Retail 2010: Coach House Books
We continue to peek around the corner at upcoming titles from the nation’s brave and essential poetry publishers, today focusing on the proudly Torontonian Coach House Books. With a reputation for intellectualism that is challenging, energetic, and tied to the corporeal realities of urban life, Coach House can almost always be relied on for books that are difficult, but in a good way. This Spring they hope to bring us three more.
Author: Jen Currin
Title: The Inquisition Yours
Collection Number: Third
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “In voices alternately vulnerable, defiant, resigned and hopeful, The Inquisition Yours speaks to the atrocities of our time – war, environmental destruction and the erosion of personal rights– fashioning a tenuous bridge between the political and the personal.”
Other Notes: This is only our second one of these reviews and already we’re seeing a definite trend toward contemporary, politically-charged poetry. Wait, where am I? What country is this? Currin’s last book Hagiography, was either brilliant or immediately forgettable, depending on who you asked. I admit I haven’t read it, though I did stare slack-jawed at its cover for a moment in at least one local book store.
Author: kevin mcpherson eckhoff
Collection Number: Le Debut!
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: “In 1837, Sir Isaac Pitman began a sixty-year obsession with producing a system of Shorthand that accurately and swiftly captures voice as evidence of the mind’s movements. Then, in the 1950s, John Malone developed Unifon, a forty-character phonetic alphabet intended for international communication by the airline industry. Both projects reached for artful utility and both have largely been forgotten.”
Other Notes: It took me a moment to get over the all-lower-case name. “Really?” thought, “New poets are still doing this? Still!?” but then i decided i was okay with it when i started looking into the source material and agreed with the diminutive mr. eckhoff that it was ripe for language-poetry. if anybody doesn’t mind losing a solid hour of their lives, i suggest starting your tour of this endlessly interesting world with the wikipedia entries for both pitman and unifon.
Author: Rachel Zolf
Title: Neighbour Procedure
Collection Number: Fifth
Editor-Approved Bumfspeak: Neighbour Procedure sees Zolf assemble an arsenal of poetic procedures and words borrowed from a cast of unlikely neighbours, including Mark Twain, Dadaist Marcel Janco, blogger-poet Ron Silliman and two women at the gym. The result is a dynamic constellation where humour and horror sit poised at the threshold of ethics and politics.
Other Notes: Hard not to be excited about this. Zolf’s last book (Human Resources) won the Trillium Award and garnered about as much attention beyond the borders of the country as any other book of Canadian experimental poetry, excepting maybe Christian Bök. The words being used to describe this one: polyvocal, public, contemporary, etc., sound like natural extensions of her previous work. There’s a blurb here from Rodrigo Toscano that has me a little worried, though. I won’t reprint it for you, as I don’t want to scare anybody off. Let’s just say that it’s so inchoate and vacuous, it could have quite easily been generated by this machine.
That’s it for CH. I’ve started a master page for this project, which I will continue to add to as new previews are posted.