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Assistant Professor, William Paterson University of New Jersey, United States

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Family Resemblances

Poet Mark Salerno and I have been corresponding. We recently did an exchange of books (my first-and-only for his first and latest books). I had already purchased his "METHOD" on my last reading trip to NYC, before ever having met or been in contact with him. I love the book, it being so closely allied with an experimental project I had been germinating ("The Downburst Summaries"--now officially defunct--though four "summaries" were actually published in the second issue of The Tiny, a nifty new(ish) Brooklyn based journal). Anyway, I was flattered to hear from him that folks had asked him (he lives in L.A. and I live in N.C) whether he and I were related. This was a question I too had been getting here in N.C., at Lucipo and other readings). So he and I have begun hashing out a kind of Reading exchange program whereby he comes to NC and we read on the same bill (the Flying Salerno bros or some such foolery) and then I travel to L.A. for the same deal. Anyway, the recognition of Mark Salerno's poetry via people's questions of our possible relation is great. His work is so worthy of attention and revisitation especially to anyone interested in new or post-avant poetics. It's brave and acrobatic and challenging and formally adept work. To date, he is the author of "Hate" (96 Tears, 1995), "Method" (Figures, 2002), and "So One Could Have" (Red Hen, 2004). His new work, a book-length poem entitled "Odalisque," is forthcoming from Salt Pubishing in 2007.
I'm travelling to the tiny island of St. John tomorrow, and I will be bringing Mark Salerno's books with me.