on Radical Vernacular: Lorine Niedecker and the Poetics of Place, essays edited by Elizabeth Willis (Univ. of Iowa Press)

The great jazz pianist Hank Jones said the following about maintaining artistic control: “There is an extremely important prelude to improvising. Every tune you play has its correct tempo, and you have to find it. When you do, it practically plays itself.

on Causeway, poems by Elaine Sexton (New Issues Poetry & Prose)

Great poetry resolves in its form, but there is no great poetry without unresolved tension within. Perhaps this is obvious to everyone, since the necessity of tension sometimes inspires poets to make passable facsimiles. I prefer a book of poetry that makes tension its manifest or muffled topic.

on Goldengrove, a novel by Francine Prose (Harper Collins)

Surveys show that men account for only 20 percent of the fiction market in North America and Britain. “The research is still in its early stages, but some studies have found that women have more sensitive mirror neurons than men,” reported Eric Weiner on NPR.

on Mute Objects of Expression by Francis Ponge, tr. by Lee Fahnestock (Archipelago Books)

The first official act of the German occupiers of France in 1940 was to move French time up by an hour to synchronize with Berlin time. My mother still remembers the sinister dark mornings of that first winter. The familiar warped by the unopposed unfamiliar, the ordinary made bizarre, the sense of feeling at home blown away.

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