Museums, Archives, Monuments, Bureaus
Here for excerpt.
From Kent Johnson's review, Buffalo Poetics Listserv, May 10, 1999:
Is this Schuster's passport into our State or our passport into his?
Scripted question. But it's not clear who is speaking. The Museums and Archives, Monuments and Bureaus, in a kind of Foucauldian play on the pathetic fallacy, speak at us, though sometimes, too, an "I" interrupts, and sometimes a kind of narrator, like the guide on the headset in the museum or like a person talking to himself. But this confusion of authority is part the point, isn't it, for it's much of the truth of our current state. Our Institutions _do_ speak, are outside and inside us at the same moment, and when we speak we speak them and they speak us. Thus who is listening as a question we need to listen to. Scripted sentence. Boring Belgrade rubble replaced by grieving American students. F-16's in formation, majestic over teacher's funeral. Commercial for Lockheed, joyous child holding paper airplane aloft. Let us pray. Must teach Our children that violence is not the answer, says teary President inside of us, making heads nod. How surprising to the refugee when she sees the saplings shiver their leaves inside the transparent torso of the border guard. Now give me your archives and go to NATO, he says, if you love them so much. On page 27:
"You are the sum of your storages: organs of memory, organs of the morning, organs of waiting, organs of identity. To tend the archive is a kind of organology."
A bit Jabes in its aphoristic proceeding, a bit Popa in its mythic charge, a bit Simic in its cobbling of surreal miniatures, a bit Palmer in its hieratic namings, a bit Museum of Jurassic Technology--the whole book--in its wunderkammer (sp?) feel, its oscillations between the true and the not and the third thing that is then thrown into thought, though who knows what name that third thing has (something expiring between the tip of the tongue and the top of the teeth, I think, when we make the sound of the).
[..] It is the size of Mao's Little Red book, but blue. Remember once, in the late 70's, I worked with a guy on a demonstration in Milwaukee to protest First Wisconsin Bank stock holdings in South Africa. For some reason I thought he was a Mennonite, but he turned out to be a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party! How surprising that soon whole cities will be a thousand feet underwater. Scripted sentence. Museums, archives, monuments, and bureaus, in slow dissolve beneath a giant lake. Mao, great conceptual artist in his embalmed body. Stalinism with a neo-liberal skull. Humanitarian bombs to bring home refugees fleeing blind rage same bombs inflamed. Supreme Allied Commander on verge of Star Wars prequel proposing to laser-torch Russian ships. Let us pray. Well-meaning poets wringing hands. What can we do?
Review continues: page 2
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