Monday, January 06, 2014

Review to launch you into the new year

WISC-TV Channel 3000 Madison
2014 is already underway it seems, and remarkable events that will go into record books and be talked about for decades are upon us here in the Midwest, USA where record lows are keeping us inside sipping hot chocolates and playing board games with friends who are also free from work on this mega-chilly first Monday of 2014. Newspapers have dubbed this blast of cold (here in Madison, WI it is -23F with -41F windchills, as you can see in this image from WISC-TV Channel 3000 Madison) the result of a "polar vortex" with arctic winds coming down from the North. Certainly all the talk about global warming is currently on pause. What I am admiring here is how cold cold days like this bring bright sun and a kind of crystalline clarity--the snows over the lake reflect the brightness back and make sitting indoors by the heater a pleasant moment for reading in the sunlight as we await the summer and listen to a little music. This is one of those days when I tell myself that, yes, I have now experienced the winter of 2014 and so am ready for the next season's shift. Of course, there will be months still of lingering winter but for me the tides of the seasons could shift anytime now and I would be ready (yes, I do prefer the steamy hot of summers to this!) 

But to make the start of 2014 even brighter, I saw today that the new issue of Drunken Boat --number 18--is now up online--it includes many great things, such as fiction by Kirk Nesset or Kimberly Nguyen and reviews of books, as Shira Dentz the reviews editor points out, by "Amy Gerstler on Elaine Equi, Michael Mejia on Chris Ware, Kelly Lydick on Sandy Florian, Jennifer K. Dick on HR Hegnauer, Jessica Treat on Jac Jemc, and Andrew Najberg on Arthur Smith. Also in this issue, Nathan Hauke interviews Paul Naylor about his recent book and longstanding work as a publisher of contemporary American poetry." Drunken Boat thus also includes my review of HR Hegnauer's SIR, a book published by Brenda Iijima's lovely and ever-exciting Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, a publishing house that most often favors the high-caliber, high-quality publication of chapbooks but who found this work so compelling that after putting out a selection as a chapbook selected the full-length volume for publication in 2013. I am not the only one to find this first book by HR a treat, Poetry Foundation employee Mairead Case included it as one of her choices for "best reads" from 2013 and a great dialogue about it by Rachel Levitsky and Ariel Goldberg appeared in Jacket 2 in December

So, for your reading pleasure before or after you have read HR's book SIR:

*** My review of Hegnauer, "Entwinging Presence and Language" on Drunken Boat 18:
*** Mairead Case's choice on Poetry Foundation's 2013 staff picks :
*** Rachel Levitsky and Ariel Goldberg's dialogue about it in Jacket 2: