Longfellow Memoranda by Geof Huth
(Otoliths, Rockhampton, Australia, 2008)
Geof Huth’s Longfellow Memoranda is another entry in the practice of using 19th-century texts as fodder for subtraction and excision exercizes, and it is an especially attractive one. Huth, according to his afterword, purchased a “birthday book and diary” which included short verses by Longfellow for each day of the year. Huth then extracted words and phrases from them to create even shorter texts. The result is at times quite mysteriously evocative:
Longfellow was a romantic poet whose work is full of emotionality, often obscured to the contemporary reader due to his verbosity and use of cliché. Huth’s work with these texts brings out what’s hidden in them, and creates a quite new work of great appeal. It joins a group of such works which includes Tom Phillip’s A Humument, based on a 19th-century novel, and the still-in-progress work on Wordsworth’s Prelude by Olchar E. Lindsann. Huth’s book is very nicely produced, and includes facsimile reproductions of some of the pages from the original diary.
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”