tENTATIVELY, cONVENIENCE's Reviews > Percentage

Percentage by Carla Harryman
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liked it
bookshelves: poetry, plays, literature

Ok, saying that "I liked it" by giving it a 3 star rating is a bit of a fib. I don't remember it at all - but I deduce that I read it b/c it's short & it's published by Tuumba, who I like, & it's associated w/ "Language Writing" & I've more or less always read every short "Language Writing" bk that's come my way. Note that I write "Language Writing" instead of "Language Poetry" (wch is probably more common) b/c I spurn the word "poetry" almost as much as I spurn the word "art". Too much baggage. I like the somewhat more generic broadness of "writing". & "writing" seems more appropriate here b/c the forms at least seem to touch upon prose, poetry, & plays w/o necessarily 'belonging' obviously to any of them. Maybe.

Paul Hoover's intro bio to Harryman in the gigantic Norton "Postmodern American Poetry" reads, in part: "Harryman likes to blend fictive and essayistic elements in her prose poems." I like that. It renders the categories amorphous, gives them more play. In the title piece, wch one might call a play b/c it's structured around 2 letters 'talking' to each other, there's this bit:

"D: I repeat.

E: Dear, don't repeat.

D: Ok, ok. What are you being so vague for?

E: I don't understand.

D: News of hungry ghosts. Favorite daughter. Favorite son. Chatter in vast architecture.

E: I'll think about it."

Of course it's common to abbreviate people's names in such dialogues by reducing them to abbreviations - eg: Dora might become "D" or Edgar might become "E" - but here there's no indication that that's the case. For all we 'know', these are 2 letters adjacent to each other in the alphabet having a tete à tete after a hard day of serving others. At any rate, there's some humor here & some vague traces of the domesticity of the philosophical - so I really do like it.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 10, 2008 – Shelved
July 10, 2008 – Shelved as: poetry
July 10, 2008 – Shelved as: plays
July 10, 2008 – Shelved as: literature

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