The Tapeworm Foundry: And or the Dangerous Prevalence of Imagination

Darren Wershler-Henry, Author House of Anansi Press $19.95 (34p) ISBN 978-0-88784-652-6
Any strand of this single-sentence, endlessly conjoined text--a DNA fiber mapping the new world disorder--propels the reader through a corridor of exquisite options and micro-narratives, like a string of Borges short stories compacted into the moment between breaths: ""...andor realize your imac is just a big tamagotchi andor design a transformer to use up wasted ergs of energy from excessive pressure on electric buzzers andor quit making art in order to play chinese checkers andor tattooo your poems on the back of someone else...."" Billed as a ""list of book proposals,"" Canadian poet Wershler-Henry's second collection, following Nicholodeon and five co-written nonfiction books about the Internet, is actually much more: a manifesto for significant ""andor"" excessive action in a world circumscribed by unvisionary politics, false notions of rationality and productivity. That last is here personified in the infinite hunger of a technologized economy for all the good bad--read: useless, fun, diabolic--ideas that the young, the disaffected and the inordinately talented can produce. If the work seems juvenile and ""easy,"" it may be because the author has sacrificed ""difficulty""--along with any other self-satisfied poetic doxa one might name--in order to reach out, to expand, to take prisoners and constructively amuse them. Wershler-Henry is the editor of Toronto's Coach House books (see Forecasts, June 5 for a review of Kenneth Goldsmith's Fidget), and citymate Anansi has recently published Margaret Atwood and Michael Ignatieff along with writers more of the avant-garde. This exquisitely produced little book (5"" 6"" with paper flaps) will ""make it funky andor hypnotize all your actors"" before one can ""inveigh against the laziness of railway tracks"" leading to more conventional work. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
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