Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kit Robinson, Ice Cubes

Ice Cubes, Kit Robinson (Roof, 1987)

Continuing my trundle thru The Grand Piano (just finished #5), I took down a couple of Kit Robinson's books. Of all the Grand Pianists, he & Steve Benson are the ones with whose work I'm probably least familiar. Ice Cubes is in 3 sections: "Up Early," a run of 12-line poems (composed in early morning? limbering-up exercises? – at any rate, spare, tense, & intelligent); "Oleo," a series of longer-lined, 5-lined stanza'd pieces, rather denser and more witty – I'm way keen on "Nesting of Layer Protocols":
Theory has it the word came first. But you always
have to take somebody's word for it. That word,
built up over time with letters from various
alphabets, edges polished by the erosion of speech,
is itself a result.
– and the 50 or so pages of "Ice Cubes," poems in 4-line stanzas, one word per line. A neat trick, the form placing equal emphasis on each word, forcing Robinson to make lexical choice "count." For the most part (as in the earlier sections) straightforward syntax, casual tone, but a light effect very unlike the sometimes ponderous Orientalism of Zukofsky's 1-word-per-line passages.


Tho Louisville isn't really a "book town," I managed to add a fair stack to the "unread" poetry shelf. Tell me what to read next:
Collected Poems, Paul Auster
Terra Lucida, Joseph Donahue
Crown of Weeds, Amy Gerstler
Ghost Girl, Amy Gerstler
Inventions of Necessity, Jonathan Greene
Teth, Sheila E. Murphy
Unrecounted, W. G. Sebald
Ours, Cole Swensen
Mental Ground, Esther Tellermann


Norman Finkelstein said...

The first two, for sure, especially that great introduction to Auster's Collected.

Alan Golding said...

What I want to know, Mark, is where the hell you found these books in the 'ville. I've lived here for 20+ years and wouldn't know where to find them. "Not really a book town" is dead right. Half-Price books? I'd love to know where I might pick up a copy of Joe Donahue's book here, for instance. I know: there's always Amazon, etc. But I like the serendipity of bookstores.