Sunday, January 22, 2012

Aimless Reading: The R's, Part 5.3 (Pam Rehm)

The Garment In Which No One Had Slept
Rehm, Pam
The Garment In Which No One Had Slept

If what I said yesterday is true, and I am not certain it is, then it is likely I bought this online around the same time I bought To Give It Up and, possibly, Gone to Earth, that I was reading a lot of "minimalist" writers six or seven years ago and discovered that I liked Rehm's work and so bought several of her books at the same time. It's all a bit of a blur. I have no competing narrative to counter this, so it must be true.

Though I did not mention it before, I seem to remember reading this book in the Segue archive at the same time I read some of her other work. This one was published by Burning Deck, which was one of what was then only a handful of small presses that printed the work of innovative writers in perfect bound editions. You probably could have counted them on two hands: Roof, Burning Deck, Sun & Moon, The Figures, O Books, Edge, etc.

That number has skyrocketed in the last decade. I could not begin to name all the presses working to get out this kind of work today.  It's kind of amazing, especially given how few people actually read this stuff. It's as if the market has grown up in which the poet is both the producer of the work and the consumer of his or her own reputation. Or to put it another way: poetry is produced not to be read but to create some other form of cultural capital, i.e., reputation, status, etc.

Are we all cannibals, then?

from The Garment In Which No One Had Slept

The Multiplicities

Requiring that I submit no

absolute eye; not a
matter of amount, but effect to
form–in sleepless,
I know
not urge but pursuit
and the restraining

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