Monday, July 24, 2006

The Vandalism Questions

Luke Daly's new book, The Vandalism Questions, is done and mailing. For copies or inquiries, send an e-mail to lukedaly44ATyahooDOTcom.


Blogger Jessica Smith said...

me i want that. luke daly rocks.

4:54 PM  
Blogger House Press said...

Luke -- 'of a free town' was my real introduction to your work. Since then, reading your work in print and in process has added so much to my own vision of poetry. This new book will further build upon a shared dialogue of words and materials. Congratulations buddy!

Eric u

6:51 PM  
Blogger Gelsinger said...

Luke, please send me a copy.

Straight to the top.

1:13 PM  
Blogger House Press said...

Luke Daly’s poetry is a poetry of place; but not in an easy and tired way. “The Vandalism Questions” continues with many of the themes Luke investigates in “Of a Free Town”, a collaborative book with Barrett Gordon. From these poems I get the sense that for Luke language precedes place, and that the poems are more about the language of place (and the place of language) than they are about representation (of a locality). In this book, the poems are concerned with the writing on the city, the physical (social) spaces that get written on and written over, faded and weathered, reappropriated, stickered, spray-painted, chalked, and reclaimed - consciously by street artists and/or the municipal government, and by everyday citizens. We’re thrust into a linguistic landscape from the start: “Letters of his fading alpha- / bet got written // over. in a / city. freezing // city. downward / town wind // blew the letters / from. in

By writing through this urban landscape, the poems never lose track of their own articulations as they come into being. Luke’s language, and typography, makes us register every syllable used, so that we become aware of the real weight and physicality of this language. His page is ragged, variable margins, lines and words fractured. This requires very slow reading, a sort of reading that takes no part of language for granted. There is also a sense of found language here; but it is uncertain where the origin is. Who is quoted? Why these italics here? Where is this language coming from? These diacritical markers used seemingly at random dislocate the sense of authority and authorship in the poems, so that all the language becomes alien, found, and exterior (whether marked or not) – in this sense, Luke comes closest to representing the street language he writes about. Luke writes at one point: “What // that could mean about art / lasting – taking / something // big and putting it in- / side of something bigger”. This reminds me of a poem by John Cage, where he appropriates a lecture from Jasper Johns – at one point Cage (through Johns) talks about the provisional nature of a work of art, that it always has the potential to be incorporated into a larger structure. Luke is suggesting something similar here, with this project; he is finding another frame for the art and language out in the world, and reappropriating onto the page.

This book has been a pleasure to read – both in terms of the physical handling (heavy cover and thin tracing paper layers), and of what it is doing in language. Reading through the book, from the front cover-sticker, through the well-placed collages, through the poems, is truly an art experience. Everything is well measured – nothing out of place.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Logan Ryan Smith said...

hey, who wrote that review up there?

and luke, please send me a copy!

6:44 PM  
Blogger Al Cohen said...


your old pal in Buffalo
include me

then I'll make your website even prettier

11:14 AM  

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