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Coming Events (Collected Writings)

  • Image: Image
  • Book Type: Cross-Genre
  • by: Susan Gevirtz
  • Date Published: March 2013
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-937658-08-3
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176pp
  • Price: $16.95
  • Review by: Patrick James Dunagan

Coming Events promulgates a non-linear reading practice. The form and content of these “collected writings” challengingly swerve back and forth between critical essay, poetry, and personal essay. When considered as a whole, the book’s tendency toward a deliberative structure of concentricity enchants, as individual pieces loop back on each other in ellipsoidal, interchanging depths of reading. The slow reader, returning again and again to the book’s pages, is justly rewarded against the too-eager skimmer looking for quick buzz-words and easily identifiable markers.

A significant portion of these writings occurred while Gevirtz was completing a dissertation concerning Dorothy Richardson’s work. She describes how she thus had three desks for writing: one for the dissertation, one for other prose, and one for poetry. “Three desks” becomes a reoccurring motif Gevirtz plays with. This juggling of concerns and ongoing interests also includes the demands of parenthood. Gevirtz rigorously interrogates the lines between her various writings and her life. Her writing blends a critical acumen with a bold embrace of embodied placement within the historical time of her social and creative relationships.

She asks: “Does, can a wounded and double-faced, doubt-filled, unfaithful to orders, faceless, full frontal critical writing exist?” and “Why do we even need to call this writing that enlists the wounded, double-faced, doubt-filled and faceless, something other than poetry?” Why indeed? Gevirtz offers an example of what writing might mean when it is freed of outside expectations. Liberated from her own hesitancies, given over to doubt as she claims, her writing is a beacon for future work. This mapping out of work yet to come is a whirling spiral of multiple texts, personal situations, and public dilemmas she spreads before readers, inviting participation.

Gevirtz sends us out to other texts, immensely enriching our reading of her own work. Her writing asks of us that as often as we pick up her book, we put it down again as we go in search of a text that she just deemed worthy of mention. Dorothy Richardson is the first such call to read, especially for those not familiar with her work, such as myself. Yet I also felt compelled to revisit Barbara Guest’s poems, the immensity of the looming importance of her project never having been in question. And I found myself wondering what Kathleen Fraser has been up to lately, if perhaps a nice large selection, even a collected works, might be appearing, not to mention simply new work. Then there are Gevirtz’s own poems, of which there are no doubt plenty more to come while a healthy “selected” will hopefully land in print soon. Gevirtz offers touching, yet appropriately rigorous tribute to these writers, along with the brilliance of Frances Jeffers. This is work about work, endlessly generative, vitally strong.

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Review Posted on January 09, 2014

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