Thursday, October 16, 2008

Three Chapbooks from Projective Industries.

“You are walking toward gunshots on this road,” Thomas Hummel writes (or is it cites?) “while the steppe is asking for songs,” and the relations within and between these two clauses—tense, uncertain, quite possibly accidental—is like that between almost any two sentences in this striking, important new work. Is “toward” in this case spatial or temporal? Does “while” mean “at the same time” or “whereas”? Hummel notes that this is a “work of collage,” meaning most of its sentences originally appeared in contexts that limited their meaning. Here, unmoored, they realize their potential strangeness, and find themselves arranged by a random integer generator to take on the “arbitrary nature of the organic world.” Yet what surprises the reader most about this work isn’t the way it evades meaning in favor of mere being, or even the way it places gunshots where we expect songs. It is instead the fact that it captures throughout its pages the act of significance cutting through the bramble of its language, insisting itself into graspability, and against all odds. If the condition of the work is classic melancholia (“He was empty inside, and he could see no exciting project or absorbing task into which he could throw himself”), it is one of its most radical, affecting, and perfect manifestations in recent memory.

– Timothy Donnelly


His poems, his music, his game, his friendships are here, suggesting that Thibault Raoult takes seriously the conflict of his roles. As a writer, he insistently remains an amateur, going beyond what he knows. El P.E. reads as a kind of radical blessing, an expressive, unconsummated poetics in which we encounter cycles of cultural narrative rendered through an incontrovertibly particular language (of tribe, an ordo vagorum). Raoult's enthusiastic attentiveness to expression, pleasure, and polysemous meanings stokes a poetry that is, always in glimpses, perversely funny, turbulent, and whammo, alive.

— Forrest Gander


Noun and verb, agent and act. Constantly searching and endlessly reiterative, Samuel Amadon’s Spy Poem is the “little gray man” embodied. Visible when it chooses and vanishing at will, this work is just fast enough to stay ahead of us but never risks capture. His is a poetics of clandestinity. With its beautifully staggered and seamless syllabics, the poem is a dissection of artifice within an artifice: how we shape what we leave, how we choose what we show, how we say what we say once we’ve made the choice to say it. Samuel Amadon is watching. Get in the car.

—Thomas Hummel


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