Thursday, September 23, 2004

 
Halfway done with Tony Tost’s Invisible Bride. An act of pure romanticism, I love it. Not as advertised however (I expected some seriously nonlinear and sound-based action (not that sound isn't a base here)), unless such minor (though important to the work for the work’s sake, still poetry is as reputed a carefully conservative art) alterations in technique make for the definition of schools. His intelligence functions as a mild restraint on his affect, what is felt is perceived first—well, expressed so and believably, which allows the narrative to stray on a surface level without betraying affective continuity. And it always comes together within a page, satisfying and intelligent. And almost always beautiful. Self felt; the collection’s mild restraint is Bloom’s mild restraint in episode 4 of Ulysses. I have “12 Self-Portraits” in front of me, it may be the foreground of my description, btw.

Like I said, I expected this book to be, well, difficult, maybe unforgiving. Why? Impression, and a sense of danger associated with ag/pa claims. The kind of talk which actually makes up much less of the dialogue I’ve encountered in the past two months than you would think from how much the bogeyman of rigid definitionalism is talked about is kind of like a fourteen-year-old’s leather jacket (the stances, not the poetry). It really does seem to me that we are all trying to write with the same basic stuff. And I think like in junior high, a lot of people get scared about being vulnerable and deal with it in their own way—retreat, make friends, learn lines, become a know-it-all, bully, etc.

This perception makes me happy. As does, btw, Mr. Tost’s book, and not for any reason it wouldn’t have been ten years ago, before my vocabulary ‘expanded’.

Well, at least not yet. Maybe when I get to know it better I’ll see that my above-trumpeted comfort is bedded upon not looking for the reality of variation. Kind of a “Oh, we like both kinds, country and western!” moment, I mean. Predetermined ears.

Comments:
Stuart,

I hope Tony's reading this :). I liked the book an awful lot. I posted a review of it at newpages about two or three months ago? (can't remember). I think I compared it to my favorite films---it's worth re-reading because it's beautiful & more than concept---but concept-happy folks will prob'ly find plenty to work with.

How's that for a blurb?

Cheers,

Laura
 
I hope so to, Laura, though also not. Authors (an you call a poet an author?) don't always like when readers read their work other than what they think is intended. Not that I think I am, but . . .

Besides, it feels odd to write about the book of someone who you know, in a sense, from reading their blog, and yet don't.
 
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