New books by Mark Tursi and Lina Ramona Vitkauskas

by on Jan.05, 2013

Hi just wanted to link to a couple of fine books that I recently blurbed since I approach blurbs kind of like mini-reviews.

A Neon Tryst by Lina Ramona Vitkauskas (Shearsman Books)

“The ‘trysts’ of Lina Vitkauskas’s book are shot through with ‘neon’—that is, they are saturated with chemicals, textures, atmosphere, and media. According to this synthetic cosmology, ‘In an affair / arms laugh, / they become sheer.’ That is to say, they—arms, bodies, weapons, trysts—become both medium and adjective, both see-through and material. As in Antonioni’s great films, the body is clothes and the clothes are part of the visual atmosphere. A dress moves through a toxic landscape, or a ‘toxic love.’ The ‘trysts’ are movies, fantasies, art. Vitkauskas is ‘surreal, primitive, impressionist, whatever.'”

Brutal Synecdoche by Mark Tursi (Astrophil Press)

“‘I am here to hustle you,’ writes Mark Tursi in his terrific second book, BRUTAL SYNECDOCHE. In his meditations on culture, identity, religion, language (which one cannot avoid any more than one can avoid piss in a swimming pool, according to the first poem of the book), Tursi writes in a very casual tone, but the imagery is incredibly intensive. The result is a kind of ‘hustling’: the poems not only tug the reader along, but are already hustling themselves, already at conflict. As in most of these poems, there is an obscene humor at work as well in this line—the slang connotations of ‘hustling’ have to do with seduction and prostitution. But these unresolved conflicts, such as the prominent one between the sacred and profane, become the key to Tursi’s vision: ‘But hell, who cares, we’ll have a wild time later at the crematorium. Listening to the murmr and hust of dust to dust, ashes to ashes… Look there’s God’s grandeur…right underneath the lid of that coffin.’ Perhaps Tursi is a great religious poet after all. No pervert. No visionary.”—Johannes Göransson

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