Poems to Work On: The Collected Poems of Jim Dine. Ed. with Foreword by Vincent Katz (New York: Cuneiform Press, 2015)
Albert Saijo’s Woodrat Flat (Kaneohe, HI: Tinfish, 2015)
Guantanamo by Frank Smith. Trans. Vanessa Place (Los Angeles: Les Figues, 2014)
Here's the marvelous first paragraph of Tom's review -- yet another reason to anticipate the forthcoming issue of Galatea Resurrects #25, where we love Poetry enough to leave it unconstricted of paradigms --
The idea of reviewing these three books together rose out of my first look into them, when I saw the radically different angles on poetry that they embody and what they have in common. I had chosen them from Galatea’s “purse,” as Eileen Tabios calls it, based on interest in the three writers. One, Albert Saijo, was a naturalist and a companion to a few of the famous Beat poets. He was also the brother of an admired acquaintance of mine, Gompers Saijo, who painted the wildflower poster that most of us used back in the day for learning to recognize and name California’s botanical highlights. I was pleased to see new poems from this sentimental old favorite poet and anxious to see how the concerns of the naturalist fit with the attentions of the poet.. Another was a great NY painter, Jim Dine, whose “Hearts” adorns a poster on my covered back porch. He is another sort of sentimental favorite, but his sensibility is from that other coast and from that other world called “painting.” I wanted to see if I could discern a clear relation between his acts of painting and his poetry. The third was an un-sentimental un-favorite that I had only recently first encountered because of the furor over her work that re-inscribed Gone with the Wind as a series of tweets. Vanessa Place’s name is there only as translator for this book by Frank Smith, who is said to be “a French journalist, nonfiction writer, and author of multiple books of poetry,” but it was her name and concerns that drew me. As the press release says, “translated into English by Vanessa Place, Guantanamo unsettles the categories of law and poetry, innocence and guilt, translation and interpretation.” It is her “Translation and interpretation” intermixed as something like “trans-terpretation” that engages me with this book because of her efforts in this realm of “conceptual poetry” and the meanings that they have taken on for progressive poets and readers of poetry. I wanted to see what she was putting forward for us, whether the concept was all there might be to “get” from the original “trans-terpretation” by Smith of interrogations of prisoners. It is these admixtures that engage my attention in all three books: the lyricism and naturalist leanings of Saijo’s late work, the poetry and painterly sensibility in Dine’s Poems to Work On, and the unsettling of categories pushed into each other by Frank Smith and emphasized by Place.*****
And this seems like a good time to note that even as I work on the upcoming release of the next issue, I've set the next deadline for the subsequent issue. Reviews for Galatea Resurrects #26 are due no later than June 30, 2016. Do check GR's list of review copies in case you want to participate!