A Forest on Many Stems: Essays on the Poet’s Novel provides a unique entrance to the rare prose of many remarkable modern and contemporary poets including Etel Adnan, Renee Gladman, Langston Hughes, Kevin Killian, Alice Notley, Fernando Pessoa, Rainer Maria Rilke, Leslie Scalapino, Jack Spicer, and Jean Toomer, whose approaches to the novel defy conventions of plot, character, setting, and action. Contributors Brian Blanchfield, Anne Boyer, John Keene, Mónica de la Torre, Cedar Sigo, and C. D. Wright bring a variety of insights, approaches, and writing styles to the subject with creative and often surprising results.
CONTENTS: Introduction— The Poet’s Novel: A Form of Refusal I . Verse Novel “Poetry tells me I’m dead; prose pretends I’m not” — Alice Notley (39, Culture of One) “You Cannot Count That You Should Weep For This Account:” Aurora Leigh and the Problem of Math by Anne Boyer Cane in the Classroom: Jean Toomer’s Classic by Julie Patton The Monster in the Rotunda: Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red By Sasha Steensen Muse X : Lyn Hejinian’s Oxota: A Short Russian Novel By Julie Carr Down in the Dump: The Abject in Alice Notley’s Culture of One By Laura Hinton II. Genre Mash-Ups Composite, Cut-Ups, Review, Sci Fi, Writer as Detective “The images set off down the road and yet they never get anywhere, they’re simply lost, it’s hopeless, says the voice—and the hunchback asks himself, hopeless for who?.” (Bolaño, Antwerp, 18) The Cornucopia is Mapped with a Slipping Venn-Diagram and a Möbius Strip: William Carlos Williams and his The Great American Novel by Sarah Vap Friendship as Method in Ashbery & Schuyler’s A Nest of Ninnies By Geoffrey G. O’Brien A Greater Greatness: Max Brand’s Twenty Notches becomes Ted Berrigan’s Clear the Range By Edmund Berrigan Lying in Wait: On Roberto Bolaño’s Antwerp as a Poet’s Novel By Joshua Marie Wilkinson Obituary of the Many: Gail Scott by Carla Harryman Kevin Killian’s Epic Poem of Happiness By Brandon Brown Dark Light: Paradox & Subversion in Laura Moriarty’s Ultraviloeta By Brent Cunningham A Ghostlike Interference: Jack Spicer’s Detective Novel By Daniel Katz III. Interior Lyric / Displacement/ Cartographic Time 146 “She wanted to climb through walls of no visible dimension” — H.D. (Hermione, 7) Hilda Hilst’s The Obscene Madame D: A Derelict Reader’s Guide by Traci Brimhall Narrating the Financialized Landscape: The Novels of Taylor Brady By Rob Halpern Structure as Philosophy in Inger Christensen’s Azorno By Denise Newman The Point of Robert Creeley’s The Island By Marcella Durand Attention and Attunement in Forrest Gander’s As A Friend By Susan Scarlatta Out of Marsh and Bog: “H.D., Imagiste” and the Poeisis of HERmione Precisely by Jenn Scappetone Message in a Bottle: A Brief Introduction to Radical Love: 5 Novels by Fanny Howe By Kazim Ali The School of Fears: Rilke’s Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge By Brian Teare IV. Prose Poem / Concatenation / Novel Borders “An ambulatory fig tree strolled down a street crowded with seminarians, streetwalkers, and geometry professors—a thousand aging gentlemen, dirty collars, sticky fingers.” (Adán, 26) Impressions of Martin Adán’s The Cardboard House By Mónica de la Torre “What Am I to Do with All of This Life”: Gwendolyn Brooks’s Maud Martha by Julia Bloch “A Book” and Other Fractured Pages: Nicole Brossard’s Early Novels by Angela Carr To Seek Air: Barbara Guest’s Inter-layered Fiction By Karla Kelsey Carnal Knowledge: Carla Harryman’s Gardener of Stars: A Novel by Lee Ann Brown Rereading Emmanuel Hocquard’s AEREA dans les forêts de Manhattan By Norma Cole “The Greek Fragment”: Irreal Salvation in Mina Loy’s Gnostic Text Insel By Kimberly Lyons Gertrude Stein and the Poet’s Novel, Thank You. By Rachel Blau DuPlessis Fidelity and Form: Rosmarie Waldrop and the Poet’s Novel By Elizabeth Robinson V. Portrait / Documentary / Representation / Palimpsest 303 “I’ve read many stories of revenants and apparitions, but my ghosts merely disappear. I never see them.” (Keith Waldrop, 11) Etel Adnan’s Paris, When It’s Naked by Brandon Shimoda “Mme Wiener,” the French Novelist and her Masks – Reading Stacy Doris’s Two French Novels by Vincent Broqua Thalia Field’s Ululu (Clown Shrapnel): A series of detonations by Jena Osman Turning Poetry into Prose: Not Without Laughter and Langston Hughes by W. Jason Miller NourbeSe Philip by Sonnet L’Abbe Coming through Slaughter, Michael Ondaatje’s Buddy Book by C.D. Wright “Light” in Light While There Is Light: An American History by Laura Moriarty “I’M ALL IN THE DIRD AND ON FIRE OR SOMETHING, GET ME OUT OF HERE.” The novels of Phillip Whalen, You Didn’t Even Try and Imaginary Speeches for a Brazen Head by Norman Fischer VI. Metamorphic / Distance / Aural Address / Wandering “Everything in the poem was in transition” — Peter Waterhouse Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet by John Keene Malina, Murder Death in Ingeborg Bachmann’s Writing by Mette Moestrup (translated from Danish by Mark Kline) Two Sources of Poetry in Carroll’s Writing by Aaron Kunin A Space for Bhanu Kapil by Laura Mullen Circumambulation: Cowrie Shells, Bottle Caps and Balloons in Nathaniel Mackey’s From a Broken Bottle Traces of Perfume Still Emanate by Tyronne Williams “the equal instant space of action” On Leslie Scalapino’s Dihedrons Gazelle-Dihedrals Zoom (2010) by Judith Goldman The Tattered Labyrinth: On W. G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn by Dan Beachy-Quick “The Terrible I”: On Peter Waterhouse ‘s Poem Novel Language Death Night Outside By Donna Stonecipher VII. Identification / Dissolution / Polemic / Bildungsroman 459 “She says to herself if she were able to write she could continue to live.” —Cha (141) “I Got This Under the Bridge” / Notes on Audre Lorde’s Zami by C.S. Giscombe On Amiri Baraka’s Six Plus One Persons “a longish poem about a dude” by Aldon Lynn Nielsen Thersa Cha’s Eroticism By Jeanne Hueving A Fragmented Whole for Renee Gladman’s Toaf By Danielle Vogel Three Ways to Sunday: The Mandarin by Aaron Kunin by Brian Blanchfield Romantic Substance: Reading Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station with the Künstlerroman by Lynn Xu Stupendous Lore: Poet’s Novels by Tan Lin & Pamela Lu by Patrick Durgin The Doors of Perception in Eileen Myles’ Inferno Cedar Sigo Jacques Roubaud’s poet’s prose By Abigail Lang Juliana Spahr’s The Transformation thinks wit(h)ness) by Rachel Zolf
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