Saturday, November 11, 2006

Jim Behrle

Jimmy has written a great book of poems called "She's My Best Friend."

I say "book," but that sounds wrong. Perhaps it's more like souvenirs from this megalomaniacal persona's adventures in mass culture (including poetry - Fasicle, Legitimate Dangers and Jane Dark all make guest appearances).

It's a cliche to talk about how in collage there is a tension between the original context of the collaged materials and the art piece. But I think Jimmy uses that tension incredibly well. It's not so much a tension between an orginal context and a poem as between a total commodity culture and a persona adrift in that culture - the persona is to such a large extent created by this culture (the sexual bragging, the stalking, the masturbating) but the persona still has enough autonomy to muck things up.

One could drag Adorno ("negative knowledge" etc) into this, but that feels wrong. What Jimmy does to mass culture is closer to what Patti Smith does to "the watuzi."

There certainly is critique involved, but it never feels "contemplative" or Eliotic, as so many contemporary poetic takes on mass culture. Poetry is just as ridiculous as Paris Hilton.

The cover is interestingly and fittingly crass: a photograph woman with a prominent behind surrounded by all kinds of phallic spikes. It's like "the gaze" x seven-hundred-forty-five.


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