You are currently browsing the daily archive for December 22, 2011.

Knud Rasmussen was half Danish/half Inuit, condensed his ten volume report on the Fifth Thule Expedition (1921 - 1924), a 20,000 mile dog sled trip from Greenland to Siberia into this one book---some of the best English translations of Inuit songs, prayers, spells, poems and stories come from Rasmussen's early first versions.

Across Arctic America by Knud Rasmussen, 1999 (1927), Anchorage: University of Alaska ($50)

A nocturnal dumpling of petroleum, embers and words that winks when you touch it---bear it forward, it yields a green light.

Ether by Ben Ehrenreich, 2011, San Francisco: City Lights Books ($14)

The Blood Penguin speaks, the reddish Shinto crow looms and corvids flock across his wild terrain in Will Alexander's latest greatest book.

Compression & Purity by Will Alexander, 2011, San Francisco: City Lights Books ($14)

Everybody's liking this book. A bus broke down on Sunset Blvd in Echo Park, and everybody had to get off and transfer to another bus that took twenty minutes to arrive. Everybody carried a copy of these poems from one bus to another, in their pockets and in their purses, in a way.

I Heart Your Fate by Anthony McCann, 2011, Seattle: Wave Books ($16)

Supposing we will never pay $150 for a huge book of large format photographs of the end of our automotive civilization, as depicted in these tremendous pictures of how it ends. Because I love photos but I never look twice at them. But somebody could.

The Ruins of Detroit by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, 2011, Gottingen: Steidl ($150)

Anuradha Mahapatra was born in the Medinipur district of West Bengal: a dry, upland, remote region, and one of the least developed in the state. She completed an M.A. in Bengali Literature from Calcutta University in 1981, the first woman in her family to obtain higher education. Her first book, Chaiphulstup (Ash Flower Heap) appeared in 1983; she's published five books of poetry. She is currently continuing her work as a community organizer among the slum dwellers and doing other free-lance writing and editorial jobs to support herself.

Another Spring, Darkness: Selected Poems of Anuradha Mahapatra by Anuradha Mahapatra, translated by Carolyne Wright, 1996, Corvallis: Calyx Books ($13)

Arch stories from MTA lines where demolished individuals vie with construction zones on the avenues and boulevards of Harry's Los Angeles.

Rider by Harry Gamboa, 2009, Los Angeles: CreateSpace ($12)

Harry Gamboa Jr., Gronk, Willie Herrón and Patssi Valdez overdue, with help from many. They probably passed through your town, gone by morning. This is the catalog of the exhibit---figures enacting strangely human gestures and scenarios in doorways and plazas of the city, documented for good.

Elite of the Obscure edited by Ondine Chavoya and Rita Gonzalez, 2011, Berlin: Hatje Cantz ($60)

G. Warren Shufelt, geophysicist mining engineer engaged in an attempt to wrest from the lost city deep in the earth below Fort Moore Hill (Los Angeles) the secrets of the Lizard People of legendary fame in the medicine lodges of the American Indian.

The Pocho Research Society’s Field Guide to L.A.: Monuments and Murals of Erased and Invisible Histories by Sandra de la Loza, 2011, Los Angeles: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press ($20)

The dialectic of spontaneity and organization and longing and courage and vision and bravery and passion and compassion and spirit.

The Letters of Rosa Luxemburg by Rosa Luxemburg, 2011, Brooklyn: Verso Books ($40)

Another $150 book of photographs (this one with a fine poem by C. D. Wright) with portraits of prisoners as if taken out of the poems of Frank Stanford. But they are in prison.

One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana by Deborah Luster, 2003, Santa Fe: Twin Palms Publishers ($150)

Both the picaresque wild stories unfolding in Rick Harsch’s novels and his brilliant prose roam far beyond the dark fields of our republic rolling on through the night, exiling Harsch’s expatriate eastern Europe and Indian novels from window displays of the local bookstore and vapid best-sellers lists of newspapers and Amazon. Harsch’s novels stand at the farthest outposts of outsider literature---his peerless descriptive prowess, the strange and unlikely tales in stranger and improbable locales (marked throughout by unmatched, even ferocious anti-sentimentalist realism) make us all the unluckier for their domestic unavailability. His highly lauded, half-crazy Midwestern Driftless trilogy may be out of print for some time. Till then, ophidiological means snake, and it doesn’t get twistier, loopier, more silent and cunning than Arjun and the Good Snake. It’s worth the hunt. The beaters are beating the tall grass, there’s smoke on the wind, but watch your step. It’s fast and lethal.

Arjun and the Good Snake by Rick Harsch, 2011, ($34) via Paypal at or ($10) ebook at

December 2011