Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Craig Watson: True News

True News, Craig Watson (Instance Press, 2002)

Three serial pieces – "Spectacle Studies," "Where/As," & "Home Guard" – that circle around geopolitical themes – interpreted as broadly as possible – "the personal is the political," politics colonizes/conditions consciousness, etc. A deft touch thruout, smart & lively. The 4 sections of "Where/As" are place-specific (Venice, South Africa, China, Ecuador), & bend their essentially similar forms to accomodate a vivid impression of each locale. Most exciting are the quatrain poems of "Spectacle Studies," which touch on stereotypically "big," abstract – even philosophical – questions with a sure hand & a clear sense of when the abstract becomes particular & vice-versa. Nice work; not as lyrical as the 3-4 Watson books I've read before.

Last night's election returns more than gratifying – I feel that I can sleep well, at least for a space. Put me in mind of watching other world-historical events – inevitably, on the television: the Berlin Wall coming down in 1989, in a dingy apartment in Ithaca, New York; Boris Yeltsin's tanks surrounding the Russian Parliament, its windows alight with fires, in October 1993, on a hanging set in room in Walter Reed Military Hospital where my father was awaiting surgery for cancer; the collapse of the World Trade Center, in our own house here in Florida, where the three of us (I, J., & a dear colleague of ours now in deep-blue Seattle) practically clung together with shock. Last night's viewing was – for the nonce – far more happy-making.

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