Saturday, October 10, 2009

Buying Spree

Buying Spree Pt. 1

I’ve gotten a little pile of money for books and things, so I’m on a buying spree. Some are books I’ve wanted for a while. Some are replacements of books I’ve lost over time. Some I’m just curious about (that have been suggested by various people in Denver, Ft. Collins, and Chicago [and facebook, etc.]). Below is a list of what I’ve gotten so far. Another very large batch is on its way.

It’s great to just read. That said, I have another $500 left that needs to be spent by January first. I’m looking for book suggestions. What books of poetry (or books related to poetry or editing) have you loved, that you think I should own?

John Koethe. Ninety-fifth Street
Dara Wier. Selected Poems
Aase Berg. Remainland: selected poems (trans. Johannes Göransson)
Aase Breg. With Deer (trans. Johannes Göransson)
Cal Bedient. Days of Unwilling
Graham Foust. Leave the Room to Itself
Norma Cole. Selected Poems 1988-2008
Russell Edson. See Jack
Jay Wright. The Presentable Art
Jay Wright. Polynomials
Karen Garthe. Frayed Escort
Will Alexander. The Sri Lankan Loxodrome
Jake Adam York. A Murmuration of Starlings (this is to replace the one I bought last year that never made it home with me for some reason)
Amy Catanzano. Multiversal
Eleni Sikelianos. Body Clock
Bill Berkson. Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems
Michael Robins. The Next Settlement

G.C. Waldrep. ONE WAY NO EXIT (TS Press, 2008)
Adam Clay. In a World of Ideas, I Feel No Particular Loyalty (Cinematheque Press, 2009)
Saltgrass Issue 4

(FYI reading update: A couple of the books I’ve read so far, I really don’t care for, while a couple others I’ve rather adored. One I will go on record as being very disappointed in: See Jack. One I’ll go on record as really enjoying: Ninety-fifth Street.)


At 10/10/2009 7:47 AM, Blogger Brennen Wysong said...

Have you seen the University of California Press sale? Lots of great stuff there, and I believe it runs through October. You'll need a code to get the items on sale, but I think it's on the press' blog.

Also, I'm wishing I'd simply gotten a subscription to Octopus Books, since I end up buying each title as it comes out.

At 10/10/2009 8:07 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

That code would be: 10M9352

I wish I'd seen that earlier! I just bought a couple U of Cali books last week...


And I see from Zach's blog that Heather Christle's book is out now. I'll check it out.

At 10/10/2009 9:32 AM, Blogger Matthew Thorburn said...

John, I was just about to say that you should skip See Jack. I reviewed it for the next issue of Pleiades and was disappointed. The Rooster's Wife was much better.

At 10/10/2009 9:42 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Darn, as they say. I didn't get a copy of The Rooster's Wife, and then I saw the new one . . . I was shocked by how, well, dumb it was. And not even in the Dumb & Dumber kind of way. Just seriously stupid. He used to write really interesting things. I was always suggesting him to people. But this wasn't even at the level of "declining abilities." This was a seriously bad book. I can't believe they found some people to write on the back jacket.

I should know by now to consult you on these things . . .


At 10/10/2009 1:43 PM, Blogger Biombo said...

Hi John,
Here are my recommendations, mainly Latin American/Latino writers, in case you haven't discovered the Latino side in you, everyone needs a little Latin American poetry in their life! ha!
1) The Captian's Verses by Pablo Neruda
2) Loose Woman by Sandra Cisneros
3) Cosmic Canticle by Ernesto Cardenal
4) My Kill Adore Him by Paul Martinez Pompa
5) Pink Elephant by Rachel McKibbens

Enjoy your shopping spree!

At 10/10/2009 1:49 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

Just when I started on my Swedish kick, this comes in . . . Well, I have your number 1 (and some S.Cisneros fiction). That's a start!

At 10/10/2009 2:45 PM, Blogger David Dodd Lee said...

What was it about See Jack
that made it not work for you?
I mean, how so much dumber
than his older stuff, or what
specifically went south? I taught that selected Edson--the
tunnel--a year or two ago, used
Sarah Manguso's essay (it's
online somewhere) with it . . .
Surprising stuff--not that big a fan before that, grew to kind of
dig him . . . but pass on See Jack
then? Matthew seems to agree(I have less to spend I think on books I think so it helps!)

At 10/10/2009 2:47 PM, Blogger David Dodd Lee said...

Remainland is fantastic--I think
I prefer it over the totality
of With Deer actually . . .

At 10/10/2009 4:02 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


About the Edson, well, it's like he thinks he's being funny or something, and saying things like this poem below (this is the whole poem). I mean seriously, I'll never get the 20 seconds back that it took me to read it. And the 30 seconds or so that I just used to type it out, and then the two minutes to think about it and find it and write this introduction to it.

The Conversation

There was a woman whose face was a cow's milk bag, a pink pouch with four dugs pointing out of it . . .

A man with a little three-legged milking stool comes. She stoops and he begins to milk her face . . .

At 10/10/2009 4:06 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

And then the Berg! I'm working my way up to it. I picked it up and it was pretty full-on. You know?

I'm reading some essays by Rosmarie Waldrop right now. I think after that, and then maybe some push-ups, I'll be ready.

Wish me luck!

At 10/10/2009 6:05 PM, Blogger Philip Metres said...

how does one have $500 just lying about for books?! we could use that for a water heater!

At 10/10/2009 6:13 PM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I should have mentioned that, especially as we have the plaster falling off our livingroom wall, and we need to replace two outside doors, and a wall of our garage . . . but the money's from the university I work at, for research.

At 10/10/2009 9:56 PM, Blogger Ross Brighton said...

Remainland Kills.
I'd quite like Johannes' translations of Johan Johnson (sp?) - from what I hear that's brilliant as well. If you haven't already read Sandy Florian's Tree of No, get it - one of the best things I've read in years.

At 10/11/2009 9:05 AM, Blogger Matthew Thorburn said...

John, I love that research = buying poetry books! That is excellent.

I agree with David -- If you don't have The Tunnel, that's well worth picking up.

Max Jacob's prose poems (published by Oberlin/Field) are also great if you don't have them already.

At 10/11/2009 9:14 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I've both of those for years. Keep thinking, though, as I'm trying to fill holes in not just new things, but old things that I've missed or lost. So far, my favortie from that is finally getting Kenneth Fearing's Selected Poems. I'm really looking forward to it.

And well, it does make sense in a way that books of poetry = research. I'm on a fact-finding mission, and what better facts than books of poetry?

On the other hand, we're facing STEEP cuts here in Missouri. This might be my last chance to do anythign like this for a long time. I was toying with the idea of tryign to get a couple subscriptions to some presses, to try and extend it a little longer.

At 10/11/2009 10:00 AM, Blogger Oliver de la Paz said...

Hmmm . . . and I used my "research" money to pay a mortgage.

I like your approach better.

Thanks for the warning about See Jack. I was about to spend my cash on it, but now that I've seen your comments, I think I'll buy something else.

At 10/11/2009 10:42 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


I have to write up a final report, so I couldn't use the money for anythign personal. It was hard to look at $3,000, knowing all the things we have to work on at the house, and then turn around and buy plane tickets and books, but I'm getting over it.

Not sure if Robin is, however.

At 10/12/2009 7:06 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

I prefer With Deer, myself, tho Remainland is good to have.

Do they have to be new books?

Cambridge just reprinted al-Mutanabbi.

If you're shopping Salt, Aaron Fagan's Garage is quite nice.

Still recommending most of the Aerial/Edge list -- especially Davies, Sand, Berrigan, Bumstead and Davis (not me!).

Jenny Browne's books, especially the first one.

I'm assuming you already have Alison Stine's book.

If you're digging around in the Hanging Loose lists, Gary Lenhart, Maggie Nelson and Joanna Fuhrman are often very good. (Sherman Alexie's not bad either!)

At 10/12/2009 7:48 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...


I don't have any of Anselm Berrigan's books, and I was hoping to get one (to start with). Which would you suggest?

I went kind of crazy and got a couple books by several people, and now I'm starting to run out of money. I need to be more selective.

At 10/12/2009 8:01 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

They Beat Me Over the Head with a Sack is tremendous, but you'd be ok starting with the first full-length collection, Integrity and Dramatic Life. Some Notes and Zero Star are terrific too. If you don't foresee becoming a collector, I have the impression the new one from City Lights is sort of an early selected.

Seriously, though -- you need the Davies, too. And the Bumstead, and the Sand, and they're all pretty good.

At 10/12/2009 8:06 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I put them on my list. For the ones with more than one book, I'm going with whichever has the snappiest cover art.

The City Lights Berrigan was the one on my list. I'll just go with that one for now then.

That should keep me busy awhile. I hope.

The Alison Stine was already on the list, but I haven't ordered it yet. I'm trying to pace myself.

Right now, I'm reading Lars Gustafsson. It's an interesting mix of tendencies, not all of them working well. But the mix is fascinating.

At 10/12/2009 1:02 PM, Blogger Ross Brighton said...

Might I also reccomend anything by Tan Lin, and Myng Mi Kim? I here Kim's new one is great - I haven't got it yet, but the fave of the ones I do have is the Bounty. She's amazing. And if you don't have it already, Steve McCaffery's Seven Pages Missing is a must have.
Karen Mac Cormack's Marine Snow and Quirks and Quillets are both amazing as well.

At 10/13/2009 6:51 AM, Blogger Jordan said...

Ross's comment reminds me to recommend recent Canadian titles by Sina Queyras, Meredith Quartermain, Karen Solie and Patrick Warner.

At 10/13/2009 7:07 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

I'm starting to feel a sense of panic rising, at all of the books I haven't read.

At 10/13/2009 5:48 PM, Blogger Ross Brighton said...

I know the feeling. I've been meaning to check out Sina's stuff too - this may be the kick up the ass I need.

[autchi - scots slang for boo-boo]

At 10/20/2009 1:04 PM, Blogger Kathleen Ossip said...

Jennifer Moxley, Clampdown (Flood Editions). Run don't walk...


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