Jonathan Stalling Reviews Jacob Edmond’s A Common Strangeness

200MCLC has published Jonathan Stalling’s review of Jacob Edmond’s A Common Strangeness: Contemporary Poetry, Cross-Cultural Encounter, Comparative Literature. Here’s how it begins:

To begin with, Jacob Edmond’s new book, A Common Strangeness, is anything but common and signals what I hope will be a new trend toward more ambitious studies of late-modernist to contemporary poetics on a global scale. While it might be premature to announce the arrival of a “global poetics,” there is a pressing need for a space to explore this genre specific cognate of World Literature, a space to reimagine what in China operates under the title: comparative poetics (比较诗学). This is a robust area of academic research in China, yet it tends to reduce poetry and poetics to the pre WWII traditional canon: Plato, Aristotle, and Longinus; Sidney, Pope, and Johnson; Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Emerson; Poe, Arnold, and Eliot; and perhaps Frost, Williams, Hughes, and, because it is China, Pound. In English literary criticism today, however, the term “poetics” often demarks poetry discourses consciously connected to avant-garde practice along the vectors of a more radical canon: Blake, Whitman, Stein, Pound, Zukofsky, Olson, Mac Low/John Cage to Susan Howe, Lyn Hejinian and others associated with the so-called LANGUAGE poets from the 1970s forward through neo-conceptual poetry, etc … One should also mention that scholars tracking trends in contemporary poetics in the West have remained problematically Anglophonocentric and have largely failed to attend to poetic shifts on a global scale unless such shifts are explicitly conversant in the idioms of innovative English-based poetics (including those within the Sinophone sphere). So while no single volume could ever hope to connect the multitudinous and heterogeneous threads of a “global poetics,” A Common Strangeness succeeds in moving in this direction in part by offering a critical lens (strangeness) through which to view poetry on a global scale.

Click the image above for the full review.

Susan Howe on Chris Marker


Forthcoming from the Poetry Pamphlets series by New Directions, American poet Susan Howe on Chris Marker, French filmmaker whose La Jetée was remade by Terry Gilliam as 12 Monkeys:

The French documentary filmmaker, photographer, and traveler, Chris Marker, was a poet first. Marker’s twenty eight minute ‘La Jetée’, written and photographed during the early 1960s, imagines a third world war. A man, marked by an image from his childhood, travels through some intertranslational fragmented mirror memory to the original line of fracture no translation will pacify. Many pilots, men and women, survived, though they didn’t survive, collective military service during World War II. ‘La Jetée’ (1962) and ‘Sans Soleil’ (1982) are haunted by indwelling flames of spirit. In the beginning of each Marker film jet planes escape the eye of the camera. One is overhead roaring murder. We see the other being concealed under the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. ‘La Jetée’ is called a ciné-roman; ‘Sans Soleil’ a documentary.