No Trade Secrets: Andrew Choate’s New Nonchalance
by Andrew Choate
Insert Blanc Press, 2012
56 pages / $12 (Limited Editions $18 – $36) Buy from Insert Blanc Press
Andrew Choate’s new book Stingray Clapping, in a small and beautiful volume from Insert Blanc Press, is full of enigmatic, minimal pieces like the above. “Necktie popcorn” is actually a pretty typical example of the stuff in this book: it’s sharp, fascinating, and oddly pleasurable. In a sense, many of these pieces stay true to the old (post)modernist ethos of foregrounding the words themselves; they often appear divorced of any real-world referential quality. Then again, envisioning actual necktie popcorn is also a weirdly enjoyable thought. In fact, nailing down Choate’s poetics with this book is almost impossible given the multitude of readings many of these “poems” allow or refute.
horse by watching
What does someone do with a piece like “horse by watching?” Many works here deny any kind of limited reading because they just don’t make any “sense.” “Horse by watching” could be read as a kind of minimalist, concrete poem; it may even be a sort of pun on something like “hoarse from talking”—or it’s just some random shit thrown together. Much of Stingray Clapping echoes and updates Robert Grenier’s almost-forgotten Sentences, another enigmatic and seemingly nonchalant work of pure pleasure-granting experimental poetry. One of the more intriguing elements of both books is that they don’t make excuses. Choate isn’t rationalizing his “project” here; instead he seems to be celebrating a kind of lazy, half-assed aloofness throughout the work.
October 15th, 2012 / 12:00 pm