On “Oh, Susanna”

In The Paris Review Daily.


Teaser quote: And it’s not even that Stephen Foster “simply had the magic touch.” Google the rest of the song’s lyrics and prepare to be curdled. Hello, n-word. Hello, awkward as fuck. Hello, can’t even hold a candle to the good part.

[originally posted Wednesday 22 November 2017]

“Five Poets Explore the Intersection of Self and Other”

Try Never + four other books, reviewed by Stephanie Burt, New York Times, 3 November 2017.


Teaser quote: For all its semantic leaps, and its swaths of confusion—exacerbated by inter-poem echoes and compound words from German and Sanskrit—the kaleidoscope of scenes, quotations and exclamations let me imagine a poet behind the poems, a restless skeptic, aggressive talker and armchair traveler, “one of those who have a delight in / Renouncing whatever they chose.”


[originally posted Friday 3 November 2017]

“On Edward Lear’s ‘The Scroobious Pip’”

In The Paris Review Daily.


Teaser quote: “In early 1872, Edward Lear left a poem unfinished. It was very nearly complete: all it lacked of its intended five rhyming subsections were two lines and two words (not at the end). Lear left blanks in the manuscript, and it’s clear he intended to supply the missing bits at some later time. No one knows why he never did so.”

[originally posted 8 February 2014 on Anthony Opal’s The Weekly; reprinted at Paris Review Daily, Wednesday 8 November 2017]

“About as Large and Wise as a Man’s Head” (my title); “The Seventy-Four Best Entries in The Devil’s Dictionary” (their title)

In The Paris Review Daily.


Teaser quote: “Get ready for this. I, unlike you, have read every word of Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary (1906)—and read it recently. And it gets better. I, at the cost of an ocean of labor, have cherry-picked the seventy-four best bits out of the approximately three thousand billion trillion entries, and I am going to give you those seventy-four: yours, free of charge, to judge and find wanting.”

[originally posted Wednesday 25 October 2017]

Review of Try Never, by "Mark Clemens"

for Full Stop.


Teaser quote: “Kiṣkindhākāṇḍa” makes a series of intolerable dad-puns on “didgeridoo” whose grating unfunniness must have amused their author but is not contagious.

[originally posted Tuesday 3 October 2017]

Mother Grogan’s Unpunctuated Rigmarole of Numerical Spangablasm

In the Paris Review Daily.


Teaser quote: “Bill, sir? she said, halting. Well it’s seven mornings a pint at twopence is seven twos is a shilling and twopence over and these three mornings a quart at fourpence is three quarts is a shilling. That’s a shilling and one and two is two and two, sir.”


[originally posted Wednesday 27 September 2017]

A review of Try Never in Chicago Review. The only way I was ever going to get in that magazine.

Chicago Review


Teaser quote: “With so much happening at the level of pure form, the technical aspects would be tedious to parse. But if you think of the way Celtic designs carry curving lines from one quadrant of the visual field to another while maintaining qualities of symmetry and balanced value, tracing exquisitely detailed involutions and mandala-like circularities, then you’ll have some sense of Madrid’s analogous acoustic embroideries.”


[originally posted Wednesday 20 September 2017]

Quick takes on a couple of recent biographies: one of Czesław Miłosz and one of Kathy Acker

In Tourniquet Review.


Teaser quote: “Did you know Fanny Howe started her writing career producing soft-porn romance crap for Avon Books—? Out there in the world somewhere is a paperback from 1964 called West Coast Nurse. It was, I learned, part of a popular “nurse” series. There’s a copy online for $40 (original price: 32¢). Somebody needs to buy that and review it for the Agni blog.”


[originally posted Wednesday 13 September 2017]

H.D. Notebook, Part 2

In The Paris Review Daily.


Teaser quote: Reminds me of a joke Samuel Johnson alludes to in the preface of his edition of a certain Very Big Poet, whose greatness was (Johnson asserts) not to be found in particular passages but in the overall effect. The joke was: “He who tries to recommend him by select quotations, will succeed like the pedant in Hierocles, who, when he offered his house for sale, carried a brick in his pocket as a specimen.”

[originally posted Wednesday 9 August 2017]

“Would You Like to Write Something for My Magazine?”

In the Paris Review Daily.


Teaser quote: “The people of France have made it no secret that those of England, as a general thing, are, to their perception, an inexpressive and speechless race, perpendicular and unsociable, unaddicted to enriching any bareness of contact with verbal or other embroidery.”

[originally posted Wednesday 26 July 2017]

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