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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Aram Saroyan: Complete Minimal Poems

My relationship to poetry is best described as one-half giggling schoolboy and one-half philistine. The only poem I'm even remotely fond of is E.E Cummings' Buffalo Bill's, and that's because Harry Crews has part of it--"how do you like your blueeyed boy mr death?"--tattooed on his arm.


So no one is more surprised than I am that I want to know more about Aram Saroyan, practitioner of concrete poetry and thorn in the side of Jesse Helms, who got all over the National Endowment for the Arts when they gave Saroyan a cash award for his one word poem, "lighght." That last detail is from the really wonderful Richard Hell-penned article in the NYTimes about this book, published by Ugly Duckling Presse, whose mission statement should make all readers want to get out their wallets. I've asked Ugly Duckling if they would share any details about the production of this, of which
Hell writes: "This beautifully designed collection contains a poetry that shivers with itself, like something just born. Anyone interested in art made from words should have it." So stay tuned.
Buy this book from Amazon.com

8 comments:

hobart said...

I read this review as well and it totally made me want to order the book, despite also being not much of a poetry reader. Having seen and admired Ugly Duckling books before, I was that much more curious about it. So, ordered.

Mitch said...

Vaguely relevant: His dad was the great playwright William Saroyan.

Anonymous said...

Nice and appropriate entry on Hell's review, but you do him a disservice with that misleading and inadequate Britannica link to identify him. He has a website at http://www.richardhell.com or you could read the decent Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Hell

Joseph said...

Anon: agreed about the Britannnica links. I figured I would try them for a bit and see how it worked out, but I sense I'll go back to Wikipedia, etc. It's a shame, really; I was at EB from 90 to 98, and saw first-hand how they blew it. I did get to write the Pere Ubu article, though :-)

Cocobarks said...

Nice work. Amazon is currently out of stock. Saroyan and UDP should be well pleased.

Tiago Pavan said...

This theme reminds me of a great book/cover of a brazilian concrete poetry from Atelie Editorial: http://atelie.com.br/loja/pagina.php?pag=detl&cdp=753&categ=ct1&pags=1&page=prod&cl=

Anonymous said...

Hi, and thanks for your blog post and comments. Just wanted to let people know that if Amazon is out of stock, you can order the book directly from UDP -- free shipping. Thanks! UDP

ian shimkovaik said...

My only complaint is that the cover could have been more interesting if it just used on of the poems. Concrete poetry can be so interesting and here we have the most basic—non-poetic cover ever. either way, it is simple and elegant and apparently selling... A job well done.