Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Viewing of the Reviews

Announcing: The Home Video Review of Books: Vol 1, Issue 2

The Home Video Review of Books is a monthly online review journal of
poetry & lyric prose.

In this issue you will find reviews of:

Gina Myers' Behind the R
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

To submit a book for review send review copies to:
c/o Julia Cohen & Mathias Svalina
505 62nd St, #C2
Brooklyn, NY 11220
Julia Cohen & Mathias Svalina

Staff Reviewers:
Zachary Schomburg, Daniela Gesundheit, Dan Goldman, Stephanie Sherman,
Ken Rumble, Jon Pack, Jayna Maleri

The Home Video Review of Books
505 62nd St, C2
Brooklyn, NY 11220

Contact: &
I also found two reviews that I had written quite sometime ago for a couple of Dusie e-chaps, so I figured I'd just post them here, after all what are blogs for?

A Book of Days, Pt 1: Sorcery. February 1-May 31, 2007 by Hugh Behm-Steinberg

Dusie Press, 2007

To Put it One Way or Another

Hugh Behm-Steinberg’s Book of Days is a life project-- every ten years ten-line prose poems are written each day with two-inch margins for a complete year. Sorcery is the second installment of this ambitious and ultimately rewarding project. Behm-Steinberg navigates a territory somewhere between John Ashbery and David Lehman while carving out a space that is uniquely his own.

In Ashbery’s 3 Poems he writes, “ I thought that if I could put it all down, that would be one way. And next the thought came to me that to leave all out would be another, and truer way…” Sorcery operates on the impetus of trying to “put it all down” and also trying to “leave it all out.” In fact, the magic implicit in this work does both— pulls rabbits out of hats and disappears completely. Behm-Steinberg’s key is his ability to play on the tension of inclusion/exclusion like Miles Davis and John Coltrane trading solos. On April 20th we find the poet meditating about the sky, “There’s nothing wrong with/ writing about the sky, the/ sky could care less, its/ feelings are weather/ patterns, that zephyr when/ you’re happy, the patterns/ bend macroscopically. The/ accumulation is undec-/ tably vast, so much impli-/cation, so little time be-/tween now and the next / election cycle, so much/ work and so much sky,/ clouds and vapor trails…/"

or on April 1,

“Worry is a thing and an act./ As a thing it’s a creature,/ and you become encrea-/tured, when it sniffs you,/ when it flirts. That’s quick, / are you quick, and not/ good, are you good?/" His poems cover an amazing amount of ground for such meager space. He begins thinking about the sky but then wonders about the election— slyly moving the poem from the ethereal to the human or as in April 1, he begins with an emotional state but uses his wit to both amuse and banter.

Since there is a poem for each day and the book so format-driven it’s hard not to compare it to David Lehman’s The Evening Sun and Daily Mirror. On February 23, Behm-Steinberg writers, “ I come home and find out/ my brother has left his/ wife, so I can’t sleep. I/ read about Peruvian restau-/rants in Queens… /" or on February 25, “There was a good son and / there was a bad son and I/ want to be the bad son:/ when the phone rings I/ want to be the bad son:/"

The book is broken into three sections, Our Virginities, Heaven, and Raiment. The underpinning of this book is a spiritual crisis, a rumination of evil versus good, the otherworldly colliding with the daily everydayness of life. Behm-Steinberg’s form is the true genius of the book because it allows the poems only so far to meander before they are roped in or just end, which is again a way of leaving it out. One hopes that Hugh Behm-Steinberg lives a long and productive life so that every decade we can eagerly look forward to a new installment of his Book of Days.

a gunless tea by Marco Giovenale

Dusie 2007

Loud there loud there Lou

This is a curious book that arrived enshrouded in mystery. I received a notice from the post office saying I had a package that required a signature. I had assumed it was my MFA degree so when I finally made it to there and was handed a little manila envelope from Italy I was completely bemused. As I footed it home, the sky losing last light and the tree leaves forming soft shadows I opened the envelope to find a letter and a Dusie Chapbook. Something got in the way, maybe it was dinner, maybe it was drinks, maybe it was a succession of days followed by the routine of work but somehow the chapbook got lost and forgotten and then found again months later in between a stack of New York Quarterlies, Barrow Streets, and some rejection notices. Ah, what a lovely surprise it was to find this chapbook again.

Sawako Nakayasu's chapbooks are focused on insects— mostly ants, Hugh Behm-Steinberg’s poems are written daily, and Almeder Logan’s an exploration of names so Marco Giovenale’s book fits this Dusie mold since it is a collection of cut-ups and google experiments from 2003 to 2007. As any reader/writer knows cut-ups and experiments always run the risk of feeling contrived or nonsense for nonsense sake so the real skill is in the organization. And how does Maestro Marco do?

Marco Giovenale’s poems succeed because they feel real and not pieced together. “ : not so sure: night came and went: twentieth day: / : the oil with the spider apple toasted the crescent dragonwagon :take a walk/ outside and see: they’ll verify: mango shave so intricately woven : with bloody/ nazi hybrids: small cookie:” This is from his poem Na├»ve Oven and “spider apple toasted the crescent dragonwagon” could almost pass for Joseph Cervelo. Although this collage is nonsensical its arranged in a way where it feels emotive, Giovenale clever enough to put in a directive “take a walk” orienting us to focus on an exterior, on a form of action.

This chapbook is packed with humor sometimes overt and other times perverse and political. The underlying politics: “nazi hybrids,” “countries joined in marriage,” “the bodies beneath the barbecue,” give the book an ominous weight, but they are tempered with laugh lines like, “love is the answer. while you’re waiting for the answer. sex.” It’s difficult to tell whether some of the poems go on for pages or if this collection contains a lot of untitled poems and that’s the risk a book like this runs. Since it’s cut-ups or experiments one has to work at orientating the speaker or even the poem, but I suspect that is exactly the ambition of Marco Giovenale. He wants to force us to read the words and not be completely preoccupied with beginnings and endings and to be fair, this book contains enough of what Donald Hall would call "mouth music" that after a few pages you’re simply enjoying the act of reading and imagining some of the more surreal word pairings. I found things like, “ drunk at lunch. cream scene. crowds of crows. pilot light, / lizard’s christmas jazz carols,” and “loud there loud there lou” to be irresistible and don’t we all want our words to be irresistible?

Right, this is why I don't post reviews on my blog, I can't figure out the spacing format so they look silly.

Oh well, maybe it will at least give you a taste. You can go to Dusie's site to check out both chapbooks.


DUSIE said...

just found my way here, cool! thanks Steve!

steven karl said...


sorry, i spaced emailing you these when i posted them. i'm going to try and do a lot more mini-reviews on my blog for '09.

hope you had a good new years!

differx said...

thanks, Steve! I also saw the Goodreads page.
all bests,