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In the Gun Cabinet Reviewed at Entropy

Toby Altman has written an incredibly incisive review of In the Gun Cabinet over at Entropy, alongside reviews of books by Nikki Wallschlaeger, Carrie Lorig, and Magus Magnus. Read it here.

Late in the poem Lala demands, “[A]m I so seduced       I believe / the time I spend / & what I produce / are untethered to the economy I live by”? In the Gun Cabinet thus engages a—perhaps the—longstanding avant-garde preoccupation: how, Lala asks, can the aesthetics of modernism be rescued from Clement Greenberg and the CIA? How can modernism be transformed from a tool of state power into a politically radical weapon against the state, its imperialism, its culture of violence? If the question is canonical, Lala’s answer swerves away from the tired, standard strategies of (to take an entirelyinnocent example) language writing. Rather than placing his faith in, say, syntactic disturbance or radical parataxis—that is, in an acceleration of modernism’s own aesthetic strategies—he uses those strategies to describe himself, to locate himself in an economy of violence. And vice versa: he uses his personal history as a mapping tool, which allows him to sketch the contours of contemporary violence. In this sense, his work stages a rapprochement between many modes of 20th century writing: mingling avant-garde difficulty with confessional directness, polemical energy with aesthetic depth and beauty. 

In the Gun Cabinet Reviewed at The Rumpus

Two Poems in Denver Quarterly