These brief geometrical wonders pack a big punch as puzzles that become poems. Like tiny poetic word searches, these small poems reveal themselves as tightly-packed aphorisms, asserting themselves physically in the world with a wisdom that is somehow simultaneously novel and ancient.
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Even as Jamme’s neat blocks, steles, and squares suggest the permanence of letters on stone, they tell us, in modernist style, to make ourselves new—to rearrange our ideas, to regard all experience as impermanent, all patterns as partly imposed.
Stephen Burt, Rain Taxi, Fall 2009
The process of reading [New Exercises] seems as important (if not more so) that the wisdom of the aphorisms. They play against the urge of the eye to progress, causing me to arrive at words in unexpected ways. The reading of this books works as part puzzle, part poem, part wish. It makes me wonder how I would have reacted to Stein’s syntax if I’d read it first in the subway rather than in a textbook, or Williams’ lines without having them poorly interpreted by a high school teacher (sorry Mr. Slaughter).
Mathias Svalina, Yes, Starlings! Yes!
I respond to [New Exercises] the way I picture Ezra Pound at St. Elizabeths communing deeply with a Chinese character, pulling the various ideogrammatic particulars (man, tree, fire) out in order to suss out a synthesis, registering progress with a satisfying asemantical grunt. I like how slow it makes the world. I like the waiting, the revel of delay reveal’d. (A lovely line of apparent instruction, laconic, prefaces the selection: “Not too fast.”)
John Latta, Isola di Rifuti
Franck André Jamme has published fifteen books of poems and fragments since 1981, as well as numerous illustrated books. He has been praised by Edmond Jabes, Henri Michaux, and Rene Char and translated by John Ashbery. He is also a specialist and curator of contemporary Indian Tantric, Brut and tribal arts. He lives in Paris and Burgundy.
Charles Borkhuis (translator) is a poet, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and professor of English at Touro College. He lives in New York City. In addition to his ten volumes of poetry and plays, Borkhuis has translated the Russian poet Vyacheslav Kuritsyn and the Chinese poet Mofei.
Publication Date: December 1, 2008
ISBN# 9781933517360 (5.5x8.5 96pp, paperback)