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Listening to Reading
SUNY Press, 2000


Listening to Reading presents two different kinds of writing about poetry--"critical analysis" and "performance"--both of which pay particular attention to sound, shape, and the relation of sound/shape to meaning. It offers a critical and performative presentation of experimental writing, also known as avant garde, postmodern, innovative, and language writing. Less concerned with labels than with asking how this writing works, it invites us to read from earlier works by Mallarmé, Stein, and Cage to books published in the eighties and nineties by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, David Bromige, Clark Coolidge, Beverly Dahlen, Michael Davidson, Larry Eigner, Robert Grenier, Lyn Hejinian, Paul Hoover, Susan Howe, Ron Padgett, Michael Palmer, and Leslie Scalapino--writers whose work is viewed as difficult, and who have as yet been largely ignored by criticism.

"An important work, Listening to Reading manages both to explore texts that enact a more engaged reader response even as the manuscript itself enacts such a response. The discussion of difficult, obstensibly "inaccessible" poetries cries out for a wider audience, and could have far-reaching impact on our general understanding of critical theory and practice."

--Joe Amato, author of Bookends: Anatomies of a Virtual Self

"The book's crossing of genres is innovative: a combination of critical and creative styles, of explanation and illustration."

--Krzysztov Ziarek, author of Inflected Language: Towards a Hermeneutics of Nearness

"The book is, in the end, more than interesting to read: it is inspiring."

--Jed Rasula, Queen's University