TwERK (Belladonna*, April 2013)
by LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs
Review by Amanda M. Boyd
Before you even arrive at the first poem LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs’ new book, TwERK, you are brought from the Book of Genesis to words from the great Melvin B. Tolson and you know you are in for a poetic journey through history and experience. What you don’t know, unless you do know, is that it will be multilingual, musical, visual, involved. Or in the words of Maria Damon, in her blurb: “idio-lingual-lectical”, inimitable, mellifluous. Through reference to Kelis, found material, homage to an array of poets, artists and tongues Diggs pulls you into a body of work that is as meticulous and superbly intricate as the lace on the book’s cover.
Gigantic Magazine (Issue #4: Gigantic Everything)
Review by Amanda M. Boyd
I walked into Greenlight Book in Fort Greene, Brooklyn looking for something entirely different when I came across Gigantic Magazine’s 4th issue, Gigantic Everything. It was easy to overlook in a sea of loud and glossy journals on the shelf but with eco on the brain, I was drawn towards the pamphlet-sized magazine printed on newspaper-thin accordion-folded and glued-together paper held closed by a rubber band.
The issue includes a short story by Israeli writer Etgar Keret about God as a lonely midget who juggles tiny balls to make friends, an interview with Lydia Davis complete with an illustration of a smug cow, and a 5-page spread of visual art by an art collective called Boozefox. The magazine’s editors promise a cost effective, “alternative venue” of short prose and art they have tried hard to ensure is devoid of words and phrases like glimmer, shimmer, swaths and lapis lazuli.
A Book Beginning What and Ending Away (Fence, April 2013)
by Clark Coolidge
Review by Jesse Newman
Clark Coolidge’s anthemic A Book Beginning What and Ending Away reads like the memory of a dream in which you’re someone else. In what could be a sequel in spirit to his 1998 Book of Stirs, A Book Beginning What and Ending Away progresses as an epic song of colors and action, dutifully organized into hierarchical categories in which a taxonomy of life – symbols, furniture, plants, machines- cascade and clamor with a constant sense of motion. This is verse meant to be read out loud (Coolidge does so in durational performances), where the ‘point perspective lyric’ melody of objects in your mouth may effect an exploration of verbal space that seems both personal in its music, and alien, like a ‘glimpse’ of a stranger’s memory.