Thursday, August 02, 2007

What is "Joshua Clover"?

I bought The Totality for Kids at that great poetry bookstore in Seattle, and just yesterday, settled in to read it. I'm enjoying it quite a bit--it's witty, sharp, interesting, possibly a little narcissistic in its avant-gardeiosity, but still. Here are some lines that I especially liked from "The Other Atelier":

History and capital had been Astaire and Rogers but are now Clark Kent and Superman

Taking advantage of the exchange rate I have acquired a certain afternoon in 1953

Though it meant selling the rights to the word peignoir

And the neighborhood where you first heard it

* * *
Also, I heard him speak on a panel at AWP about the American vernacular, where he talked entertainingly if a teensy bit bafflingly about Paris Hilton and, if I'm remembering correctly, Donald Rumsfeld? Where he said, "Apparently, the members of this panel are employing the classic strategy for setting people at their ease by citing Heidegger. Well, I'm not taking that lying down--I'm starting with Heidegger." And where he ended by saying, "Should not the poets who want to write in the language of the unacknowledged legislators of the world first become the acknowledged legislators of the wolrd? then all poetry would be truly hot."

So, I went on the World Wide Web--you know, the Internet--to find out some more about this guy. Here's what I found:

1. He was born in Berkeley in 1962.

2. He has two books of poetry, the above cited Totality and Madonna anno domini, which in 1997 won the Walt Whitman Award (chosen by Jorie Graham, who at that time was teaching at the Iowa Workshop, where Clover got his MFA. Hmm. Not that there's anything wrong with that.).

3. He teaches at U.C. Davis. He has a blog called "jane dark's sugarhigh!" that's pretty cool.

4. He writes as a critic for the Village Voice and The New York Times.

5. He wrote a book about The Matrix (the movie) for the Modern Classics series, published by the British Film Institute.

6. He hasn't been interested in the self since 1989. I guess I wonder what that means. I guess.

Here's an essay on LANGUAGE poetry. Here's an article about the iPod Shuffle, which is hilarious. Here's a reading, so you can see him in action.


  1. Yes! I love the Joshua. When he was visiting the U's Visiting Writers Series and I was the tourguide for said series, he and I got in an argument about Adam Gopnik. J.C. thinks Gopnik is a loser. I like Gopnik. He's a really great guy full of language-y words.

  2. I did figure out where this bookstore is. It's down the hill from my world. Is it worth extending the boundaries of my little world?

  3. It is if you like poetry at all! You should just go and buy one book. It's for the cause!



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