Poetry News

Blake Butler Reviews Dodie Bellamy, Jon Leon, Tomaž Šalamun for VICE

By Harriet Staff


Over at VICE, Blake Butler has reviewed three books that cause the good reader to reflect momentarily on sex and power. Dodie Bellamy's Cunt-Ups (Tender Buttons, 2001), a cult favorite, if we may encourage the term (and maybe this one's ready for a reprint); Jon Leon's newest, The Malady of the Century (Futurepoem 2011); and, unexpectedly for this gathering, Tomaž Šalamun's On the Tracks of Wild Game, "[o]riginally published in Slovenia in 1979 and just now in new translation from Ugly Duckling Presse," as Butler notes. He writes of the book:

...On the Tracks of Wild Game—in light of the two books above—presents what seems a calmer face, though one supercharged in language with layers of images. The voice here is at once vivid and precise, while leading us into a landscape that seems somehow capable of shifting a few feet. Where so often language is used to simply reflect, Šalamun’s is the kind of speaking that invents the world around it as it goes, pulling the parts of things we already know into new configurations. It goes up in the teeth of fascist regimes and god and nature and captivity and enlightenment and food and time and bodies. I best like books that make the saying A picture is worth a thousand words turn on its face, and though that could be true of most any sentence, so many of them feel like they wish they were a picture instead. I don’t see how you could take a thousand pictures and get most any of these sentences inside them. They would simply say no.

Read all of the reviews here.

Originally Published: May 21st, 2012