Ms by Michael Magee

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From Publishers Weekly Following up on last year's Morning Constitutional, Magee forges an exaggerated, ludic, punning idiom to propel his lines deep into English's latest incarnations, a sort of "Jive to Juba" scat-talk ... la Harryette Mullen with the breathless pace, if not quite the soul, of Frank O'Hara at his peak typewriter-hysteria period: "The belles of St. Mary knell `The Real Slim Shady'/ have made up their minds and are keeping their babies/ their CHANNELED HISTORY Knickerbockers by proxy." Magee's channelings of U.S. history owe as much to Amiri Baraka and Barrett Watten as they do to Eminem ("what Amadou to you/ later, cable wires in the white poplar/ a concrete vector"), but not all of the poems in MS (or, "Manuscript") have such discernible trajectories. Some magic is lost when the poet seems vainly invested in maintaining the effect of a mind radiantly overloaded with linguistic possibility, reaching for the first neat pun ("like mallards, like melba/ toast we are/ dying on the bank/ like a bank shot") or throwing in 10 bad jokes (yuck-yucking over the word "vagina" for instance) in lieu of one good one. But the pleasures of this book are many, capturing the vicissitudes of language, by turns approaching the spareness of Creeley and the philosophical resonance of Cold of Poetry-era Hejinian. As Magee moves toward more complex, contradictory poetic personae, he'll have more than enough chops to negotiate the minefield of American culture and cultural appropriation. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About Michael Magee

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Published May 15, 2003 by Spuyten Duyvil. 92 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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