Tag Archives: TYPO

Indie Lit Classic: Tony Tost

27 Nov

attachmentComposing correspondence on my typewriter has been one of my favorite activities during the past 15 months or so. The nature of my letters takes various forms, depending on whom I’m corresponding with, what state of mind I’m in, and the content of my latest obsessions, etc. To this end, epistolary poems, such as those that Jack Spicer wrote, have been at the forefront of my poetic imagination lately.

That’s why, this morning, I was pleased to stumble upon Tony Tost’s “Disarm the Settlers” in issue 2 of Typo (which went live, originally, sometime in late-2003 or early-2004; they’re not good on dating issues over there). Tost’s contribution to the issue is a series of letters addressed to “Typo” (a.k.a Adam Clay and Matthew Henriksen) that contain passages which are alternately intellectual, humorous, and provocative (at least in that poetry-world kind of way).

Some of my favorites excerpts from “Disarm” are:

And then there’s the experimental/post-avant domestic state, and I’m rather afraid to say anything about it because someone will quote a French guy on their blog and make me look stupid.

there’s people out there, or in here, writing very necessary, Tostian stuff

Sometimes I am that imaginary neophyte

Sometimes I just write poems. But our moms and dads aren’t rich enough for us to think “career” is a dirty word.

at first I thought it was extreme jealousy that caused William Carlos Williams to claim (more or less) that The Waste Land was (more or less) a disaster for American poetry. But now I think WCW was right, not because of anything inherently wrong with the poem itself, which I still think is stunning, but because in the wake of Eliot’s influence the New Critics came to power, and soon poetry entered academia with gusto, and soon we would have creative writing programs, which meant we were going to have a power vacuum that someone was going to fill. And soon we had New Critics directly dictating to students not only how to read, but how to write poetry, and the workshop was created to produce more poems the New Critics could wield mastery and authority over. And this was a disaster for how American poetry was read

Check out “Disarm the Settlers” and the entirety of issue 2 of Typo, which boasts poems by the likes of Graham Foust, Alex Lemon, Ben Lerner, Franz Wright, etc, here. Tost is the author of Invisible Bride, Complex Sleep, and Johnny Cash’s American Recoridngs.

“And what would one day without peril be like?”–Graham Foust in Typo 17

29 Dec

I’m tired of poems that make sense, or even try to make sense. I want poems that try, period. Try to make their own reality. Try to be the language form of an unexpected hug. Try to find a better pair of glasses through which to read the newspaper upside-down on the porch.

And that’s exactly what Graham Foust’s poems do in Typo 17. They shuck the meaning for the search. They dive into the junk pile of life to see what they can bring up in each hand and clank together. Most importantly, they are poems that allow both poet and reader to move around and feel to the highest degree, no weird wall of yes/no to shadow them.

from “Aggressively Minor”

If on some days I have the worst taste in light
(and if on those days life still seems possible)
on others living lacks a definition,
and what are you going to do about it,
italics mine because they make it sound right,
poetry being an oral art and all.
There’s always the sad fiction of not wanting
whatever it is one needs, but let’s just say
that that’s what’s called “the present”—is that okay?

This whole issue is awesome. After you read Foust’s goodness, then definitely check out the rest!

They Told Me To Lie

20 Nov

I’ve been absent from Vouched for a little while, buried beneath a stack of student work that would bury a small car. A Yugo, perhaps, if they still made them. Or maybe one of those Volkswagen pickup trucks, if they still made those. But tonight, after reading the most recent issue of TYPO, I’m back. I’m back to tell you that I’m especially struck by Anthony Madrid’s “They Told Me To Lie and I Said No.” And to tell you that you should read it.

God. Heaven. Hell. Buddha. Sex. Death. Love. Correcting the story of Adam’s rib. In nine sections. Seriously, I don’t know what you’re doing on this fine Friday evening, but if you have time to be reading this, then I’m guessing you have time to jet on over to TYPO and read this poem:

Indeed, the magic wand thing is always on backwards. You touch a thing
With the wand, yes—but it’s you who are magically changed.

And then, if you’re so inclined, check out some of his other work at AGNI, Conjunctions, and Shampoo.