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BKLYN BookMatch: Whimsical Poetry & Avant Garde Fiction

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10 items

The collected poems of Kenneth Koch.

Koch, Kenneth, 1925-2002. |

If you're looking for poetry with whimsy, look no further! "Celebrating the pleasures of friendship, art, and love, the poetry of Kenneth Koch has been dazzling readers for fifty years. Charter member–along with Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, and James Schuyler–of the New York School of poets, avant-garde playwright and fiction writer, pioneer teacher of writing to children, Koch gave us some of the most exciting and aesthetically daring poems of his generation."

All the poems of Stevie Smith

Smith, Stevie, 1902-1971, author. |

British poet Stevie Smith is one of the finest writers of satirical verse of her time. "Mischievous, teasing, disarming, her poems take readers from comedy to tragedy and back again, while her line drawings are by turns unsettling and beguiling. In this new and updated edition of her work, Stevie Smith scholar Will May collects Smith's poems and illustrations from her published volumes and provides fascinating details about their provenance, describing the various versions Smith presented on both stage and page. Collected Poems includes over five hundred works from her thirty-five year career."

I am flying into myself : selected poems, 1960-2014

Knott, Bill, 1940-2014, author. |

Bill Knott is one of the most original and unusual poets of his time. Imbued with humor, sadness, and just utter oddness, you'll never confuse a Knott poem with a poem by someone else. "For half a century, Bill Knott’s brilliant, vaudevillian verse electrified the poetic form. Over his long career, he studiously avoided joining any one school of poetry, preferring instead to freewheel from French surrealism to the avant-garde and back again—experimenting relentlessly and refusing to embrace straightforward dialectics. Whether drawing from musings on romantic love or propaganda from the Vietnam War, Knott’s quintessential poems are alive with sensory activity, abiding by the pulse and impulse of a pure, restless emotion. This provocative, playful sensibility has ensured that his poems have a rare and unmistakable immediacy, effortlessly crystalizing thought in all its moods and tenses."

The pill versus the Springhill mine disaster.

Brautigan, Richard. |

Best known for his quirky prose and his place at the forefront of San Francisco counterculture in the 1960s and 1970s, Richard Brautigan's poetry plays with language and features spare and childlike language. "Brautigan’s success as a poet was marginal. He published several slim volumes, all with small presses, but none of these received much recognition. It wasn’t until the publication of Trout Fishing in America (1967), which many consider his best novel, that Brautigan caught the public’s attention and was transformed into a cult hero. He received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1969. By 1970, Trout Fishing in America had become the namesake of a commune, a free school, and an underground newspaper."

Flamingo watching : poems

Ryan, Kay. |

United States Poet Laureate from 2008 to 2010, Kay Ryan's poems are deceptively compact-- their humor and seeming simplicity unfold to reveal deep meaning and emotional resonance. "These poems are marked with the powerful but idiosyncratic influence of Marianne Moore, whose unique style is echoed in Ryan's elliptically compressed syntax and high-toned ironic stance."


Bennett, Claire-Louise, author. |

"Feverish and forthright, Pond is an absorbing chronicle of the pitfalls and pleasures of a solitudinous life told by an unnamed woman living on the cusp of a coastal town. Broken bowls, belligerent cows, swanky aubergines, trembling moonrises and horrifying sunsets, the physical world depicted in these stories is unsettling yet intimately familiar and soon takes on a life of its own. Captivated by the stellar charms of seclusion but restless with desire, the woman's relationship with her surroundings becomes boundless and increasingly bewildering."


Breton, André, 1896-1966. |

Nadja is an iconic work of the French surrealist movement. "The principal narrative is an account of the author's relationship with a girl in the city of Paris, the story of an obsessional presence haunting his life. The narrative is supplemented by forty-four photographs which form an integral part of the work -- pictures of various "surreal" people, places, and objects which the author visits or is haunted by in naja's presence and which inspire him to mediate on their reality or lack of it. "The Nadja of the book is a girl, but, like Bertrand Russell's definition of electricity as "not so much a thing as a way things happen, " Nadja is not so much a person as the way she makes people behave. She has been described as a state of mind, a feeling about reality, a kind of vision, and the reader sometimes wonders whether she exists at all, yet it is Nadja who gives form and structure to the novel."

A girl is a half-formed thing : a novel

McBride, Eimear. |

"In scathing, furious, unforgettable stream-of-consciousness prose, Eimear McBride tells the story of a young girl’s devastating adolescence as she and her brother, who suffers from a brain tumor, struggle for a semblance of normalcy in the shadow of sexual abuse, denial, and chaos at home. Plunging readers inside the psyche of a girl isolated by her own dangerously confusing sexuality, pervading guilt, and unrelenting trauma, McBride’s writing carries echoes of Joyce, O’Brien, and Woolf. A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is a revelatory work of fiction, a novel that instantly takes its place in the canon."

Notable American women

Marcus, Ben, 1967- |

Few people write about alienation as well as Ben Marcus, author of The Flame Alphabet, and the story collections Leaving the Sea and Notes from the Fog. "On a farm in Ohio, American women led by Jane Dark practice all means of behavior modification in an attempt to attain complete stillness and silence. Witnessing (and subjected to) their cultish actions is one Ben Marcus, whose father, Michael Marcus, may be buried in the back yard, and whose mother, Jane Marcus, enthusiastically condones the use of her son for (generally unsuccessful) breeding purposes, among other things. Inventing his own uses for language, the author Ben Marcus has written a harrowing, hilarious, strangely moving, altogether engrossing work of fiction that will be read and argued over for years to come."

This is not a novel : and other novels

Markson, David, author. |

David Markson is a witty, inventive, and ironic writer like no other. "This Is Not a Novel is a highly inventive work which drifts "genre-less," somewhere in between fiction, nonfiction, and psychological memoir. In the opening pages of the "novel," a narrator, called only "Writer," announces that he is tired of inventing characters, contemplating plot, setting, theme, and conflict. Yet the writer is determined to seduce the reader into turning pages-and to "get somewhere," nonetheless. What follows are pages crammed with short lines of astonishingly fascinating literary and artistic anecdotes, quotations, and cultural curiosities."