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Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language, 10 May 2012

Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... earlier, more self-confident polyglottist, Ezra Pound. Perloff finds a precursor for all this in Walter Benjamin, who during the 1930s collected thousands of quotations (mostly in French) about Paris, its glass and iron shopping arcades, its street fights, its shopgirls, its effects on Baudelaire and Marx. Adding comments (in German), Benjamin sorted the ...

Submission

Robert Taubman, 20 May 1982

A Chain of Voices 
by André Brink.
Faber, 525 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 571 11874 7
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How German is it 
by Walter Abish.
Carcanet, 252 pp., £6.75, March 1982, 0 85635 396 5
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Before she met me 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 183 pp., £6.50, April 1982, 0 224 01985 6
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Providence 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 183 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 224 01976 7
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Getting it right 
by Elizabeth Jane Howard.
Hamish Hamilton, 264 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 241 10805 5
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... The voices in A Chain of Voices are those of 30 characters, Boer farmers and their hired labourers and slaves, in the Cape in the early 19th century. The voices are ‘all different yet all the same’: they have a situation in common, and its main features are oppression and revolt. The novel is a series of interior monologues, which record the events of a local slave rising in the Bokkeveld in 1825, the individual histories of those concerned, and the folk memories that help to explain the situation: We of the Khoin, we never thought of these mountains and plains, these long grasslands and marshes as a wild place to be tamed ...

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