JOHN M. BENNETT Reviews
From the Annual Records of The Cloud Appreciation Society, Eds. Márton Koppány and Nico Vassilakis
(Otoliths, Rockhampton, Australia, 2008)
This intimate and small-scale work combines epistolary fiction, visual poetry, and conceptual art in a metafictional framework to create an unclassifiable document of haunting nuance and sly humor. It purports to be a correspondence about “clouds” but these are clouds that “can be carried in A/4 folders”, suggesting that they are texts or poems. Some of these “clouds” seem to be the visuals, although these visuals are also presented as documentary examples, as the “Cloud Appreciation Society” seems to be a somewhat scholarly organization (there are references to its politics and bureaucracy).
In short, this is an evocative and fascinating work, ever slippery and thus fascinating to read and consider many times. It’s a very fine production as well, and includes full-color reproductions of the visual works.
John M. Bennett has published over 300 books and chapbooks of poetry and other materials. Among the most recent are rOlling COMBers (Potes & Poets Press), MAILER LEAVES HAM (Pantograph Press), LOOSE WATCH (Invisible Press), CHAC PROSTIBULARIO (with Ivan Arguelles; Pavement Saw Press), HISTORIETAS ALFABETICAS (Luna Bisonte Prods), PUBLIC CUBE (Luna Bisonte Prods), THE PEEL (Anabasis Press), GLUE (xPress(ed)), LAP GUN CUT (with F. A. Nettelbeck; Luna Bisonte Prods), INSTRUCTION BOOK (Luna Bisonte Prods), la M al (Blue Lion Books), CANTAR DEL HUFF (Luna Bisonte Prods), SOUND DIRT (with Jim Leftwich; Luna Bisonte Prods), BACKWORDS (Blue Lion Books), NOS (Redfox Press), D RAIN B LOOM (with Scott Helmes; xPress(ed)), CHANGDENTS (Offerta Speciale), and L ENTES (Blue Lion Books). He has published, exhibited and performed his word art worldwide in thousands of publications and venues. He was editor and publisher of LOST AND FOUND TIMES (1975-2005), and is Curator of the Avant Writing Collection at The Ohio State University Libraries. Richard Kostelanetz has called him “the seminal American poet of my generation”. His work, publications, and papers are collected in several major institutions, including Washington University (St. Louis), SUNY Buffalo, The Ohio State University, The Museum of Modern Art, and other major libraries. His PhD (UCLA 1970) is in Latin American Literature. Ars Poetica: “Be Blank”