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Cover for The Front

The Front

K. Silem Mohammad


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Poetry. Flarf. Kenny Goldsmith said that K. Silem Mohammad is the Andy Warhol of contemporary poetry, acutely scraping the bottom of the cultural barrel with such prescience, precision, and sensitivity that we are forced to reevaluate the nature of the language engulfing us. Our first impulse is to flee, to deny its worth, to turn away from it, to write it off as a big joke; but as with Warhol's car crashes or electric chairs, we are equally entranced, entertained, and repulsed: we can't stop looking. This is important and beautiful work, but not in the way we've come to expect. It's a double-edged sword that Mohammad is holding against our necks, forcing us to look at ourselves in the blade's reflection with equal doses of swooning narcissism and white-knuckled fear. Bob Perelman understands Kasey's work through the chance operations with which he derives his vocabulary: Of those infinite monkeys chained to those infinite typewriters, which one actually came up with King Lear? At first it looks like one of those conundrums that'll never be solved. But with K. Silem Mohammad's THE FRONT we catch a glimpse of a method that just might move us in a fruitful direction. First, take all the language on the web--it's not infinity, but it's what we've got for the moment--then stand exposed to those howling social gales. If you want to know what it feels like to lose sovereignty, go to THE FRONT.

Roof Books, 9781931824354, 104pp.

Publication Date: October 15, 2009