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A Knot Is Not a Tangle
     

A Knot Is Not a Tangle

by Benjamin Friedlander
 

Poetry. "Did someone say 'The Runes of Western Civilization'? All the great heresies are here: poignant rhymes, literate feints and graceless parries, the bogus and the beautiful, elliptical, epochal and incidental, and even a poem—held to a refrigerator by a Goofy magnet—by Carla. The filibuster of philosophical flourishes edited by Kimberly

Overview


Poetry. "Did someone say 'The Runes of Western Civilization'? All the great heresies are here: poignant rhymes, literate feints and graceless parries, the bogus and the beautiful, elliptical, epochal and incidental, and even a poem—held to a refrigerator by a Goofy magnet—by Carla. The filibuster of philosophical flourishes edited by Kimberly Filbee's philiate (filial) appendex is not to be missed, as this punk spymaster sings the collective nose-ring off our wilting, unwitnessing unconscience."—Brian Kim Stefans

"Diving into the viscera, Ben Friedlander arrives at a poetry fierce with pleasure and dis-ease. A KNOT IS NOT A TANGLE offers a splendid trip through the lurid truths of the world, tied together by a lyric entirely haunted, stark, and clear."—Lisa Jarnot

"Ben has always and variously pusued that point at which his language lifts off from rational sense and allows us to glimpse something else, between the lines, projective. His lyric poems work that line that connects despair to comedy, that tenuous human line. Their mixture of technical human inventiveness and rueful or exuberant recklessness is compelling, going where language leads rather than where it's led, giving up control in order to change, to move, to get somewhere, to travel."—David Levi Strauss

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"How much is that/ Garfield in the window?" asks Friedlander in "The Ugly American," a stubborn anti-lyric poised sublimely between cheap-shot and grotesque. Although this fourth full-length collection is as easy to follow as the rants of Dennis Miller, it leads to darker places more likely to be explored by German playwright Heiner M ller (The Hamlet Machine). Long acknowledged as the chief contrarian in his generation of avant-garde poets, Friedlander engages in implosive, deliberately ugly satire on the late century's morals: Bud Light spokesdog Spuds McKenzie is a "Pit bull/ in a halter top/ sniveling/ a beer"; the case of Susan Smith is part of a simile ("Like a minivan/ rolled into a lake/ your eyes..."). Friedlander took Melanie Klein's description of the oral sadistic phase of development (a stage characterized by the ego's inability to identify with its objects) as the epigraph to a previous collection, but the hostility and scatology are here under tight control, compulsively readable even when invoking the unspeakable: "The soldier has a head/ to stub/ as a hobo would/ a butt, lovingly." Like many a satirist before him, Friedlander subscribes to a utilitarian view of literature and claims for himself an expressly purgative role. "To write a poem that expressed regret/ for poems that no one could ever get// lets neither poet nor poem off the hook," he writes in "Ode to Communication." Complementing others whose work "is all heart," Friedlander sets forth a poetics that is "mostly kidney,/ purifying the blood,/ producing piss." Their function complete, these poems offer real relief. (July) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781928650065
Publisher:
Krupskaya
Publication date:
07/01/2000
Pages:
122

Meet the Author


Benjamin Friedlander is a poet, editor, and scholar. His books of poetry include ONE HUNDRED ETUDES (Edge Books, 2012), Citizen Cain (Salt Publishing, 2011) and THE MISSING OCCASION OF SAYING YES (Subpress, 2007). He is also the author of Simulcast: Four Experiments in Criticism (University Alabama Press, 2004) and the editor, most recently, of Robert Creeley's Selected Poems, 1945-2005 (University of California Press, 2008). Since 1999, he has taught American literature and poetics at the University of Maine.

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