Patrick James Dunagan Reviews Joshua Clover's Red Epic
At Your Impossible Voice, Patrick James Dunagan provides insight into Joshua Clover's most recent collection of poems, Red Epic. The collection is published by Commune Editions: a new "start-up press Clover along with fellow poets Juliana Spahr and Jasper Bernes established in partnership with leftist, anti-commercial AK Press" as Dunagan writes. More:
Few books, let alone books of poetry, arrive boasting a blurb from Entertainment Weekly while simultaneously, and aggressively, declaring the attempt to establish a Marxist lyric praxis. Joshua Clover’s Red Epic, however, does just this. Red Epic is the first of a projected series of books to be published by Commune Editions, a start-up press Clover along with fellow poets Juliana Spahr and Jasper Bernes established in partnership with leftist, anti-commercial AK Press. With a splashy plethora of bright red across its cover, there’s little misunderstanding as to the political leanings of both poet and press.
Through rigorous prose, Clover has long toiled within Marxist critical analysis but with Red Epic he brings this analysis to bear in compelling poetry. He is not turning his back on his Marxist criticism but rather attempting to broaden the reach of its argument across the span of his writing. This book is an ambitious project. With his poetic skill on display, the critic inside the poet inside the critic is frequently found arguing with himself and tearing down the very structures he would erect to advance the ideals he would have the poems stand upon and represent. As a call for revolutionary artistic practice, his book remains admirably restless in its confrontation with the seemingly antithetical nature of it all. Clover doesn’t back away from confronting the desire for a lyric that “turns to the language of value” and here he’s speaking to poets first rather than labor or the market.[...]
Continue at Your Impossible Voice.