Archive for the ‘literature’ Category

The Pull List – 02/27/08

February 26, 2008

This week has more to offer than last week, which was pretty slim. For some reason I thought the new Ex Machina was due to ship tomorrow, but it’s not on the list, so I’ll wait to talk about it until later. There is a new issue (#3) of Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 arriving, which is a promising read.  Yes, yes, I know it was the indy book of last year, and yes, I agree its hype was vastly overdone; but it is still a pretty good read.  I really like how non-cute Peterson does that book: instead of happy and cartoonish mice, the title gives us violent, brooding, and even peg-legged mice.  It’s worth picking up. 


Fish Receives Gift Horse, Looks in Mouth

January 19, 2008

Stanley Fish is at it again, this time writing about the virtual lack of a pragmatic answer to “what is the value of humanities studies?”  Here is his NY Times entry.  While he does raise a few good points and keeps the article on task (and he surprised me by some responses to comments”), I was left with the same feeling many of his pieces elicit.  A bulk of the feeling I’m referring to could be partly a sense of betrayal, or maybe merely an irresponsible shirking of great opportunities in exchange for a clever obfuscation of the values and meanings that are part of studying humanities.  What I mean is, as gifted and well-known figure Stanley Fish is, why would he focus on how little one can come up with – in practical terms – when asked to value the study of humanities; couldn’t he serve the field, and others, so much better by answering the question, rather asking it?

Creative Writing, Tenure, and the idiot savants caught in between

January 14, 2008

After stumbling upon an interesting discussion about the publication of literary journals, specifically poetry, then after rambling long enough to throw in one Han Solo reference, I was reminded of an incident that occurred in the English dept. while I was getting my MA. 

A real-world application of literary criticism (and other tangents)

January 1, 2008

This first paragraph is an afterthought, but I now recall why I sat down to write this. I moved a bookshelf from my den to a back room (where I house way too many comics), and am in the process of putting the books back on it. Anyway, every time I do this, I can’t help but think of the process as one of the rare, personal and physical applications of literary criticism. It’s as if each placement of a book – those on low shelves stacked and tucked away, others prominently displayed square in the middle shelf with no regard to genre or title – is a little symbolic essay on the title, or the author; a metaphor for how much the book affected me, or how much I value the book in terms other than monetary. It seems like one of the few times that one can truly apply literary criticism, physically, without words and instead in the real world – a thing which too often feels absent from the literary classroom. It is such a pleasure.

Mr. Fish and The Incredible Appearing Poem

December 30, 2007

Lately I’ve been bothered with Stanley Fish’s Is There A Text In This Class; I’ve had the book for a while, and have read most of the essays long before that, but for some reason lately I’ve been picking it back up.  Mainly, I have been mulling over why I know, even if only instinctual – in my gut – why he is wrong on several of his ideas about poems.  


Everybody wants to be a poem (part one)

December 10, 2007

I actually had to remove the tag “poetry” (and related variations) from the tag surfer feature because of the sheer amount of people’s poetry that was showing up. Arghh. Something they should tell you early in life is

1) never post any poetry online, and
2) if you do, for God’s sake don’t let other people read it, and
3) never look for comments, criticism or advice online.

At least not if you take the writing seriously. It’s hard enough to reach the “outside world” when you are in a creative writing program, much less getting the internet mixed up with it.

    Writing, poetry especially, is such a weird thing; it is so deeply associated with “feelings” that people are hesitant to actually give criticism. The legacy of modernism and the Beat poets is that when we neither understand nor like a poem, that alone isn’t enough to disqualify the poem as having failed – i.e. being a “bad” poem.  In fact, in many cases it would only reinforce the idea that the poem is up to the status quo.

Houdini: The Handcuff King, by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi

December 9, 2007

The Handcuff King

So I finally released this graphic novel from my big box of “pulled comics” at the local comic store, which is perpetually overrun with beautiful looking indy books I really want but can’t afford … just yet. But since the guys at Kingdom Comics are the coolest guys in the world, I ended up getting this for half off. Go me. Anyway, I was very excited when I first saw this many months ago, as I’m a big fan of Lutes’ work; I don’t know Bertozzi as well, and have only read pieces of Salon, but nevertheless, Lutes and the subject matter – Houdini – were enough to go on.
… more later)…