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"This experimental work is not for the faint of heart, but it is laced with meditations that will appeal to readers concerned with poetry’s role in the world."--Publishers Weekly "I am fascinated by their attention to inequality, to questions of violence and community: something borne out by the collaboration itself."--Bhana Kapil's Best Books of 2013 on The Volta "An Army o "This experimental work is not for the faint of heart, but it is laced with meditations that will appeal to readers concerned with poetry’s role in the world."--Publishers Weekly "I am fascinated by their attention to inequality, to questions of violence and community: something borne out by the collaboration itself."--Bhana Kapil's Best Books of 2013 on The Volta "An Army of Lovers explores the liminal spaces where cities and individuals come together and stand apart with strange, brainy grace."--Michelle Tea, author of Mermaid in Chelsea Creek "By means of a series of stylistically and tonally various prose segments (by turns reflexive and dialogic, ironic and depressive, unhinged and hallucinatory, wetly emotional and dryly wry, including a detournement of a Raymond Carver story), the book centers, emotionally, on the ebb and flow of what it calls 'struggle-force.' Signature drone strikes, torture, ecological collapse, environmental illness and chronic fatigue syndrome: it's all connected." --Miranda Mellis, Rain Taxi "The book offers many ways of approaching the age-old questions What makes something art and What makes someone a decent citizen, as well as (if not primarily) exploring the ways in which the answers to these questions might intersect. More impressively, it does so without being didactic and yet without being obscure, as so many efforts at high-concept art tend to be."--Evan Karp, SF Weekly "Fantastical, lyrical, whimsical and wildly experimental, An Army of Lovers is as serious as it is absurd."--Christopher Higgs, HTMLGIANT "Authors who co-write often produce two halves that refuse to coalesce, but East Bay poets Juliana Spahr and David Buuck fuse with fantastic results in this short experimental novel. It's the story of Demented Panda and Koki, two poets united by a desire to write politically engaged works. Wounded, bored, inspired and skeptical, they soldier on through a landscape of toxic spills, consumer excess, odd juxtapositions and trance states."--Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury News "Authors Spahr and Buuck, who appear in this novel as Bay Area poets 'Koki' and 'Demented Panda,' style it up all the way from magical realism to 'new journalism' and Raymond Carver Cathedralspeak, but it's the weary 'I can't go on. I’ll go on' optimism at which wounded veterans of the army of lovers excel. Theirs is a rigorous book, and a book of marvels, with something funny, something painful, stirring on every page."--Kevin Killian, author of Spreadeagle "This picaresque story about the 'particular lostness' of poetry, the ways poems always win and the lives of self-described 'mediocre' poets is actually pretty hilarious! It’s also smart, incisive and politically astute. Now, to the barricades!"--Rebecca Brown, author of American Romances: Essays An Army of Lovers begins with the story of two poets, Demented Panda and Koki, united in their desire to write politically engaged poetry at a time when poetry seems to have lost its ability to effect social change. Their first project is more than a failure, resulting in a spell that unleashes a torrent of raw sewage and surrealistic embodiments of consumerist excess and black site torture techniques. Subsequent chapters feature an experimental composer (Koki?) and a performance artist (Panda?) whose bodies are literally invaded with the ills of capitalism, manifested through leaking blisters and other maladies, as well as a radical remix of a Raymond Carver story, questioning “What We Talk About When We Talk About Poetry.” The novel concludes with Panda and Koki returning to the site of their failed collaboration to conjure up a more utopian vision of “an army of lovers.” Fantastical, lyrical, whimsical and wildly experimental, An Army of Lovers is as serious as it is absurd.


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"This experimental work is not for the faint of heart, but it is laced with meditations that will appeal to readers concerned with poetry’s role in the world."--Publishers Weekly "I am fascinated by their attention to inequality, to questions of violence and community: something borne out by the collaboration itself."--Bhana Kapil's Best Books of 2013 on The Volta "An Army o "This experimental work is not for the faint of heart, but it is laced with meditations that will appeal to readers concerned with poetry’s role in the world."--Publishers Weekly "I am fascinated by their attention to inequality, to questions of violence and community: something borne out by the collaboration itself."--Bhana Kapil's Best Books of 2013 on The Volta "An Army of Lovers explores the liminal spaces where cities and individuals come together and stand apart with strange, brainy grace."--Michelle Tea, author of Mermaid in Chelsea Creek "By means of a series of stylistically and tonally various prose segments (by turns reflexive and dialogic, ironic and depressive, unhinged and hallucinatory, wetly emotional and dryly wry, including a detournement of a Raymond Carver story), the book centers, emotionally, on the ebb and flow of what it calls 'struggle-force.' Signature drone strikes, torture, ecological collapse, environmental illness and chronic fatigue syndrome: it's all connected." --Miranda Mellis, Rain Taxi "The book offers many ways of approaching the age-old questions What makes something art and What makes someone a decent citizen, as well as (if not primarily) exploring the ways in which the answers to these questions might intersect. More impressively, it does so without being didactic and yet without being obscure, as so many efforts at high-concept art tend to be."--Evan Karp, SF Weekly "Fantastical, lyrical, whimsical and wildly experimental, An Army of Lovers is as serious as it is absurd."--Christopher Higgs, HTMLGIANT "Authors who co-write often produce two halves that refuse to coalesce, but East Bay poets Juliana Spahr and David Buuck fuse with fantastic results in this short experimental novel. It's the story of Demented Panda and Koki, two poets united by a desire to write politically engaged works. Wounded, bored, inspired and skeptical, they soldier on through a landscape of toxic spills, consumer excess, odd juxtapositions and trance states."--Georgia Rowe, San Jose Mercury News "Authors Spahr and Buuck, who appear in this novel as Bay Area poets 'Koki' and 'Demented Panda,' style it up all the way from magical realism to 'new journalism' and Raymond Carver Cathedralspeak, but it's the weary 'I can't go on. I’ll go on' optimism at which wounded veterans of the army of lovers excel. Theirs is a rigorous book, and a book of marvels, with something funny, something painful, stirring on every page."--Kevin Killian, author of Spreadeagle "This picaresque story about the 'particular lostness' of poetry, the ways poems always win and the lives of self-described 'mediocre' poets is actually pretty hilarious! It’s also smart, incisive and politically astute. Now, to the barricades!"--Rebecca Brown, author of American Romances: Essays An Army of Lovers begins with the story of two poets, Demented Panda and Koki, united in their desire to write politically engaged poetry at a time when poetry seems to have lost its ability to effect social change. Their first project is more than a failure, resulting in a spell that unleashes a torrent of raw sewage and surrealistic embodiments of consumerist excess and black site torture techniques. Subsequent chapters feature an experimental composer (Koki?) and a performance artist (Panda?) whose bodies are literally invaded with the ills of capitalism, manifested through leaking blisters and other maladies, as well as a radical remix of a Raymond Carver story, questioning “What We Talk About When We Talk About Poetry.” The novel concludes with Panda and Koki returning to the site of their failed collaboration to conjure up a more utopian vision of “an army of lovers.” Fantastical, lyrical, whimsical and wildly experimental, An Army of Lovers is as serious as it is absurd.

30 review for An Army of Lovers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lemar

    This book has muscle, sex and honesty. The prose is poetic throughout, Spahn and Buuk are two of our current times’ Kerouac, O’Hara and Whitman. They deal with Abu Ghraib, social media, the feeling complicity in the crimes of our elected representatives, always keeping the physical body experience involved. I needed this book. “All the while she wondered how a digital sample cut and pasted into a sound piece but somehow capture all that she was now seeing, thinking, feeling, all its implication This book has muscle, sex and honesty. The prose is poetic throughout, Spahn and Buuk are two of our current times’ Kerouac, O’Hara and Whitman. They deal with Abu Ghraib, social media, the feeling complicity in the crimes of our elected representatives, always keeping the physical body experience involved. I needed this book. “All the while she wondered how a digital sample cut and pasted into a sound piece but somehow capture all that she was now seeing, thinking, feeling, all its implications for her art, her desire for some right action in the world outside her computer, her recording and mixing machines, her office, her own isolated life.”

  2. 5 out of 5

    Patty Gone

    Brilliant mediation on and around the question: 'How does one justify making art / writing poetry if it doesn't 'change' anything?' Includes a clever Raymond Carver appropriation, & stick around til the end: the last 15 pages are a continuously surprising poem/rant. Calls to mind Whitman, & Beckett's "I can't go on. I go on," but with unmatched 21st century awareness. Brilliant mediation on and around the question: 'How does one justify making art / writing poetry if it doesn't 'change' anything?' Includes a clever Raymond Carver appropriation, & stick around til the end: the last 15 pages are a continuously surprising poem/rant. Calls to mind Whitman, & Beckett's "I can't go on. I go on," but with unmatched 21st century awareness.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bill Brydon

    "Not a boardroom but a bunker, dug into the wet and muddy ground. Not a bunker but a book, each line redacted except for the numbers. Not a book but a bonfire made from its burning pages, with untold revelers dancing around it. Not a bonfire but a set of bright stage lights, illuminating the small plot of land so that the audience could better see the action. Except that there’s no audience, since all this was happening now and everyone was knee-deep in it, not just watching but as embedded part "Not a boardroom but a bunker, dug into the wet and muddy ground. Not a bunker but a book, each line redacted except for the numbers. Not a book but a bonfire made from its burning pages, with untold revelers dancing around it. Not a bonfire but a set of bright stage lights, illuminating the small plot of land so that the audience could better see the action. Except that there’s no audience, since all this was happening now and everyone was knee-deep in it, not just watching but as embedded participants. Even pointing and gaping was participation. Even taking cellphone photos for documentation was participation. Even standing perfectly still and doing nothing was participation."

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matt McBride

    An insightful look at the role poetry can and can't play in our lives through the surrogates of two performance artists. And while it doesn't a good job exploring the disconnect between effective political action and art, there are no breakthroughs, which is perhaps telling. However, there isn't a white flag either, which is also telling. An insightful look at the role poetry can and can't play in our lives through the surrogates of two performance artists. And while it doesn't a good job exploring the disconnect between effective political action and art, there are no breakthroughs, which is perhaps telling. However, there isn't a white flag either, which is also telling.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jared Levine

    At first I bobbed my head, as they created these wonderfully cooky characters (based on themselves), and at the way they reflected on the state of poetry (which was really spot on), but as I read on, and it got weird--like really weird--I was bursting out in laughter like a goddamn chimp while taking the public transit! They use a lot of well chosen conventions of poetry and prose narrative and the result is a perfect read for me. It's self reflexive and kinda kitschy which really worked. It's a At first I bobbed my head, as they created these wonderfully cooky characters (based on themselves), and at the way they reflected on the state of poetry (which was really spot on), but as I read on, and it got weird--like really weird--I was bursting out in laughter like a goddamn chimp while taking the public transit! They use a lot of well chosen conventions of poetry and prose narrative and the result is a perfect read for me. It's self reflexive and kinda kitschy which really worked. It's a little bit avant garde maybe, and at times uses incantations that made me crinkle my nose and nod along while reading.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Healey

  7. 4 out of 5

    Xantha Page

  8. 4 out of 5

    Josh Beddingfield

  9. 5 out of 5

    Karin Cope

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bret

  11. 4 out of 5

    Xander Paul

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tal

  13. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michael Lloyd-Billington

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jason Christie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Molli

  17. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin

  19. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Simpson

  20. 5 out of 5

    Steven

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  22. 4 out of 5

    Janey

    oooh SUCH a strange and compelling read...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

  24. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  25. 5 out of 5

    Giovanni Zuniga

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Hulan

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy McInnes

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marije de Wit

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz Kellebrew

  30. 5 out of 5

    Diana Rosenberger

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