Old Business Sees the Light


Golias Books will publish my first full-length collection of poetry in spring 2019. It collects three previously published (or in the case of Story One: pseudo-published) collections along with a new one called, Old Business, which has actual poem titles. Actual. Poem. Titles. Here’s a provisional write-up from the generous editors, Lawrence Giffin and Chris Catanese:

Ryan Dobran’s Old Business comprises four long poems: three chapbook-length works that have seen limited release by small presses in the UK—Story OneThe Meritocrat, and The Last Shyness—along with a suite of new poems published here for the first time. The volume represents an attentive, accretive phenomenology of the contemporary, of the widening gyre of modernity’s immaterialization and its redoundings on the body. The four pieces represent a progression in Dobran’s work over time but are each in their own way equally finely tuned: both in the sense that each conceit is a sensitively calibrated instrument and that the resulting readings are crafted and critical, lacking didacticism and yet wryly, quietly instructive.

Erotoplasty 3 Lives

Colin Lee Marshall released the third issue of Erotoplasty out of Seoul. It’s dreamy and I’ve got some new work inside it:

Erotoplasty 3 is resounding! Listen as its spectral glissando encompasses notes from Gwen Muren, Calum Hazell, Andre Bagoo, Joe Luna, Lila Matsumoto, Pratyusha, Catherine Vidler, Zoë Skoulding, Peter Larkin, Amelia Dale, Luke Roberts, Dana Ward, Arkava Das, Tom Jenks, Iain Britton, Harry Brooks-Kent, Duncan MacKay, Ryan Dobran, Gizem Okulu, Gregory De Pulford, and Verity Spott!

Download instantly here or peruse via Dropbox first.

Abstract for Essay on Prynne, Philology, and Commentary

Rembrandt van Rijn, “A Scholar in His Study (‘Faust’)” [c. 1645]
“‘The review of struggle to fix the sense’: Speculations on Commentary and J.H. Prynne”

Abstract: The commentaries of the Cambridge poet-scholar, J.H. Prynne, represent a renovation of commentary as critical practice in English studies. Neither their interdisciplinarity nor their density is unique; critics as different as Erich Auerbach, Giorgio Agamben, Helen Vendler, and Jacques Derrida have shown what can be done with and through commentary. But Prynne’s commentary is of an extreme kind: a radicalized version of close reading that frames the poem as a locus of convergent and contradictory tendencies whose sedimentation supersedes both author and reader. Despite the brilliant adumbrations in the margins, the commentary retains its marginality by making the poem into a curriculum. Never has the aesthetic autonomy of the single poem been so challenged than by so intensely focusing on a single poem.

This was started years (and years and years) ago and finally buttoned up this morning! It’s been sent out for review…

David Herd reviews Collected Letters in TLS

David Herd wrote a concise and elegant review of the Collected Letters of Charles Olson and J.H. Prynne in the Times Literary Supplement (Aug. 1, 2018).

Prynne’s commitment to Maximus, and to the sense of human relation it ultimately sought to make possible, couldn’t be doubted. Catching Olson in medias res, what the correspondence quickly comes to document is the extraordinary energy with which Prynne contributed to the production of Maximus IV, V, VI, acting, as he did, as Olson’s British-based researcher. As early as 1962 Olson posed a question of fact arising from his own investigations, this time relating to Weymouth, where he wanted information about Portbook 873. From which point, letters from Prynne frequently carried the evidence of his exhaustive researches at various archives: transcriptions of portbooks, biographies of merchants, accounts of the cargoes of individual ships. Olson had set his course and Prynne was resolved to assist, sending information across the Atlantic at a rate Olson could barely handle.

Rain Taxi review of Olson and Prynne Letters

Patrick James Dunagan reviews The Collected Letters of Charles Olson and J.H. Prynne in the latest summer edition of Rain Taxi (23:2, #90), which you can find here. He also reviews two Duncan/Olson texts: An Open Map: The Correspondence of Robert Duncan and Charles Olson and Imagining Persons: Robert Duncan’s Lectures on Charles Olson, both edited by Robert J. Bertholf and Dale M. Smith.

Dunagan writes:

Publication of each poet’s complete correspondence with Olson, along with Duncan’s long awaited lectures on Olson, provide yet further testament to the impact of his work. But these are not easy books to read and get through. What is contained in them is not information to be consumed and passed on by means of whatever economy imaginable. This is pretty raw stuff. The correspondence represents poet lore as handed back-and-forth between practitioners […]

While I appreciate him pointing out the nevertheless rather obscure reference to John Thorpe (which I omitted) embedded within Olson’s rambles, he doesn’t really dive into the most interesting aspects of the Letters, at least not in my estimation; these would be Prynne’s impassioned interpretations of Maximus, the shared emphasis on poetic knowledge, and the various poetic etymological and bibliographical assemblages of information, perhaps most intriguingly encapsulated within The Draft Bibliography on England. But yes, I agree, “pretty raw stuff”. Why should it be any other way?