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Encyclopedia Destructica Coatlicue 2 by Jerome Crooks
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really liked it
bookshelves: artists-books, art, literature
Recommended for: anthology editors in cities other than Pittsburgh

I'm anti-nationalist & I'm not a city patriot either - by wch I mean that, even though I'm very fond of & enthusiastic about the city where I live (Pittsburgh), I don't want to toot Pittsburgh's horn as if it's the only great city in the world or the greatest city in the world. As such, I'm not going to gush about this as a PITTSBURGH anthology. But that's what it is & it's pretty damned good. In editor Jerome Crooks' Intro he writes:

"Pittsburgh writers share more than an occupation (writing) and place. We share an ability to be determined, not naively hopeful. We entertain without hiding from reality. We are artistic, but not pretentious. Our work is sophisticated without putting on airs. Collectively, you will find a moral center in this anthology rooted right around the gut."

I'm not sure that I agree w/ Jerome's generalizations. I'm not sure that these generalizations are necessarily so distinct to Pittsburgh. I wonder what literary/artistic anthologies in other cities are like. Are there many that're so excellent? I realize that I haven't seen many at all - certainly not many this good.

There was a time when I might've somewhat rejected this publication as not having enuf formally innovative & conceptual work - particularly in the visual arena. Most of the drawings are fairly straight-forwardly representational. I'm not asking for 'abstract' - I'm wishing for something OUTSIDE OF / TRANSCENDENT OF such shallow dichotomies. Regardless, these days, I'm just happy that there's a diversity of genres.

Take, eg, David Howe's essay "Language as an Instrument of Fundamentalism" about the history of Sir Lankan religio-political struggles. Very interesting. I learned alot from it. Thank you, David.

I was even sufficiently engrossed in Kristofer Collins' noirish novella interspersed serial-wise throughout to look forward to whatever new twists the story might take.

Perhaps most importantly, in its relation to a pet peeve of mine, the Biographies in the back had an unusually high percentage of playfulness rather than the typical crapitalist CV stuff that people trying to 'make it' in the art world so often resort to to impress possible grant-givers:

BAD:

"Stacey Waite received an M.F.A. in poetry in 2003. She now teaches courses in Composition, Women's Studies, Literature and Creative Writing as a PhD Candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. Stacey has published two collections of poems: Choke (winner of the 2004 Frank O'Hara Prize in Poetry) and Love Poem to Androgyny (winner of the 2006 Main Street Rag Chapbook Competition). Her poems have been published most recently in Bloom, The Marlboro Review, Gulf Stream, Nimrod and Cream City Review. She will have a new collection of poems entitled The Lake Has No Saint forthcoming from Tupelo Press in 2010."

You're hired, Stacey!

GOOD:

"Found riding on cosmic pink cloud through space, baby Jen Cooney was found by U.S. astronauts who brought her back to the states where she had a brief career as a diaper model, things ended poorly when one day she was discovered smearing poop on the walls of the corporate office. She was immediately fired but as we know when one door closes one opens, thus began her fabulous art career and brings us to the present amazing, incredible, super hot and always funny Jen Cooney."

"Peter Kosloski studies poetry at the University of Pittsburgh. He also studies Ancient Greek, just to make sure no marketable skills sneak in during his matriculation. His current projects include a series inspired by the Yellow Fleet and an attempt to create a poetic analogy to Sol LeWitt's wall drawing instructions. Sadly, his popularity has suffered as a result of his strongly held belief that multivitamins are a hoax."
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Reading Progress

June 9, 2009 – Shelved
June 9, 2009 – Shelved as: artists-books
Started Reading
June 23, 2009 – Shelved as: art
June 23, 2009 – Shelved as: literature
June 23, 2009 – Finished Reading

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