Touch%C3%A9

Rod Smith. Wave (Consortium, dist.), $18 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-940696-08-9
Smith (Deed), an editor, publisher, and bookseller with three decades' worth of textual experiments to his name, sets new poetic challenges with these flirty, agile, and occasionally sarcastic poems. Sometimes he makes fun of the digital age: "Loops of the small bowel/ fight spam on the Internet." Sometimes he opens up a pair of words to find hidden import: "Between tortoise and torture you'll/ find and analyze a repetition fetish/ & accidental death." Coherence is something his "wholemeal halfwits in the bunker silo's/ frontal sinus palate polojama" have to seek, and not always something they find. Instead, alert or adrift in their linguistic games, Smith's pages imitate a kind of anarchy, delighting in chaos and inviting us in: his "house/ has a learning & the house/ has a viewfinder—the best/ thing in the house though/ is an anklet," he muses. His jazzy absurdities talk back to the Flarf poets and the earlier L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E writers, but their freewheeling aims bring them at least as close to earlier kinds of aural experiment. Smith's all-over-the-place phrases and apparent stochastic effects will repel some readers, but others will certainly feel at home, saying—along with the poet—"we are the unlikely beings/ & our secret/ is not to// talk about any one thing." (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
Hardcover - 112 pages - 978-1-940696-07-2
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