Thursday, April 21, 2005

I promised, weeks ago, more on Heidi Lynn Staples' book "Guess Can Gallop"; and I have an awfully hard time putting it all together (my thoughts, that is, not the book, which would be hard to put together but I'd never try, since it doesn't want to be). So I'll just say one facet of one impression I haven't heard discussed elsewhere: the extent to which this book takes for its purpose an explicit feminist voicing. The way that the Wakean, punning, multivalenced neologisms make and remake meaning within themselves is deeply subversive on a theoretical level , sure, but I mean the explicit direction/drive of the concerns is explicitly anti-patriarchal and often angry in a way I've never seen done so intelligently, truly, and well. The content fits so well with the form they are inseperable, given the technique Heidi has taken as her own. I don't think such speaking-to-power would work for any speaking-to-power, but it works well for feminism's specific position. If you haven't read the book yet, well, I suggest it. I haven't read Anne Winter's, which is getting a fair bit of discussion recently (it sounds like it's as much a sideshow curiosity--not meant as an offense to the poet, but a description of why people are paying attention--as an aesthetic appreciation by those considering her book, whether in Slate or on blogs), but unlike that book, where form seems at an arch distance from content, Heidi really pulls off some magic here, makes the terms 'form' and 'content' redundant or, better to say, insufficient.

Sorry if this is blathering thought-run, just wanted to say something about it before I forgot totally. Not that this is all there is to the book, by a long shot, but it strikes me as an inseparable part of the magic.

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