Thursday, March 08, 2007

just got My Angie Dickinson by Michael Magee (Zasterle 2006). pretty excited to get it. I'm not unfamiliar with it, as its material used to be available from the My Angie Dickinson blog. that right there is a nifty feature of the work: its initial appearance on the web. that highlights the nature of its provenance. Magee (as he explains in his intro) googled phrases from Emily Dickinson along with the name Angie Dickinson to produce the texts. that's a classic collision of pop and high culture. and perhaps classic flarf strategy. aw gee, I dunno from strategy, really, I want to see poems work in the space they've created. I don't want to hang up on method, tho I'm interested in means of production. the truly actualistical flarf books that I've read have been strong, stronger, really, than the flabby critical activity surrounding the work. I hate critical shorthand, the branding sort. again, that's why Silliman's boolean School o' Q versus Righteous bugs me. becasue he recognizes the School o' better than Q, and the Not Quite Righteous. I would as soon avoid the term flarf, it just tempts people, lazy ilk, to fill in blanks with assumptions. or the interesting irritation is covered with critical nacre... yuh well, up with metaphor. the point of any manifesto is as starting point. you make manifest some crucial point, then move on. that's why I like Virginia Woolf's novels: she chose a working method with each one and ran with the experiment. looking at the books that carry the flraf label, one sees a rangy spectrum of work, and that had ought to be how it goes. anywho, I think it's canny sending Emily thru the Angie prism (it's not strictly that, but that captures the colour). things I like here: it's nice to see Emily's dashes deployed by someone else; the design (credit Christian Palino), including the cover, is really effective; once again Magee provides useful, uncryptical talking points about the work. I find tenderness here and thoughtfulness, balanced against the goofy weirdness. I'm psyched to have this book.
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