Frank Smith: Guantanamo: UPDATE

You might or might not remember my review of Frank Smith’s extraordinary book Guantanamo. If you don’t, I urge you to read it. But then I would.

If you have not read my review, you might not know that Frank Smith, despite his anglosaxon name, is, in fact, writing in French. This has put books of his, especially the largely excellent Guantanamo out of reach for many of my friends. This sad circumstance has now, however, been amended.

The very talented Vanessa Place has just translated Guantanamo. It will be published by LES FIGUES PRESS in August 2014 with an introduction by Mark Sanders.


The Man’s Book

From the flap of this odd find:

The Man’s Book. (…) Action, suspense and thrills are the essential qualities of all the stories which are selected, from the pick of all the publisher’s lists, by an all-male editorial board who know the kind of tough, hard-hitting reading that men prefer. By its policy of providing vigorous, virile reading of high quality, in fine bindings at low cost the MAN’S BOOK SERIES has deservedly become the outstanding publishing triumph of recent years.

I haven’t started reading the book yet, because after this introduction, what else can the book be but a letdown? DSC_1130


This came today from England from a dear, dear friend, who got China Miéville, one of my favorite writers on this planet (see this review, or see this one), to sign a copy of his excellent novel Embassytown. I am so thankful and happy. I have not been well at all, so any support is nice, but this is just amazing. I would love to link you to her work, she is one of the best living poets I have read, but she does not publish. She is amazing and I am deeply honored. Image

measuring his need

So I’ve been discovering the amazing poetry of John Matthias. The book I’m reading (only book I was able to find in a library) is Northern Summer: New and Selected Poems 1963-1983 and I highly, HIGHLY recommend getting it, reading it etc. He’s damn, damn good. Here is one of the poems.

John Matthias: You Measure John

For posterity you measure John.
For the catalogue
you measure with a tape
his works
and recognize yourself as woman
among women
in the life of this man John, his death.

You measure for the catalogue
the pictures
and their frames
thinking of the others
measuring his need
measuring his pride (who could not
please himself)
measuring his gypsy caravans of children
as he went away to paint, badly,
the famous and the rich.

No, you do not like Augustus John.
Measuring the thickness
of a new biography you offer me
I think -
not. You tell it simply
and with no embellishments yourself.
It is an old story:
some man damages the lives of women
who would love him.
There are various excuses.
One is art.