Thursday, April 02, 2009

Lara Glenum's Revolting Body

Juliet Cook has a very thoughtful review of Maximum Gaga up on "Gently Read Literature" (a name that seems somewhat at odds with the gist of this review/book):

"I very much enjoyed Glenum’s first poetry collection, ‘The Hounds of No’, which was also inhabited by a creepy plethora of hybrid creatures including assemblages of arachnid and manikin. Due to the multiple appearances of spider legs and manikin limbs juxtaposed with the blood and eggs and ovaries, that collection had more of an insectile and even fiberglass-like feel for me. The creatures of MAXIMUM GAGA strike me as more like steaming, sexual meat. It is almost impossible to read this collection without thinking about orifices. Orifices as both sexual holes and open body cavities, ready to be penetrated or excavated or to violently expel their own contents in unpredictable ways. ‘The Hounds of No’ was oddly visceral in its own right, but MAXIMUM GAGA is downright sodden with viscera, saturated with viscera, oversaturated with viscera..."

I'll talk more about the issues this review raises later today or tomorrow.


Blogger Rauan Klassnik said...

I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts about this review.

It's pretty positive overall. But it's quite critical of gimmicks and occasional sloppiness:

"looser, sloppier and slapdashier"

Juliet Cook is, it seems, a fan of excess. But she wants the excess to be orderly, organized, "splayed out for a reason."

Anyways, again, I'm looking forward to seeing more from you on this,...

2:22 PM  
Blogger Stanley Bishop Burhans said...

I was amazed by how many paragraphs of that review went by before the first quotation. . . It felt like some unspoken rule of book reviews was being obliviously violated.

9:45 PM  
Blogger Johannes said...

Stan, I think she was probably conscious of that because the overall rhetoric of the piece is very un-review-like in that she doesn't want to assume an authoratative position (can't find the Naked Lunch etc).

5:06 AM  
Blogger Juliet Blood Pudding said...

I'm not very academic. The 'unspoken rule of book reviews' is probably more closely aligned with academe than I am. If I felt the need to abide by unspoken rules, then I'd probably be too stymied to ever write any book reviews. I'm capable of thinking critically and forming my own opinions about poetry--and I certainly feel that my thoughts and opinions are valid, but I also feel they are very subjective and not entirely comprehensive, which is why it may seem I am not presenting them from a particularly authoritative stance. It's because I can only speak for myself. I'm interested in hearing other people's thoughts about the review, too. I loved the book and hope my review did not make it seem otherwise.

11:04 AM  
Blogger Juliet Blood Pudding said...

P.S. I AM a fan of excess, but not a fan of Dadaism.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Johannes said...


I think it was a very good review, and presented a very good picture of you thinking through various issues. Maybe "academic" is a better word for "authoratative." I just haven't had time to present a reasonable response, but I do think you raise a number of important and interesting issues and that's why I wanted to take some time to actually respond.


11:54 AM  
Blogger Kate Durbin said...


I thought the review was very good as well--and I enjoyed the non-academic tone in particular.

3:02 PM  

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