by Paige Taggart
Greying Ghost Press, 2011
Currently Sold Out (Book Page at Greying Ghost)
Can one person constitute a chorus? Can a chorus be composed of your lungs, the highest cloud, and a blue flame? Paige Taggart’s Polaroid Parade captures the procession of an adamant, demented song of departure and alterity: the battle to fracture and move meaning along with our horns and feathers and fallen hands. This collection shines with the allure of commodity culture and entertainment—ravishing storefronts, “a gentle circus,” after-parties, the “tilted banquet”—while at the same time it undermines and challenges this very structure through an avalanche of precise, pollinated images that subtly warn us of the threat in becoming an “unsubstantial paper-doll.” By immersion and then departure, these poems lead us to a new space where we no longer expect anyone to inherit or claim ownership, where our hands finally release the “spoon” that “cradles every object that surrenders to it.”
Through a revolving door of vocal pronouns, Taggart critiques the darker underbelly of connectivity and community, its inextricable link to agreement, accumulation, and waste. Within the first few pages, the chorus breaks into a gated neighborhood, builds a house from clipped paper, and no one slows down on the seventh day to nap. Instead, “We tapped the ground, put speakers under the dirt, covered it back up, then proceeded to play music and girls would come over and shake their bellies then walk away, back to the sand pits.” How quickly we form new communities and patterns over the ruins of similar but failed routines and complicities. Excess abounds, and the reader is told, “we are children in jeans, we have speakers through our thumbs, we are loud and incommodious, we have, we have, we have, villages.” And a singular voice claims, “I’m always in love with five people at once.” Yet, “the warm cycle never sterilizes our predicament” and bright, startling images infect/replicate the rapid production of new commodities to reveal the empty chill of these engagements: “embraces backfire through the windmill.” We see the danger in “calling shotgun to every justifiable cause.”
In our contemporary capitalist experiment of acceleration and disposability, Taggart shows us how quickly identity is shaped in relation to the surrounding objects. Both product and detritus touch us, are connected and therefore mimetically looped. Taggart writes, “Her character is in the carpet…her character is Maybelline, her eyes are Georgia. Her teeth are puzzles, with pens in her mouth she records you, over there, having a picnic.” This main character surfaces and takes shape as pastiche or collaged culture. Thus, animate and inanimate blur and recognition becomes an alarming process/parade. As gender, too, is controlled through these heaps of possessions and garbage, a struggle emerges to repel product in order to allow the unnamed, young female character to find an escape hatch in this mimetic Mobius strip. We fear for her, because as Taggart ominously articulates, “Inside Polaroid you can observe luxurious edges, understand being boxed.” Instead of connection and coalescence, we root for the sloughing off of wares and reflections. I’m reminded of a line from the beginning of The Maximus Poems when Olson laments that we are “in the present shame of, / the wondership stolen by, / ownership.” In Taggart’s landscape, tensions arise from the inextricable relationship between the thrill of existence taking shape, and then this form as recognizable and commodified. Language itself must daringly find a way to renew and embody wondership without being co-opted by ownership.
February 18th, 2013 / 12:00 pm
1. This Stephen King piece by William Walsh is exactly why I glow persona fiction. Not sure how I missed this. Maybe it was even noted here (I’m too lazy to look now). Anyway, enjoy. I think this piece is using the persona (King), its echoes, connotations, in a way I really admire and enjoy. Walsh is waltzing the term “Stephen King” in a technical manner. The King character is an object/emotion/thought process. It enacts a void and need and unspoken thing for this family. It…oh, I could go on, but why not read?
2. Sardine sandwiches do rock. (1:56 to end made me fly/why like a detail) I am serious now, go watch. Isn’t it what we like and need to live? Isn’t it a good story, or better a poem? If I could meet one sardine sandwich woman a day, this very life would be enough.
3. Here are some crystals for sale at a reasonable price. They were found in Tao Lin, China.
4. I am sick, feverish, that somebody-stuffed-wet insulation-in-my-head-cavities thing, something, but just ignoring it because I have a lot of work to do. Does anyone like to write when ill? I have been writing the last two days and my fingers are large, like balloons (those party ones clowns make into dachshunds) floating over the keys, all tinnitus and forehead simmer. I’m not sure what it means to the words on the page. You?
The Rumpus has a conversation with Banksy.
Jezebel has a sympathetic Q&A with a guy with a female-constipation fetish (believe it or not, this is actually SFW).
Julia Cohen posts poems by her 4th and 5th grade students.
Ron Rosenbaum, who you probably know better as Slate‘s resident Nabokov-obsessive, reviews Seth Rogov’s Bob Dylan: Prophet, Mystic, Poet for the Jewish Review of Books. Depending on your personal feelings about Dylan, this piece is either about as much or slightly less fun than it sounds like.(via Arts & Letters Daily.)
And in today’s installment of BANJO FEEVER, we’ve got Frank Warner and Pete Seeger on Pete’s old RAINBOW QUEST TV show, doing Frank Proffitt’s “Tom Dooley.” This was the first bluegrass song I ever got obsessed with. The version that caught my attention was Doc Watson’s, from a live album that I picked up because I wanted to hear a “more authentic” version of “Shady Grove,” than the Jerry Garcia / David Grisman version on their album of the same name, which I was already in love with.
That’s right–many things; one bunch of them.
Faster Times books editor and commenter-in-good-standing-here Lincoln Michel takes on David Shields’s Reality Hunger over at The Rumpus. I have to say that Lincoln’s review is thorough, even-handed and thought-provoking; but after reading it, I can’t imagine anything I’m less interested in reading than this book. I say read Lincoln’s piece and call it a day.
Julia Cohen went to a small press festival in Boulder, CO. Then she ate some crappy pizza from a place called Sexy Pizza. She also talks about the new issues of Horse Less Review and Ugly Duckling’s 6×6. Plus, you know, other stuff–flowers, her brother, March.
Valleywag blows the pickles off the Cheezburger empire–sort of.
And what the hell has John Gallaher been talking about lately? Well, he likes the new Double Room, he’s interested in the new Sawako Nakayasu book from Letter Machine, he says the Laurel Review is looking for reviewers, and he digs the paintings of Glennray Tutor (see above), whom you know as the guy whose works adorns several of Barry Hannah’s Grove-Atlantic covers. Here’s Tutor’s site.
Kim Hyesoon’s Mommy Must Be a Fountain of Feathers
Lisa Jarnot’s Night Scenes
Dan Machlin’s Dear Body
Brett Price’s Trouble with Mapping
John Taggart’s There are Birds
Ara Shirinyan’s Your Country Is Great
Brandon Shimoda’s The Alps
Joel Chace’s Matter No Matter
Jon Godfrey’s City of Corners
Jen Tynes’s Heron / Girlfriend
Anne Heide’s Wiving
Anne Boyer’s Art is War
Darcie Dennigan’s Corinna A-Maying the Apocalypse
Allison Carter’s Shadows are Weather
Mark Cunningham’s Body Language
Ever wanted to shop for books based on short video clips that may or may not describe the interior of the book based on associate video images? Me neither. But now that I think about it, maybe it would work out? Or at least be like sticking your hand in a bag of chalk (I don’t know what that means).
The Home Video Review of Books is now kicking out video review of ‘poetry and lyric prose,’ putting random video in the house. It is edited by Mathias Svalina and Julia Cohen, and has a random cross sampling of thangs.
If nothing else, I like their selection of titles to peek at in the first update:
Kristi Maxwell’s Realm Sixty-Four
Eugene Ostashevsky’s The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza
Alex Lemon’s Hallelujah Blackout
Abraham Smith’s Whim Man Mammon
Anselm Berrigan’s Have a Good One
Selah Saterstrom’s The Meat and Spirit Plan
Jay Wright’s Polynomials and Pollen
Danielle Pafunda’s My Zorba
Tisa Bryant’s Unexplained Presence
K. Silem Mohammad’s Breathalyzer
Jasper Bernes’ Starsdown
Rauan Klassnik’s Holy Land
Check it out n shit. HOLY LAND is awesome + the review here is pretty funny.
November 2nd, 2008 / 7:15 pm