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Friday, April 12, 2013

What I've Been Reading (April 2013)

Last week I finished reading Martha Ronk's Vertigo (Coffee House Press, 2007). I've read a number of Ronk's books and liked them (which is why I keep reading more) but this one was my favorite yet. Consider the following lines to two different poems: "Loneliness is structural, at the base of the throat," and "What's the difference between trying to lift an arm and lifting an arm, / between desire and that other thing? . . . " In the poet's own words, this book is about "memory and its confusions." The final of three sections focuses on memory as recorded (and as failed to be recorded) by photographs. The titles are often quotes, many from world-renowned photographers, an ambitious starting point that Ronk lives up to time and time again. Slightly less fragmentary than other Ronk books, there is still an otherwordly sense of brokenness to Vertigo. This is a book that you will keep in your permanent collection.

I also read last week "The Angel in the Dream of Our Hangover: Aphorisms" by Mark Leidner (Sator Press, 2011). I am a big fan of aphorisms, and Leidner does them well. For example, "when complex things combine to form something complex, there is no mystery," and "anything worth doing is worth taking your lifetime to do," and "missing someone is like what the wind feels to itself." This is a compact little book, about 5 inches by 5 inches square, with a mysterious cover. For a look at Leidner's work, visit the website An Ounce of Cruelty is Worth a Pound of Truth, where you can see some of the aphorisms paired with visual imagery.

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