War

Veiled Spill: A Sequence

veiled-spill-cover

Veiled Spill:A Sequence
Jan Clausen

GenPop Books
Poetry, 7.5″ x 9.5″, 92 pp, trade paperback
ISBN-13: 9780982359471
October 2014

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Begun in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster and European laws banning the full face veil, Jan Clausen’s Veiled Spill unfolds a meditation on the links and gaps between interior glimpses and sprawling histories, between the beauty of the moment and the terror of the plot. Bridging poetry and prose, lyric and documentary, sampling and improvisation, it tracks the brooding presence of brittle technologies, the obdurate contingencies of gender and race, the fate of religious questions in the absence of gods, and the desperate freedom of art at a time when conventional social action seems powerless to avert the wreck of the biosphere. Transfixed by the pressure of wildly cascading events that engulf the very possibility of narrative order, the sequence hints, as well, that in a world where “what is veined/is spilling everywhere,” we are already in the revolutionary situation.

The veils and spills in Clausen’s book are myriad: Muslim niqabs, toxic overflows of radiation, suppressed desire, information leaking through redacted military documents, the fluidity of gender, sugar—and then poison—left out in the kitchen for ants…. As Clausen’s sequence cartwheels from found and collaged government documents to litanies to homophonic translations, it acknowledges the limitations of such experimentation in the face of environmental and other impending doom: “I can do what I want with form but not for long,” she writes….

—Arielle Greenberg, “What to Read Now — Some Vital Books from 2014,” in American Poetry Review

Below the surface chaos of Clausen’s Veiled Spill lies a complex ecosystem of balanced binaries: between narrative and fragmentation, between spectacle and interiority, between linguistic playfulness and the major social and political issues of our time. Throughout, Clausen invents forms which perfectly place her poems at home on the page, each new structure appearing to arise autonomously and revelatory from its subject matter. Equal parts thoughtful, analytical, and passionate, Veiled Spill welcomes the reader with a handshake and a smack across the face.

—Amy King

Veiled Spill is a work of exquisite, evocative language, and frightening insight. Clausen has created a dire warning to all of us living on this planet of the dangers of extinction of life itself. Yet, somehow at the same time, she offers a lyrical tribute to the power of voices spilling over, breaking out of veils, speaking truth. Then, once again, we are warned — of the dangers of silence, the losses already incurred. I felt haunted by the imagery and musical repetitions, emotionally shaken by a sense of fear and rage at hypocrisies laid bare, the losses to which we are growing dangerously accustomed. Language itself is a metaphor — fractured and torn, then suddenly put back together, veiled and spilled, broken and gathered again. Jan Clausen is a poet I want to listen to and read as closely as I can, to understand, with heart and mind, what she has seen, what we are all faced with.

—Jane Lazarre

Jan Clausen in Veiled Spill writes of complicated vulnerability and feminist resistance and as she does this, she looks for allies and alliances with such a deep love, with such a lyric invocation.

—Juliana Spahr

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Bad Dog

philpin bad dog cover

Bad Dog
John Philpin

GenPop Books, 2012
ISBN: 9780982359457
Crime Novel | 6″x8″, 220 pp., trade paperback

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The time is 1968. The time is the present. Bad Dog is the fictional memoir of a first-generation American, a writer disillusioned with the last half century of his country’s history. He is a kid who graduated first from Boston’s Roxbury streets then from Harvard, a man in his sixties watching Vietnam replayed in Iraq, a draft dodger from a family of veterans, a young man whose promise to a child to find her missing friend is more important than his flight to Canada to avoid trial for draft evasion.

With a double homicide and kidnapping at the center of Bad Dog, John Philpin’s latest novel certainly qualifies for the crime genre, but this “fiction” from one of America’s first independent criminal profilers also asks: What are the biggest crimes, and who perpetrates them? Philpin’s most autobiographical work to date, Bad Dog takes the reader from a backwoods Vermont homicide into a tale about war and the lies that have led us into wars, a tale of living through two bouts of national madness.

Bad Dog is a fictional memoir about crime and life by an author who understands both well. At the center of the tale is a double murder and the abduction of a child, but the biggest crimes of all are the lies perpetrated by a government bound and determined to wage war. Head down the rabbit holes of Vietnam and Iraq with a trippy, disillusioned guide who refuses to dance to the drumbeats of death.  You’ll feel compelled to read non-stop but forced to pause to contemplate the truths on each page. An unforgettable read.

—Diane Fanning, author of ten works of true-crime and five mystery novels including Twisted Reason, the most recent in the Lucinda Pierce series

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