Friday, April 27, 2007

the new Boston Poet Laureate approves

just received, with much excitement, 2 books by Tom Beckett:
Unprotected Text (Meritage 2006 and Eileen Tabio), and
E-X-C-H-A-N-G-E-V-A-L-U-E-S (Otoliths 2005, 2006, 2007 and Mark Young).

double huzza for all involved, and primarily for Tom.

Tom's publication from the 80s, The Difficulties, was my main school for coming to grips with Language poetry. exchangevalues essentially carries on that work, tho less strictly with the L-word as contemporary in general. I have of course read the blog from which these interviews by Tom and others were taken. an absolutely useful text to read again and again. just to up the ante, work by those interviewed has been included. I can see this book being an excellent teaching tool, because points of consideration and confrontation arise on every page. more volumes from the project are in store, so spread the word.

Tom's work as editor has somewhat overshadowed the poetic oeuvre that Tom has quietly built. in this sense I'm reminded of George Butterick, whose Collected Poems is a quirky unexpected delight. I have several of Tom's little publications and look forward to reading his work en masse in perfect bound splendour (including a bold orange cover). in my quick scan I see hay(na)ku, prose, short lines, long ones. more to be said when more has been read. let me just enjoy the satisfied glow of 2 new publications by worthy Tom (any relation to our hero Josh?) Beckett.
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