Sunday, May 15, 2011

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Brooklyn Copeland on The Cultural Society and Soft:

Soft
was published by The Cultural Society (Zach Barocas, ed) last year. I got it in the mail yesterday (I love when I forgot I ordered something and *voila* there it is one afternoon!). I've never ordered anything from this press before⎯only enjoyed their additions (issues) of poetry and imagery. The publication is a bit like the original Sixth Finch⎯very well integrated⎯if a little less playful? I don't know if that's the word I mean. The Cultural Society is the unsmiling older brother of Sixth Finch. Both journals are among my favorite.

[I just ordered the There Are Crashes EP, too. From the samples it sounded a lot like a cross between the Lower Dens album that stole my heart and something equally 90s/thoughtful. I'm excited.]

About the chapbook⎯ it smelled really nice (it has that new-yearbook smell). Frankly, I had little to go on for the contents (the author's name has come up but I'm foggy as to when or where), but I'm glad this is the chapbook I ordered to support this press. Each of the pieces in Soft is so much space and question and answer compressed. Maybe it's the cover image, but I felt as I turned a page like I was walking to the other side of the room... then back... then back again. Back and forth. There is gentle insistence on sounds of words, but never an overt push of subject (too, never any question of it). I think if it weren't so well paced, a reader could get lost in the alabaster-ness of it. However, because the tone is so neutral (usually I hear a voice reading a poem to me when I read silently⎯I didn't get one from this collection) and each page ends on such tidy (not pat, but tidy) hum, the effect is more soothing than dumbing. There are points of provocation, but those points are also gentle (engagingly gentle, though- not innocuously gentle- you know what I mean?).

I'd so totally read this entire chapbook to a yoga class during relaxation. Thank you Douglas and thank you Zach...


from Soft:


Born, sampled, pardon
ed. You however beau.
Sorted, tame enough.


A rope of cough.
Not climbing some
single pleasure. Its in


habitants. The surface
sealed, darkly. Its absorbed
orbit to stand under.