14 January 2014


Favorite things

In no particular order, here are some of my favorite things to come out of 2013. 

Pattie McCarthy's marybones (Apogee Press). This was my commuting reading for a good 2 or 3 days and left me totally rapt and in wonder. These poems are like the paintings they talk about. You enter them.

This PoemTalk
on Etheridge Knight and Gwendolyn Brooks, with Jo Park, Tracie Morris, and Herman Beavers. I love the exchange about the exchange between the two poems.

Lorine Niedecker's Lake Superior, new annotated/collected edition (Wave Books). I like the idea of Niedecker's long poem being collated with her notes and the field notes of others (Schoolcraft, etc.). All the texts that are palimpsested underneath her text. And the volume itself is plain and direct, unadorned like a stone.

Amy Sara Carroll's Fannie + Freddie: The Sentimentality of Post-9/11 Pornography (Fordham UP). I reviewed this book for Make/Shift and was blown away by its audacity and graphic intensity. Especially all the stuff about ovulation.

commentaries by Kristen Gallagher, Amaranth Borsuk, and Harold Abramowitz & Andrea Quaid. Kristen's "Why?" series of posts ("Why Cry?" etc.) has really stuck with me.

Trisha Low's The Compleat Purge, and its utter entrance into the world.

Geoffrey Dyer and Lauren Eggert-Crowe's reading at Poetic Research Bureau
in Los Angeles in January, and our delicious meal at Via Café beforehand and our talk of astrology there.

Lots of other amazing readings at PRB in 2013, including Diana Arterian, Jibade-Khalil Huffman & Simone White in March; Jared Stanley and Laura Wetherington also in March; and the big Sonnets release party/reading in April. PRB is one of the things I miss most about the West Coast since relocating back to Philadelphia last summer.

The Wendy Davis filibuster. And that Counterpath put out the transcript.

Hearing Sonia Sanchez talk with Angela Davis, and Ana Castillo at the First Person Festival in Philly in November.

Stephanie Young's Ursula, or University (Krupskaya), Alli Warren's Here Come the Warm Jets (City Lights), and getting to read with them both at Jason Mitchell's reading series at Snockey's Oyster House in Philly in November. 

Evie Shockley's Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry (Iowa), especially her chapter on Gwendolyn Brooks, and her suggestion that we think of aesthetics as "types of engagement" rather than "specific styles" into which we must be locked.

Sela Saterstrom's The Meat and Spirit Plan (Coffee House), one of the few novels I've read in recent years - a tough, lovely book.

Julia Bloch is the author of Letters to Kelly Clarkson (Sidebrow), a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Recent poems and translations also appear in Fence, 1913, and Manor House Quarterly. From 2005 to 2011, she curated the Emergency reading series in Philadelphia. She is an editor at Jacket2 and recently relocated from Los Angeles back to Philadelphia to work as associate director of the Kelly Writers House.

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