Chicago Review

An international journal of literature, interviews, and reviews. For academic audiences.

Articles from Vol. 44, No. 3/4, 1998

An English Objectivist? Basil Bunting's Other England
The publication of Basil Bunting's Briggflatts in 1966 was quite simply one of the most important events in postwar British poetry. And there was a Chicago connection: the whole poem first appeared in the pages of Poetry (Chicago) in January of that...
A Note on William Bronk's Poetics of Silence
For Bronk, silence is not the absence of sound but that which makes poetry possible, the ground of necessary speech. In "The Brother in Elysium," his prose meditation on Thoreau, Melville, and Whitman, Bronk writes "Silence is the world of potentialities...
Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews
Michael Fried. Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. The Michael Fried of Art and Objecthood is a marvel of certitude, and in James Joyce's Stephen Hero he has found a nearly perfect epigraph for this collection...
Artificial Heart
Peter Gizzi. Artificial Heart. Providence, R. I.: Burning Deck, 1998. An artificial heart is a hybrid. Mechanical but pseudo-organic, invulnerable yet capable of failure, it fears the host body's rejection at the same time that this body is dependent...
Barefoot on the Ohio Turnpike
Hunger strikes in the middle of Ohio, but my father waits for the Mobil sign before pulling off the turnpike. He drives past the deserted rest area and parks on the self-serve side of the Mobil island. "Fill it with Super," he says automatically as he...
Basil Bunting and Eric Mottram
The Eric Mottram Archive was formed as recently as 1996, with the gift from the Mottram family to King's College London of the papers and books of the late Eric Mottram, Professor of English and American Literature at King's, and a well-known visiting...
Canaan
Geoffrey Hill. Canaan. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1997. The contemporary American political scene may seem in toto so absurd as to render critique or condemnation, within the context of poetry, rather ineffectual. Perhaps only a Pope or Swift would...
Coming to Jakarta: Poetry, Information, and Disaster
Academics have very little leisure time. The only games we play are what Clifford Geertz calls "deep games," in the problematic essay on Bali cited so frequently in this poem. In order then to make time for things like genocide and the "New World Order"...
Esperanza: Poems for Orpheus
Holly Prado. Esperanza: Poems for Orpheus. Los Angeles: Cahuenga Press, 1998. Readers who love a poetry rich with gravidas will admire Holly Prado's Esperanza, her new collection of some seventy poems inspired by Orpheus, the ancient lyrist/lyricist....
From the Bunting Tapes
from The Bunting Tapes This excerpt is from a book-length compilation of transcripts from tapes of conversations with Basil Bunting between 1970 and 1985. Part "table talk, " part otherwise, it was approved by him for edited publication "eventually....
From the Spotted Moon
from The Spotted Moon 18. wind lifted rain beyond unaided eyesight where it froze a raw stone at the bottom of Echo River dropping a breeze onto the grasslands then amassing darkness framed by a circle this dollop of shortening sunlight a mouse chews...
Giscome Road
C. S. Giscombe. Giscome Road Normal, Ill.: Dalkey Archive Press, 1998. C. S. Giscombe's Here, published in 1994 by the Dalkey Archive, is a long serial poem that concerns events in the localities of the American south, rural Ohio, and upstate New York...
Investigative Epic: Peter Dale Scott's Coming to Jakarta
Epics may be prompted by crisis-Dante's exile in the Inferno or Agamemnon's wrath in the Iliad-but they do not investigate such single moments. They whirl from place to place, person to person, a centrifuge of storytelling, drama, and recurrent wine-dark...
Listening to the Candle
In his prose note to the confessional long poem, Listening to the Candle: A Poem on Impulse (1992), Peter Dale Scott anticipates that some readers "may be puzzled, or even disappointed, by this poem's relationship to its predecessor Coming to Jakarta."...
Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958-68
Love Forever: Yayoi Kusama, 1958-68 It is generally conceded that installation art dominates the 1990s. Multimedia artists Matthew Barney, Robert Gober, Jenny Holzer, and Bruce Nauman have had major shows in museums such as the Whitney and the Guggenheim....
Peter Dale Scott's Epic: Towards a Stopping-Place
"The personal is political," went a much-quoted, and much misused, slogan of the 1970s. For more than fifteen years, Peter Dale Scott's ongoing epic poem has documented, with a rare open-mindedness and curiosity, the actual intersections between his...
Poetry and Emotion: With a Review from Frank Bidart's Desire
Snow outside, heavy snow, the kind that falls straight down. It plasters itself noiselessly onto the street, flocks the top of tree branches, and rubs away the contours of curbs and fenceposts and garbage cans-a laundry all whites, pre-sorted, every...
Poetry and Terror in Peter Dale Scott's Coming to Jakarta
In Peter Dale Scott's forthcoming work, Minding the Darkness, he asks "...did he [David Horowitz] perhaps have a point / about the left's too willing / suspension of judgement?" This is the kind of question, calling for an evaluation of one's political...
Prothalamion
1. While crickets sing like small chinks in a chain, two friends sit in a room with corniced windows opening on a maple and the cool night air, one reading to the other one a poem about a reader in a room alone and reading to himself, his light the only...
Res Publica
Alan Williamson. Res Publica. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998. Alan Williamson is a poet who, it seems, can write interestingly about almost anything. In this book he is especially drawn to recent American history. Topics include Eisenhower's...
Sketches from My Voice Locked In: The Lives of Basil Bunting
Despite the thirty-year rule, M16 and the Foreign Office files on Basil Bunting remain closed. His neglect by the English literary establishment would suggest a parallel closure. All his life Basil Bunting tried to ensure that friends and colleagues...
The Child Is Lying!
What are you, Dark night within a stone? -Henri Michaux, Poteaux d'angle Lac Une, early autumn. The family settled me here, quite isolated, in this rather comfortable chalet so that my rehabilitation of the last few months may be followed up by a period...
The Creation of the Night Sky
Nicholas Christopher. The Creation of the Night Sky. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1998. Near the end of Jim Thompson's classic roman noir, The Getaway, the protagonists leave behind a familiar but dangerous America to enter a darkly magical realm that "appears...
The Yellow Book
Derek Mahon. The Yellow Book. Winston-Salem, N.C.: Wake Forest University Press,199& Early in his twelve-book poem The Ring and the Book, Robert Browning traces his poem's origins to a chance discovery in a Florentine bookstall, "this square old...
Tomaz Salamun
Tomaz Salamun People don't complain of early Christian mystics, or authors of other cultures myths, that their stories, which seem fantastical, are therefore useless because they don't conform to reality. It is understood that their exaggerations conform...
Viper Rum
Mary Karr. Viper Rum. New York: New Directions, 1998. The cover of Mary Karr's recent Viper Rum-a dead snake coiled in formaldehyde-gives clear warning to anyone looking to find rhapsodies on butterflies or the vagaries of autumn. This poetry eats that...
"Where Order in No Longer Imposed"
"Where Order Is No Longer Imposed" It seems almost certain that one of the books marking the millennium will be New Directions' publication of Peter Dale Scott's Minding the Darkness, the third and final book in his magnum opus, Earthway. If the first...