Introducing: Book Album Book, a new column by Jeff T. Johnson that looks to read albums as cohesive works of literature. This week, Johnson kicks us off with an introduction to the series, followed by a study of Courtney Barnett’s Tell Me How You Really Feel.
Jeff T. Johnson reviews the double LP release of Destroyer’s Kaputt. More than a recount of Dan Bejar’s usual brilliance & heavy thoughts on a record of smoother than usual vibes – with this special edition, we look inside the songster’s ellipses: "If most lyric sheets disappoint because they banalize the vocals, Kaputt’s sheet is a fair representation—or recollection—of what goes on on the album," Johnson riffs alongside/through Bejar.
The New Hybridity: “Bird Lovers, Backyard” by Thalia Field and “Floats Horse-floats or Horse-flows” by Leslie ScalapinoJeff T. Johnson
What constitutes hybrid writing? Select from the following list: a) a combining of different literary forms, b) literary collage, c) literary collaboration, d) a compressing and combining of words and phrases. In Bird Lovers, Backyard, Thalia Field applies her hybrid poetry form to a biographical work on Nazi-sympathizing physiologist Konrad Lorenz and a consideration of the last member of the now-extinct dusky seaside sparrow species/sub-species — a bird that lived out its final days in the Walt Disney World Resort. Float Horse-float or Horse-flows is the final work published by Bay Area experimental writer Leslie Scalapino before her death last May. Her friend, collaborator and longtime Fanzine contributor Kevin Killian described her in an obituary in The Bay Citizen as a spiritual writer with a beautiful voice and a great sense of humor.
"If you have to buy a ticket, it’s modern. If you are already inside and you have to pay to get out of it, it’s more modern," writes Ben Lerner in his book Angle of Yaw, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Award. He has followed it with his latest collection Mean Free Path. Taken from physics, its title refers to the average distance traveled by an electron between two successive collisions with other moving particles, an idea which — along with the Doppler effect — Lerner uses to explore 21st century distraction, the military industrial complex and love. Jeff Johnson reviews this ambitious new work.
During some of the long silences of Pynchon’s career, it must have seemed he had disappeared for good. With his latest, we doubt it, as the Pynchon cartel reemerges to take on/revisit the best threads of his past works – The Lot cries for more. Jeff T. Johnson reviews Inherent Vice.