Apr 29, 2015
Snapshots is back with our miniature reviews. This week we look at three books that deconstruct poetry, speech, and language as a whole.
New Star Books
Loitersack, with its blue-green cover and inner sea of ideas, is like jumping into a pond of poetic intrigue. The book is packed full of quotations, analyses, and deconstructions of and about poetry, and yet it never gets old. As Jonathan Ball puts it in his review for the Winnipeg Free Press, Loitersack "uses poetry to forge poetic theory" and the effect is just as perplexing and just as thrilling as sitting down with the work of a well-loved scholar. The best part of Loitersack is that Donato Mancini makes it fun. The book is simultaneously a theatrical play, a grocery list, a deconstruction of laughter (you have to read it to understand), and uniquely poetic. At times it is almost nonsensical, but charming all the same. For Mancini, "Writing is not language. Writing came first."
A More Perfect [
In A More Perfect [ Jimmy McInnes deconstructs President Barack Obama's speech from March 18, 2008 and lays bare its grammatical base. McInnes not only strips the source text of its manipulation of language and specific phrasing, but also emphasizes those techniques in order to make their intent apparent. A More Perfect [ changes the way we look at politics, from cynical, to both cynical and wary. Despite breaking down motivation to its barest form, its syntax, McInnes actually makes the power of language all the more apparent. While the book is hard to read, in a standard sense, it also demands to be read. If you are looking for an even more convincing recommendation of A More Perfect [, we suggest checking out the National Post's review. Meanwhile, we encourage McInnes to take this time to "[Pause for applause]"
kevin mcpherson eckhoff
Their Biography by kevin mcpherson eckhoff not only deconstructs language, but deconstructs kevin himself. Like Mancini, eckhoff emphasizes the importance of poetry as communicative and communal, in his case through his use of collaboration. Their Biography is a collage of kevins as described by friends, family, co-workers, strangers, robots, and even adversaries. The result is not simply a construction of kevin mcpherson eckhoff, but of the bonds that tie people together (see the cover.) Kevin deconstructs authorship and the effects it has on the meaning and resonance of language. Like McInnes, eckhoff makes us aware of the constructedness of poetry books while, like Mancini, he has fun: "The author is grateful. The author is extremely grateful. The author wrote the novel 'from an affectionate point of view.' The author is alive, this book is a failure."