Nervous Device: City Lights Spotlight Series No. 8 by Catherine WagnerNervous Device: City Lights Spotlight Series No. 8 by Catherine Wagner

Nervous Device: City Lights Spotlight Series No. 8

byCatherine Wagner

Paperback | November 2, 2012

Pricing and Purchase Info

$20.50

Earn 103 plum® points
HURRY, ONLY 1 LEFT!
Quantity:

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores

about

InNervous Device, Catherine Wagner takes inspiration from William Blake's bounding line" to explore the poem as a body at the intersection between poet and audience. Using this as a figure for sexual, political, and economic interactions, Wagner's poems shift between seductive lyricism and brash fragmentation as they negotiate the failure of human connection in the twilight of American empire. Intellectually informed, yet insistent on their objecthood, Wagner's poems express a self-conscious skepticism even as they maintain an optimistically charged eroticism.""Wagner's fourth collection contains poems of memory and dark artifice. She writes with an obscure, magnetic lens. . . . Wagner contrasts these complicated poems with short, clean, pieces that offer a kind of breathing space for the reader. Not to be mistaken for trivial, the linguistic tightness of these poems are highlights of Wagner's collection."-Publishers Weekly"Taking with one hand what they give with the other, Wagner's poems are full of vehemence and disdain and tenderness and somewhere, in some inexpugnable part of the body of language through which so many discomforting feelings pass, a thorny kind of joy. This is my idea of great poetry: in which 'The actual is / flickering a binary / between word and not-word.'"-Barry Schwabsky, Hyperallergic"Nervous Device is such a smart book. You never know where the poems are going to take you, or when some startling, often cringe-making image or thought will intrude. Unable to settle into a comfortable rhetorical space, these poems reject simple claims to knowing something or doing right or changing the world. Rather, they move like an erratic insect stuck in a language bell jar. Brilliant, and disturbing."-Jennifer Moxley"Nervous device, the human machine, palpitating inside its own little bounding lines. These poems do everything the human device does, vibrating like an electrified tornado inside a glass jar, and make this reader profoundly alive to huge swathes of being. There is no machine for mastering the self (yet), but there are Cathy Wagner's poems."-Eleni Sikelianos"The poems in Nervous Device resonate with a knowing nod to time and the difficulty and struggle of being sentient and intimate-of loving while being human. This is poetry connectivty: sexy, poignant, knowing. And the poems here make me feel possible."-Hoa Nguyen"Wagner's poems contain multitudes, at once overflowing with seductive lyricism only to suddenly shift into brash fragmentation. She is informed, but the word subjective has no place whatsoever in her work. As the cover suggests, the potential for human connection is downright erotic for Wagner."Alexis Coe,SF Weekly"The notion that the audience is 'putting [their] finger in [her] vagina' while reading Nervous Device signals one of Wagner's primary thematic concerns in the collection: the complex relationship between poetry, sex, desire, and the body."-Joshua Ware"Wagner is to be lauded, first and foremost, for her daring, her conceptual eclecticism, and her linguistic range... Nervous Device is a clear-eyed and brave testament to the changing currents of a poet's life."-Seth Abramson,The Huffington Post"... the manner in which Wagner structures the language through repetitive dialogue both builds meaning and breaks it apart... Wagner balances disjunction and lucidity, private and public, distant and (riskily) up-close."-Jessica Comola,HTML Giant "
Catherine Wagner was born in Burma to American military parents, afterwards living in the Philippines, Indonesia, Yemen, and India before moving to the US. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, studying with Jorie Graham, Donald Revell, and Denis Johnson, and a PhD from the University of Utah. She's an Associate Profess...
Loading
Title:Nervous Device: City Lights Spotlight Series No. 8Format:PaperbackDimensions:80 pages, 7 × 5.5 × 0.31 inPublished:November 2, 2012Publisher:City Lights PublishersLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0872865657

ISBN - 13:9780872865655

Look for similar items by category:

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Wagner's fourth collection contains poems of memory and dark artifice. She writes with an obscure, magnetic lens. Wagner's longer poems are willfully disorienting: 'A Well Is a Mine: A Good Belongs to Me' consists almost entirely of lines encased in quotation marks that confront slavery and invent equations: 'Freedom × Need = Reality.' Wagner contrasts these complicated poems with short, clean, pieces that offer a kind of breathing space for the reader. Not to be mistaken for trivial, the linguistic tightness of these poems are highlights of Wagner's collection. 'Ta' describes a drowning television: 'o'er and o'er/ let it stink way down/ and coral grew there./ Covered it oar./ Let miserere deep./ Be mine for'air.' The poems delve into and self-consciously warp body, sex, and language. 'Unclang' explores writing poetry: 'it takes experience to write a real poem that is well-lit,' Wagner argues. Later in the same poem we are blindsided by the haunting statement that 'writing a poem is like reaching two prosthetic limbs out as far as you can on either side to grab something in front of you. You can't grab it but maybe you'll take flight.'-Publisher's Weekly"Taking with one hand what they give with the other, Wagner's poems are full of vehemence and disdain and tenderness and somewhere, in some inexpugnable part of the body of language through which so many discomforting feelings pass, a thorny kind of joy. This is my idea of great poetry: in which 'The actual is / flickering a binary / between word and not-word.'"-Barry Schwabsky,Hyperallergic"InNervous Device Wagner has transcended the simply wrong to reach a kind of sublime wrong, so every wince is accompanied by a shiver of pleasure."-Lemon Hound"Wagner is to be lauded, first and foremost, for her daring, her conceptual eclecticism, and her linguistic range... Nervous Device is a clear-eyed and brave testament to the changing currents of a poet's life."-Huffington Post"... the manner in which Wagner structures the language through repetitive dialogue both builds meaning and breaks it apart... Wagner balances disjunction and lucidity, private and public, distant and (riskily) up-close."-HTML Giant"Drawing from her own experiences ? examining sex and sexuality after her divorce, describing her experiences with pregnancy and motherhood, and giving small snapshots into her domestic life - Wagner's work is highly personal, weaving together a quiet intensity with lyrical wordplay... .Like any true artist, she recognizes the need to explore what makes her uncomfortable. Her latest work,Nervous Device, does just that, exploring the poet's role as performer and the boundaries between poet and audience."-Art Animal"Nervous Device, inspired by William Blake, is a compelling collection of poems that twists the abstract echoes of language into the full-body of a deep and hopeful vision."-Electric Review"Playful, spunky and revealing, Catherine Wagner blends her persona with her method of writing. The tone ranges from breezy to breathy and from pastoral to ironic. Externalities (such as oil spills) are internalized and that interface is lit up by the writer's restless navigation."-Jeffrey Cyphers Wright "Wagner's fourth collection contains poems of memory and dark artifice. She writes with an obscure, magnetic lens. Wagner's longer poems are willfully disorienting: "A Well Is a Mine: A Good Belongs to Me" consists almost entirely of lines encased in quotation marks that confront slavery and invent equations: "Freedom x Need = Reality." Wagner contrasts these complicated poems with short, clean, pieces that offer a kind of breathing space for the reader. Not to be mistaken for trivial, the linguistic tightness of these poems are highlights of Wagner's collection. "Ta" describes a drowning television: "o'er and o'er/ let it stink way down/ and coral grew there./ Covered it oar./ Let miserere deep./ Be mine for'air." The poems delve into and self-consciously warp body, sex, and language. "Unclang" explores writing poetry: "it takes experience to write a real poem that is well-lit," Wagner argues. Later in the same poem we are blindsided by the hauntingstatement that "writing a poem is like reaching two prosthetic limbs out as far as you can on either side to grab something in front of you. You can't grab it but maybe you'll take flight." - Publisher's Weekly"Taking with one hand what they give with the other, Wagner's poems are full of vehemence and disdain and tenderness and somewhere, in some inexpugnable part of the body of language through which so many discomforting feelings pass, a thorny kind of joy. This is my idea of great poetry: in which 'The actual is / flickering a binary / between word and not-word.'" - Barry Schwabsky,Hyperallergic"InNervous Device Wagner has transcended the simply wrong to reach a kind of sublime wrong, so every wince is accompanied by a shiver of pleasure." - Lemon Hound"Wagner is to be lauded, first and foremost, for her daring, her conceptual eclecticism, and her linguistic range... Nervous Device is a clear-eyed and brave testament to the changing currents of a poet's life." - Huffington Post"... the manner in which Wagner structures the language through repetitive dialogue both builds meaning and breaks it apart... Wagner balances disjunction and lucidity, private and public, distant and (riskily) up-close." - HTML Giant"Drawing from her own experiences - examining sex and sexuality after her divorce, describing her experiences with pregnancy and motherhood, and giving small snapshots into her domestic life - Wagner's work is highly personal, weaving together a quiet intensity with lyrical wordplay... .Like any true artist, she recognizes the need to explore what makes her uncomfortable. Her latest work,Nervous Device, does just that, exploring the poet's role as performer and the boundaries between poet and audience." - Art Animal"Nervous Device, inspired by William Blake, is a compelling collection of poems that twists the abstract echoes of language into the full-body of a deep and hopeful vision." - Electric Review"Playful, spunky and revealing, Catherine Wagner blends her persona with her method of writing. The tone ranges from breezy to breathy and from pastoral to ironic. Externalities (such as oil spills) are internalized and that interface is lit up by the writer's restless navigation." - Jeffrey Cyphers Wright"