Wednesday, February 11, 2009

sentences on my verse



I am quite happy that in the mail yesterday arrived my contributor-copy of the new issue of Sentence: a journal of prose poetics, No. 6. I am more than pleased to see another volume from Sentence, and especially one in which some of my work gets to hang out with work from poets I admire a great deal: Denise Duhamel, Noah Eli Gordan, Cara Benson (of the Journal Sous Rature, et. al., not to mention some Italian poets of note (see below).

If some of you medievalist types aren't up on the recent history of prose poetry in journals, Sentence was started by Brian Clements et. al. (editors include Maxine Chernoff) to pick up the work of the journal The Prose Poem: An International Journal when it went defunct (1992-2000--now being archived online). The journal thus takes a certain stance on form about which I want to reserve a great deal of ambivalence'[prose poem' (even though I ostensibly write them) as term: what work does it do and why do we want to do this work? Why not recognize a more ambitious poetics in which prose like that of Derrida might be read as a poem--is this something to do with attempting to achieve status of 'the literary' as that which in the 18th and 19th century emerges as fiction/verse that does not fit into genre-categories?]. But, this ambivalence at least means that whatever they are doing with this journal is something to admire a great deal, if the title alone can do this kind of work. As a title, Sentence is perhaps even more interesting (see my post from a few days ago). I like this journal.

Anyways, the book is a handsome volume, with interesting physical features: perfect-bound 5-3/8" X 7-1/4", 299 pages + front and back matter, small but readable point size for the text of the poems (which is a serif font that contrasts in a nice and even sexy sort of way with the large sans-serif titles, numbering, and footers).

Each issue of this journal contains a feature, lately focused on the state of the prose poem in languages other than English (in translation, of course). For no. 6, its Italian. The volume contains poems, essays, and "a feature on The Prose Poem in Italy, introduced by Luigi Ballerini and curated by Ballerini with Gian Lombardo. It includes work by Mariano Baino (translated by Lombardo), Maurizio Cucchi (translated by Amy-Louise Pfeffer), Angelo Lumelli (translated by Maria Esposito Frank), Giampiero Neri (translated by Stephen Sartarelli), Tiziano Rossi (translated by Olivia E. Sears), and Leonardo Sinisgalli (translated by Brendan Hennessey."

1 comment:

Nicola Masciandaro said...

Why not indeed.

For the umpteenth time: "Perhaps only a language in which the pure prose of philosophy would intervene at a certain point to break apart [spezzare] the verse of the poetic word, and in which the verse of poetry would intervene to bend [piegare] the prose of philosophy into a ring, would be the true human language." (Giorgio Agamben)

So its like, a combination of butchery and metalwork!