Archive for January, 2011

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Review: Aphorism expert James Geary

January 21, 2011

Aphorism expert James Geary seems to really like (and have gotten the tone of) my book of aphorisms, Glimpse! It’s a great vindication for a previously unknown aphorist like me. He offers a brief opinion and set of examples at the first link above. After more than a few good reviews now, I am very happy. I also really enjoy seeing which aphorisms people choose as their highlights from the collection. It’s amazing how few repeat!

George Murray is editor of the literary website Bookninja.com and author of Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms. There is a sort of casual surrealism about Murray’s aphorisms, as if it was the most ordinary thing in the world to compare worry, for example, to a playground. The metaphors are both pedestrian and astonishing, reminiscent of aphorists like Malcom de Chazal and Ramon Gomez de la Serna. The deep strangeness of the images and juxtapositions takes a while to sink in, mostly because of Murray’s deadpan delivery. Reading his aphorisms is like talking on a phone with a slight delay; you understand what’s been said a beat or so after it has been spoken. And that split-second delay, filled with thoughts and speculation, is where the wonder lies, of aphorisms in general and these aphorisms in particular. The charm of Glimpse is that so many of the aphorisms in it make you do a double take.

 

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Recommending Books

January 4, 2011

Here’s a partial list of some books I read or re-read this year that I think deserve your attention. No “bests” or “mosts”, just books that compelled me to keep reading and thinking, for one reason or another. If you are thinking of buying one, I’d recommend ordering from your local independent bookseller.

Poetry:

  • Life is a Dream, Paul Durcan
  • The Semi Conducting Dictionary, Natalee Caple
  • Past Imperfect and The Irrationalist, Suzanne Buffam
  • Lemon Hound, Sina Queyras
  • Come All You Ghosts, Matthew Zapruder
  • This Way Out, Carmine Starnino
  • Update, Darren Wershler and Bill Kennedy
  • Sea Legend, Mark Callanan
  • Zong!, M. Nourbese Philip
  • The Reinvention of the Human Hand, Paul Vermeersch
  • Paper Radio, Damian Rogers
  • The Chimney Stone, Rob Winger
  • Ossuaries and Inventory, Dionne Brand
  • Different Hours, Stephen Dunn

Fiction:

  • Annabel, Kathleen Winter
  • Galore, Michael Crummey
  • How Should a Person Be and Ticknor, Sheila Heti
  • Every Day in the Morning (Slow), Adam Seelig
  • February, Lisa Moore
  • Far to Go, Alison Pick
  • Mother Superior, Saleema Nawaz
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News: Best of Year List

January 3, 2011

Atlantic books impressario Chad Pelley (Salty Ink) has been a great booster for Glimpse, and he does so again, adding Glimpse to a “best of 2010” list in the Telegram.

“Glimpse,” by poet George Murray; a collection of 409 aphorisms. “It’s not often someone writes a book of poetry this accessible and enjoyable to people who don’t like poetry,” Pelley said. “You can respect it as a form of poetry, or you could see it as a gag book that you have on your coffee table. A lot of (the aphorisms) are really funny, and a lot are really insightful. I think it’s a good gateway for a lot of people into poetry.”

And speaking of gateways, I signed and/or heard-tell-of a record number of copies being bought for usually-non-poetry readers. The radio and paper coverage seem to have done their jobs and piqued the interest of prose readers. Nice!