PRINT October 2007


David Grubbs and Susan Howe

IN MY OWN TAKE on the Grand Tour, I spent the summer sunburned in Los Angeles, reading poetry. The circulation of names and artworks and overpoliced critical shibboleths (see Texte zur Kunst’s recent “Short Guide” for choice examples) that elsewhere engulfed art in a fog of values, cynical or otherwise, fell gracefully away from the literary will-o’-the-wisps I followed for relief. Brightest among these was Souls of the Labadie Tract (Blue Chopsticks, 2007), the second collaboration, after Thiefth, 2005, between musician David Grubbs and poet Susan Howe. For a certain audience, this recording is worthy news. Howe, who recently turned seventy, is an important voice in contemporary literature, a signal inheritor of an American poetic tradition that stretches from Emily Dickinson, Gertrude Stein, Louis Zukofsky, and Charles Olson to the Language poets with whom she is most often associated.

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