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5 Points: The Narrow Circle (by Nathan Hoks)

the narrow circle

***

Nathan Hoks is one of my favorite writers. And this is a 5 point review of “The Narrow Circle,” a National Poetry Series winner selected by Dean Young (Penguin Books, 2013).

1) At times the careful and elegant lines and images of The Narrow Circle, a book moving and blurring between “Interior” and “Exterior,” feel like the work of a classic Surrealist. A Magritte, let’s say. And, here I’ll quote a poem in its entirety:

***

LILY OF THE INTERIOR

A lily is sprouting from my head.
First I love it, then I want it dead.

And now I’ll quote the beginning of the poem that follows LILY OF THE INTERIOR because it spiked in me the Primitive and Eden-Like scenes work of Henri Rousseau, who came to mind, also, from time to time, as I read through this collection:

When my wife comes home from work
The invisible bird is still hissing near
Her head.

henri rousseau

2) Inside and out through much of these poems there is a thriller-horror movie feel. The feel of something morphing. Of an evil or strangeness (an alien sort of thing) building. Impending. Within and out.

…………and the lake
Of soluble phosphates will fill with
Algal blooms and kill the fish and plants
The same green spot is growing inside me.”

And

…my wife and I stand in the middle and call it
The inside. A leaf is growing out of our face.

magritte

3) Quentin Tarantino’s movie-making came to mind, also, as I read through The Narrow Circle. I mean careful and exact tension building (think of the farmhouse scene in Inglourious Basterds, the terrified family hidden beneath the floorboards) and culminating from time to time, in waves, like a lily, exploding, facially:

Nathan Hoks is a vague hunger.
Nathan Hoks is a 50/50 blend
Gunpowder and guts. Film comes
Whirring out of his mouth.
Rusted screws hold his fingers to hands.
Flies hang around his buttocks.
Shoots and pods are sprouting from his intestines.
Nathan Hoks is a fork in the egg yolk.
Nathan Hoks is a penitentiary.
Nathan Hoks lives inside himself
Where he is choking on the curtains, READ MORE >
2 Comments
February 19th, 2014 / 4:00 pm

an excerption of an excerption in the breakdown of the bicameral mind

jaynesbrain

    
     2. Excerption. In consciousness, we are never ‘seeing’ anything in its entirety. This is because such ‘seeing’ is an analog of actual behavior; and in actual behavior we can only see or pay attention to a part of a thing at any one moment. And so in consciousness. We excerpt from the collection of possible attentions to a thing which comprises our knowledge of it. And this is all that it is possible to do since consciousness is a metaphor of our actual behavior.
     Thus, if I ask you to think of a circus, for example, you will first have a fleeting moment of slight fuzziness, followed perhaps by a picturing of trapeze artists or possibly a clown in the center ring. Or, if you think of the city which you are now in, you will excerpt some feature, such as a particular building or tower or crossroads. Or if I ask you to think of yourself, you will make some kind of excerpts from your recent past, believing you are then thinking of yourself. In all these instances, we find no difficulty or particular paradox in the fact that these excerpts are not the things themselves, although we talk as if they were. Actually we are never conscious of things in their true nature, only of the excerpts we make of them.
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Excerpts / 3 Comments
January 17th, 2014 / 11:27 pm

2013 PO’ IN REVIEW–85 (or so) Lines & Quotes That Effed Me Up, in chronological(-ish) order of when i reddit

year

Right about now is the time of the year when everyone with a goddamn login gets all hyperboled about whatever dumb book they read way back in March, just so they can save a .jpeg and write a bunch of convoluted bullshit about that dumb book and some other dumb books for some dumb literary blog. Those things (blogs, books, hyperboles, et al, et al) are cool. But books are books, and books cost money, and I’m sure that you’re probably broke because you bought me a bunch of Yolo Polos for God’s birthday. Oh, you good little sigh, you.

So instead of giving you a list of books you’re never going to read, I figured I’d go through my pockets and pull out the best lines and quotes I came across in 2013, because (and I know I might be alone here) 2013 felt like a winning fucking lotto ticket to me. Happy holidays. Now give me a hug.

<3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

I.

Out there, in the Between, it’s kiss or be kist

R.M. O’Brien, “Poem For Chris Toll In The Between” (Sink Review, Jan. 1)

II.

He could have laid me back
in the middle of the Atlantic; we could have been on a raft
loaded with exotic cargo, parrot eggs and pigeon blood rubies
rather than egg sandwiches and a bottle of wine
thick and pungent enough to be blood. It was hard to imagine
anyone here, not him shucking his shirt onto the deck,
nor ancient sailors or drug dealers in their bullet-boats.

Bridget Menasche, “Claudine Goes Sailing With A Man Who Hates The Hamptons” (PANK, Jan. 15)

III.

It takes
a huge amount of fire to see much.

Daniel D’Angelo, “The End of the Sound of Waves (Alice Blue Review, Jan. 29)

IV/YES.

(Feb. 15)

V.

My heart is a sleeping deer
about to be awakened.
I think that’s what I mean,
wake up. Don’t reason
with a plane crash,
clean up the fucking bodies.

Layne Ransom, “Mercy” (H_NGM_N chapbook, Feb. 26

READ MORE >

Excerpts & Roundup / 9 Comments
December 19th, 2013 / 12:00 am

Excerpts & Reviews

STARK WEEK EPISODE #5: “the world can’t / hold / what is / the world / built for / exactly” — Melissa Broder on Starkweather’s LA LA LA

starkweek

For Episode Five of STARK ATTACK A WEEK OF STARK ATTACKS, we move onto the second book of T4B with the firm and jubilant columns and poemreview joy of our own Melissa Broder talking about Sam’s LA LA LA. As an added bonus, we also get the last LA LA LA itself to accompany Melissa’s text!

 

snuka_top_rope-765661Joyce Carol Oates
or someone
said don’t
put yourself
in the review
fuck that
even if
I wanted to
disappear
WHICH I DO
there is no
omniscient god
of reviewership
only the white goddess
and the poet
and a pair of eyes
trying to jump
‘if you love me
unlock your phone
see those two lights
on the sea
that’s me
that’s me
that’s me’
some people
you just know
will be ok
Sampson
Starkweather
the poet
is one
he says
his desire map
is running
out of room
mine is more
an ash mouth
either way
the world can’t
hold
what is
the world
built for
exactly
‘the more animal
the less pain…
stagger to the edge
of the woods
suck the poison out’
I have had
to rescue
myself
from the earth
and rescue
myself
from the ways
I rescued
myself
1000000 times
nobody gets
what they want
why not?
green paper
or something
something
‘blood on the keyboard
spiritual pop ups
dizzy by
bright lipstick’
I want to
disappear
but really
I want to stay
‘past black fields
that feel more
like memory
than memory can…
this life is super
fucking hard’
when you get
to the sky
there’s a sky
let me float
twice
once so
that I know
once so
I remember

Melissa Broder is the author of two collections of poems, most recently MEAT HEART (Publishing Genius, 2012). Poems appear or are forthcoming in The Iowa Review, FENCE, Guernica, The Missouri Review, et al.

LA LA LA EXCERPT BELOW THE JUMP!

mightysamson-2007-unicorn

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6 Comments
July 17th, 2013 / 3:02 pm

Three Quotes from Literature about Saint Simeon Stylites

ImageCache

Simeon Stylites, who spent thirty-six year on top of a sixty-foot pillar in the Syrian desert. For most of that time his body a mass of maggot-infested sores.
The maggots no more than eating what God had intended for them, he said.

- David Markson, Reader’s Block

- – -

And her eagerness to learn the preparations he had set himself to teach her was sometimes pathetically touching, and sometimes it frightened him: touching, delicately absurd for there was no mockery in her when, for instance, she affirmed the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin with that of Little Eva in Uncle Tom’s Cabin, as the only historical parallel she knew; frightening, when she brought from nowhere the image of Saint Simeon Stylites standing a year on one foot and addressing the worms which an assistant replaced in his putrefying flesh, —Eat what God has given you . . .

- William Gaddis, The Recognitions

- – -

These considerations, which occur to me frequently, prompt an admiration in me for a kind of person that by nature I abhor. I mean the mystics and ascetics—the recluses of all Tibets, the Simeon Stylites of all columns. These men, albeit by absurd means, do indeed try to escape the animal law. These men, although they act madly, do indeed reject the law of life by which others wallow in the sun and for death without thinking about it. They really seek, even if on top of a column; they yearn, even if in an unlit cell; they long for what they don’t know, even if in the suffering and martyrdom they’re condemned to.

- Fernando Pessoa,  The Book of Disquiet
- – -
Read more here and here
Excerpts / 6 Comments
July 1st, 2013 / 8:17 pm

“HIS LAST DAYS AS AN ARTIST”

“HIS LAST DAYS

AS AN ARTIST”

Slash Lovering

60 min

[2011, partial, unpublished bootleg - Erik Stinson, 2013]

 

Characters

 

CARL – male, 29

LINDA – female, 24

ROMAN – male, 29, work friend of Carl

SOPHIE – female, 22, a reveler

 

1 EXT Bushwick, Monday night, in the quiet of the early

work week, walking from the train, then INT at CARL’s

apartment.

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Excerpts & Film / 3 Comments
June 14th, 2013 / 5:06 pm

Excerpts & Reviews

THE FRENCH POETRY REVIEW, VOL. 1

No Comments
June 13th, 2013 / 1:14 am