For Kid Rock
7 x 9
On sale: mid-May
Michael Scharf has produced a carefully unbeautiful and tough-minded meditation on the meaning of the word "freedom" in the years after 9/11, a ventriloquistic tour de force that recreates the paranoia of high theory, the detournements of downtown, and the panicky helplessness that expressed itself by the endless inventorying of loss, of death, of corporate and material conditions. But it is ventriloquism, a commentary on the inside as well as the outside of that moment. It is what Debord might have written if Debord had had a sense of humor. But though the moral laminate of irony is thick, experientially, and in the perverse end, this bristly and formally imaginative prose object is honest, tender, and beautiful.
The five 'acts' of Scharf's bildungsdrama shimmy between intellectual rigor and an allergic sort of physicality. As one line in FKRTF has it: "Permission itself implies a body/ that can grant it." Scharf's sterling mind and risky, original prosody take one through the kind of deliberation and daily urban avoidance that political philosophers tend to overlook. The poetry is learned, full of flair and politically unruly.
Wow Mike, I never knew!
Now everybody can get in on it.
Lee Ann Brown