Psst: Hocquard, Dickman, Eels, Neil Young, and more!
So, a few little things for Saturday:
1. Cole Swensen's La Presse has just published Jean-Jacques Poucel’s translation of Emmanuel Hocquard’s Conditions of Light. This is a moment to celebrate.
2. The Academy of American Poets has awarded Michael Dickman the James Laughlin Award. I don’t know if this is a moment to celebrate or not, as this is the first I’ve heard of this book. I can’t find anything about it coming out. My guess is that it’ll come out next spring. What’s interesting about this, is that the announcement calls the James Laughlin Award one that “gives $5,000 to the most outstanding second book by an American poet in the previous year.” That “in the previous year” bit should be clarified, because it makes one think that it’s for a book that’s already out, and it’s not. Well, it could be. The rules state that books under consideration have to be accepted for publication in the previous year, and by “previous year” they mean, in this case, April 09 to March 2010. Anyway, it made for a fun moment for the conspiracy theorist in us all, didn’t it? The award committee was composed of Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Major Jackson, and Michael Ryan. And there you have it.
3. Sufjan Stevens has a new EP out (All Delighted People) and there’s also a track circulating (“I Walked”) from his upcoming album (The Age of Adz). Celebrate if you want. I’m neutral on this one.
4. Eels have their third album out in a little over a year. This one is called Tomorrow Morning, and it’s excellent. I’m celebrating. It sounds a bit more like “classic” Eels than the last couple albums did. And it’s certainly the closest to hopeful they (really it’s just a he, called E) have ever sounded, while retaining all the cleverness and dark wit we’ve come to expect and love.
5. Neil Young. What can I say? I admire Neil Young even as I’m very critical of most of his recent albums. And it looks like I’m going to be critical of his new one (it comes out Sept 28) even as I celebrate his restlessness and creative energy. It’s a sonic endeavor, according to reports. He recorded it solo on acoustic guitar on some songs and solo electric guitar on others (and maybe solo organ on others?) and it was produced by Daniel Lanois. Apparently there are all sorts of sound loops and vocal and guitar effects circling through the songs. “Solo” doesn’t mean minimal. It sounds fascinating, but from tour bootlegs I’ve heard, where he premiered several of the songs from it (It’s going to be called Le Noise [get it? Lanois / Le Noise?]), much of the lyrics were along the lines of the sorts of false nostalgia and platitudes about “unconditional love” that have dragged much of his recent music down. There’s no such thing as “unconditional love,” by the way. All love has conditions. Anyway, my hope is that the sound is so amazing I can glaze over the lyric cringe moments.
6. AWP is in DC this coming February and Rae Armantrout will be reading. Cause to celebrate! And she’ll have a new book (Money Shot: another cause to celebrate!) making its premiere there. I can’t wait. AWP has put the full list of presenters and panels online. In case you haven't seen it, you can find it here:
7. New books from Timothy Donnelly (The Cloud Corporation: it’s excellent, but I’ve only read three or so pages in) and Gustaf Sobin (the MASSIVE and excellent Collected Poems, which I’ve gotten about halfway through) are sitting beside my computer right now, waiting for me to get back to them. It reminds me that for some reason all the new books I have to read are all from boys. As is all the music I’m interested in right now, apparently. I'm looking forward to the next wave.