What I’m Reading Now… by Tyrone Williams



Jordan Scott, Night & Ox (Coach House Books, 2016)—As with Blert, Scott continues his assault on normative phonemes and graphemes, though here the focus is largely on morphemes. And while the strategies here and before will certainly recall the Joyce of Finnegan’s Wake the motive is less aesthetic (or even para-aesthetic) than a social and cultural reconstruction of ableness and ability, to say nothing of moments of tender tributes to fatherhood.


Donato Mancini, Loitersack (New Star Books, 2014)—Unlike the sparse conceptualism of the forthcoming Same/Diff, Loitersack follows the Jordan Scott/Steve McCaffery tradition of direct assault on the very particles of language. Mancini is more (self) conscious of the prickly problem of poetics and poetry than Scott (or Stephen Collis) but he is also funnier.


Brenda Iijima, If Not Metamorphic (Ahsahta Press, 2010). Although Iijima is known for her sprawling streams of consciousness, this early book, so much like her debut Around Sea, looks more like “traditional” experimental poetry but her insistence on the interrogative mode in the opening poem is a forecast of where she would be going in subsequent books.


Graham Swift, Waterland (Vintage International, 1992)—A stirring historical novel that excavates the most basic human emotions—desire, jealously, frustration, etc.—and replants them in the soil and water of the fens, thereby offering a kind of evolutionary determinism that will not brook the American indulgence in individual “freedom.”


Roma Tearne, Brixton Beach (Harper Press, 2009)—Tearne’s third novel is a family saga covering the legacy of British colonialism in Ceylon/Sri Lanka, the subsequent conflicts between Singhs and Tamils, and the cultural and political convulsions that plant the seeds for state-free and state-sponsored terrorism.