Retrievals

Garrett Caples. (Consortium, dist.), $22 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-933517-98-8
In this essay collection, Caples (Quintessence of the Minor) embarks on an important and worthy mission: to “retrieve” “writers, artists, [and] concepts that... [have] either fallen off the cultural map or never fully made it on there in the first place.” Chosen subjects include poet Philip Lamantia (a contemporary of Allen Ginsburg and Kenneth Rexroth), artist Gordon Onslow Ford (whose surrealist paintings may have inspired Jackson Pollack), and critic Arthur Jerome Eddy (director of MoMA and possible CIA collaborator during the Cold War). While his aim is commendable, the book makes for only sometimes engrossing reading, though the narrative selections (stories about drug trips, the illustration of the Rider-Waite tarot deck, and the exotic adventures of writer Victor Segalen) stand out. The last essay, “Theory of Retrieval,” tells how Caples became interested in retrieving. “Retrieval has been a lifelong orientation,” Caples writes. With this collection he’s certainly achieved his goal of being “an activist critic”—one who seeks out lesser-known artists and writers, rehabilitates reputations, and brings new works to light. Illus. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 280 pages - 978-1-933517-99-5
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