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A Mouth in Californiaby Graham Foust
"Foust's undertaking collages a fashionable 21st-century Surrealism with a perennially anarchic Dadaism, exploring an enhanced sense of the emotional self as well as his political stand in the world." Sean Patrick Hill, Rain Taxi (Read the entire Rain Taxi review)
Synopses & Reviews
A Mouth in California, Graham Foust's fourth book of poetry, uses the ironies and anxieties of contemporary life as a foil for mordant and sometimes violent humor. Through mangled aphorisms, misheard song lyrics, and off-key phrasing, Foust creates a unique idiom of tragicomic pratfalls, a ballet of falling down. Yet the elasticity of Foust's language repels the stiff-necked adversaries of thought: what's the wrong way to break / that brick of truth back into music?
"Foust has achieved a wide reputation in and beyond experimental poetry circles for his clipped, breathless poems, often no longer than one or two haiku, but packing an intimate punch that belies their length. In this, his fourth collection, he often lets his poems go on for a page or two, but sacrifices none of their power and concision. Here again are Foust's startling one-liners, just this side of nonsense, yet hauntingly accurate: 'Money belongs together,' 'There should be more works of art like those/ on which I wrote no dissertation,' 'They don't give trophies for frenzy,/ do they?' Here, too, are quiet self-characterizations: 'What takes place in me stays there,' says the excellent, three-page 'Poem Beside Itself.' And, too, there are the 20-word poems for which Foust is known: 'You don't lust/ for what you/ want. You lust/ for what you/ can get. I'll/ carve you your/ hankered-for/ chemical/ oath. I'll show/ you the badge/ in my mouth,' reads, in its entirety, 'Poem with Rules and Laws.' Commenting on contemporary American life without explicitly describing it, Foust (Necessary Stranger) remains a poet to watch." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Into the lacunae rush approximations, summaries, tatters of popular song, gluey rhymes, ill-fitting aphorisms, and often the relaxed rhetorical annotations of a speaker perfectly comfortable making editorial comments on his own perpetually collapsing project." The Constant Critic
Poetry. A MOUTH IN CALIFORNIA, Graham Foust's fourth book of poetry, uses the ironies and anxieties of contemporary life as a foil for mordant and sometimes violent humor. Through mangled aphorisms, misheard song lyrics, and off-key phrasing, Foust creates a unique idiom of tragicomic pratfalls, a ballet of falling down. Yet the elasticity of Foust's language repels the stiff-necked adversaries of thought: "what's the wrong way to break / that brick of truth back into music?"
About the Author
Graham Foust was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The author of four books of poetry, including Necessary Stranger (Flood Editions, 2007), he lives in Oakland, California, with his wife and son and teaches at Saint Mary's College of California.
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