience of close looking. Winkfield, whose criticism benefits from his keen painter’s eye, is also a master storyteller, wise in the ways that artists survive neglect and achieve breakthroughs. This narrative flair is especially evident in his essays on art’s grand eccentrics such as Richard Dadd, John Graham and Florine Stettheimer. With this book, Winkfield takes his place among the very select company of great artist-critics." Raphael Rubinstein


Trevor Winkfield was born in Leeds, England in 1944. After studying painting at the Royal College of Art under Peter Blake and Carel Weight, he moved to New York City in 1969. Winkfield’s paintings are exhibited regularly, most recently at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York. His conversations with Miles Champion about his early life have recently been published as How I Became A Painter (Pressed Wafer). His other publications include Trevor Winkfield’s Drawings, In the Scissors’ Courtyard, Trevor Winkfield’s Pageant and a translation of Raymond Roussel’s How I Wrote Certain of My Books.
Rude Woods, by Nate Klug
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In his Eclogues, Virgil offers the reader poems about responding — listening, picking out, and answering back the pleasures of song. Nate Klug’s Rude Woods is an inspired, modern response — a new translation that blends talkative elegance with lyric intensity. “In a manner that is as successful as it is surprising,” notes W.R. Johnson in his introduction, “Klug has devised a conversational idiom that relies on spare diction and spare syntax, on a pure clarity of sight and sound to give us superb poems that give Virgil’s pure lyricism a genuine ‘answering form.’”
 Translation tends to be either a conspicuous aid to comprehension or that other thing: a strangely impure art form that both mimes and contends with an other. At its best it makes you think and not think about the original; it carries you along in a state of belief even as you remind yourself that there is an older text behind the new song. If the translator-poet strays too far from the colloquial the text hardens, seeming too much like another language; if he or she is too modish it seems as though the earlier poet exists solely to promote the work of the later one. Virgil himself was a modeller of the work of others, as we all are to some degree. It’s a delicate balancing act performed well by only the best translators. Nate Klug is of this noble band. ‘He cares about poetry’ and his Virgil has a lightness of touch that only the best can manage. Laurie Duggan
 Nate Klug’s Rude Woods renders Virgil in an idiom as honest and appealing as “ripe apples, cooked chestnuts, and cheese.” Ezra Pound’s Propertius comes immediately to mind. These selections evince the same careful attention to the natural rhythms and movement of speech—perfect for a poetic escape into simple pleasures. Yet Klug doesn’t skirt an important lesson of the Eclogues: escape is fleeting. Loss, longing, and exile dog even the shepherds in this idyll. They ease their own troubles and “make the way / less painful, singing and walking, / walking and singing together like this.” Nate Klug confidently reaffirms the abiding comfort of these poems. John Tipton

 Nate Klug studied literature at the University of Chicago and theology at Yale. He has published poems in many journals and in a chapbook, Consent (Pressed Wafer). He currently lives and works in Iowa.
My Enemies, by Jane Gregory

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Jane Gregory’s My Enemies records a poet’s search for meaning in a landscape of combined and dissolving definitions. Affirming disaster and its beyond, these poems sing toward belief — a self-made belief that will not rely on any static symbol or logic or idol.  Gregory’s dynamic, unpredictable enactments of the modern world avow vulnerability to a belief compatible with self-consciousness. Sometimes triumphant, sometimes overcome or self-ruinous, My Enemies never halts in its search for definition, even when it claims to not have been written—as in the serial “Book I Will Not Write” poems. Each poem here establishes a new, necessary material and mode for our uncertain world that can offer its readers something to believe in; despite forces internal and external that try to undo us, Gregory’s poems redo that undoing until “my enemies” becomes instead “my eyes many,” a new sonic way of seeing.

 ”When Jane Gregory speaks of ‘enemies’ she speaks of those elements that (following Valery) ravage books and people alike: fire, humidity, wild animals, time, and their own inner content. Gregory knows how to let those elementals run free in her own words, and to make a friend of their disequilibrating energy. Her work renews romanticism in the twilight of time, knowing that even the spelling of words is the spilling of everything they cannot say. Here, the poet has overwritten the multiples of her ‘Book I Will Not Write’ with ‘the fire in the ocean’ - with words that, reduced to their very atoms, ‘in the dark: s,i,n,g.’” Andrew Joron

 ”Jane Gregory’s My Enemies is a collection of high-stepping verses of live wires where every phrase is a detonation of swings, breaks and pops! Thrillers ‘suitable for blasting’ (viz. ‘guncotton’) - pages of startling figures, near rhymes and off rhymes, psychological, philosophical, ecological myths and near myths, sci-fi and paranormal references, and the multiple ‘Book[s] I Will Not Write.’ Look at the word ‘struggle’ enough times in one stanza, and you suddenly see infinity, and as Baudelaire wrote, ‘There is no point as sharp as that of the Infinite.’ This book is ‘so gone beyond’ any you’ve ever seen.” Norma Cole

 ”Jane Gregory seems to take seriously Robert Duncan’s claim that ‘I make poetry as other men make war or make love or make states or revolutions.’ In My Enemies she lays claim to his statement on her own terms when she says ‘I recognize the tongue of the wolf / before it is in the wolf’s mouth.’ Or, one might also say, she has written an adventurous first book.” Peter Gizzi

Jane Gregory is from Tucson, Arizona. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently working towards a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Cover image: Guy de Cointet, “Lost at Sea,” 1975 / Performance view at Cirrus Gallery, Los Angeles, 14 January1975 / Performed by Virginia Farmer / Courtesy Estate Guy de Cointet / Air de Paris, Paris / Photo © Helene Gaillet
Reviews:
JERRY Magazine
Sink Review
Poetry Society of America
Feedback
A Dark Dreambox of Another Kind

The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton 

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Edited by Ben Estes and Alan Felsenthal. Introduction by Geof Hewitt.
Though Hamilton wrote thousands of poems during his lifetime, only a small percentage of them ever found their way into print. His poems appeared in small poetry journals during the 60s, 70s and 80s; two chapbooks, The Big Parade and Sphinx; and one full-length collection, The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton, published by The Jargon Society in 1970. In this new volume, Ben Estes and Alan Felsenthal present a collection of Hamilton’s poems from these publications, along with many of Hamilton’s poems that were previously considered lost and poems from posthumously found notebooks.

"Hamilton is the author of spare, wry, slightly surreal poems that have, so far as I can see, no real equivalent in American English." Ron Silliman

"Alfred Starr Hamilton ‘wrote to the governor of poetry / And simply signed [his] own name.’ Consider this collection—assembled by two very dedicated allographers—an essential expansion on said letter. People who’ve encountered Hamilton’s work previously will be glad for the chance to see familiar poems alongside many marvelous new ones. And how I envy first-time readers of this most generous and genuine American writer." Graham Foust

"It is a hidden world, a hushabye place that Alfred Starr Hamilton occupies, a secluded place where he is free to summon daffodils and stars, chimes and angels, thread and old-fashioned spoons. There is Hungarian damage, blue revolutionary stars, a sedge hammer (which is not a typo). He is obsessively drawn to fine metals—bronze, silver and gold. He would be golden, but can never grasp the elusive sad: ‘One cloud, one day / Came as a shadow in my life / And then left, and came back again; and stayed’ like "Anything Remembered" which is the title of that poem. He is too removed to see things any other way but his own. It is a silver peepshow in the wonderbush, and there is always a moon to scrape from the bottom of his view." C. D. Wright

"We are living in the Badlands. Dorothy’s ruby-slippers would get you across the Deadly Desert. So will these poems." Jonathan Williams

 Alfred Starr Hamilton (1914-2005) was an American poet from Montclair, New Jersey. His publications include the chapbooks Sphinx, The Big Parade, and the full-length collection The Poems of Alfred Starr Hamilton, published by The Jargon Society in 1970.
Cover photo of Hamilton © Simpson Kalisher

Reviews:
Hyperallergic
Tin House
Kenyon Review