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Aufgabe - 2007

  • Issue Number: Number 6
  • Published Date: Spring 2007
  • Publication Cycle: Annual

With a name like Aufgabe, I had no idea what to expect from this journal. What I found was a brilliant collection of avant-garde poetry that knocked my socks off. Guest editor Raymond Bianchi explained in the introduction that this issue was chosen to “showcase both established and emerging Brazilian poets,” some whose works are translated here for the first time. Some of the poetry is “Concrete, or visual poetry,” which Bianchi explains “is everywhere in Brazil.” There is no way to explain it except to tell you to look at it, please! Words are arranged all over the pages, in a pattern, or in no discernable pattern, except to give new meaning to very familiar words. One such poem, by Augusto de Campos, stacked, linear, begins: “low / er / than / the / trash / man / that / smells / like / the / trash.” The concrete poets do not mind splitting words or even creating intriguing puzzles. There is also poetry from the rest of the international community. Some is prose poetry, such as “Essay on Ritual” by Max Winter, “Chora” by Sandra Miller, and “obedience” by karl edwards – they are clearly not essays – the language spells p-o-e-t-r-y. Some poems are lists of words, chosen, not random, for example: “Favorite Words” by Maria Esther Maciel; “Oblivious, Oblique, Obvious, Vestigial, Lascivious, Malicious, Lubricated, Arugula, Delirious…” Try reading these poems out loud. Even the poetry that looks at first glance to be more classic is out-of-the-ordinary. Witness “Methodology” by Devon Wootten: “The range in which we function // interrupted / modulated // flux and reflux // viewed as an integral / part of a larger whole.” The cover art is a mystical, delicate, pastel watercolor worthy of this mystical poetry. There are also a number of worthy reviews and essays with no prior editorial constraint. Aufgabe is a cerebral and magical experience, not to be missed.

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Review Posted on September 30, 2007

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