Fish's review Oct 13, 09
Finally got a copy of this in Japan. Read it almost immediately! Here's part of what I wrote in my journal immediately afterwards:
Still processing but:
A. It is full of truth moment coins, singular phrasal objects-- the units, it would seem, of his poems. At times these beauties are rough and bring the larger object out of focus-- its jarring at times, but that, at least in [Block 7A:], the fact that there is such consistent play (and to whatever degree this "play" is controlled) may be a clue to help understand Marcus' project at least in a rudimentary, structural way... I lost myself just then thinking about mortgage brokers in the early 2000s drinking expensive liquor with b-list celebrities.
B. Lets see-- other than the presence of these truth coins that Marcus Block 7A is full of, there is def. some prankishness-- a quality, a sense of humor that attracted me to Marcus' writing initially when I met him in Spring & Summer 2004 or 2005 I guess it was. It's not just a clever-ness, but its still very boyish at times-- playful-- there's that word, 'play' again. Some of his truth beauty coin moments are mixed/ spring from a sort of teenage giggle-snort kind of entertainment value-- "clubbing a fish in the bathtub" or "cum" or splattering bird poo. It's distinctly silly at times and charming.
C. I want to say something about the connection to place. The section title page locates the poems in a town in Poland. And each iteration of Block 7A seems to further flesh out some otherwise stale, numerical place that could just as easily be a prison cell block as anywhere. That each successive Block 7A is labeled as such gives the sense of a recycling motion, an elastic piston-turn back and back and back to BLOCK 7A. If these are successive visits are they attempts towards some goal? Are they a full realization of BLOCK 7A, or are we supposed to read an elipsis at the end fo the section? As the next section moves to a new location (or at least a new name-- the Hotel Diament-- perhaps alluded to in BLOCK 7A as the "Diamond Hotel" or something-- it seems unlikely that what felt like continuous returns to BLOCK 7A would be resolved or actually continued in any clear or meaningful way.
D. Joe Donahue in a blurb says that (and I'm paraphrasing here) uses Poland to access a poetics. I believe that Joe knows what he's talking about. But I'm not sure this poetics is fully activated until the final section of GODZENIE. I want to read through section one again with an eye out for some certain clues dropped in section three regarding the connection between WHERE these poems are and HOW these poems are. HOW does Marcus extract a poetics from a study of some place? How? And how can I-- how will I? A compelling read and re-read!