Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

What to say about this exalted book?  Enormous, sweeping, gifted, culturally alluring, multi-dimensional, thickly embroidered, each page is chock-full of surprising language, unique turns of phrase, stunning metaphor.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say by Anthony Madrid

Astonishing debut poetry collection.  Riotously cross-cutting, astonishingly leaping.

Never in my life have I laughed so riotously at a Table of Contents alone.  A sampling: "In hell the units are the gallon and the fuck," "I used to manically slick my hair back," "No more epigrams against slaves," "Heaven help the right-handed man who has had his right hand cut off," "I too have been to Candyland," "Jam me in hot hell," "All my life I've been told you must take the baby from the crocodile," "Now that I know I am to be destroyed by a seventeen-year-old girl," "If I am a total washout as a love (and I am)," "Fuck Buddha I'm Buddha Nobody's Buddha quit talking about Buddha."

 

The unit of wine is the cup.  Of LOVE, the unit is the kiss.  That's here.
In hell, the units are the gallon and the fuck.  In Paradise, the drop and the glance.


Here's a twenty-year-old girl with a red collared blouse, tight jeans and the rest of it.
She is not the promised earth, for the EARTH is a fat woman wearing a jungle.



She made a little Baby Jesus and put it in an owl's nest; 
Now she wants to set it afloat, but we say no...

 "Anthony, what can this mean? This language amazes me."
It means I wish I could give you a daughter exactly like yourself.



I am reading Sara Teasdale, whose joys were only three:
Caress; create; and gape at mindless nature. 



Whoever reads more than a dozen ghazals at a time will be over-stimulated.
After a certain number of hits, one is simply wasting a precious drug.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Warn

A pretty amazing book.  Set 10 days before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, the novel is narrated by a teenage girl living with her impoverished family (three brothers and father) in low-lying predominantly black and poor Bois Sauvage, Mississippit.  Dramatically centered around her older brother Skeetah's pit bull China giving birth and the childrens' struggles to keep the puppies alive, the narrative soon deepens as fifteen year old  Esch realizes she is pregnant.  She is also obsessed with Greek mythology and reads and dwells upon the story of Medea and Jason, as the family struggles to prepare for the storm, her father is grievously injured, her youngest brother Junior grieves for their dead mother, and her oldest brother Randall attempts to free the family from some of their poverty in his high school basketball career.

Lots going on in this dense, quick book.  The heroine, Esch, is unique and forceful in her narration.  Her brothers are tough and yet enduringly kind to her and to each other.