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Joan Retallack: ERRATA 5UITE

Edge Books
PO Box 25642
Washington DC, 20007

64 pp., $8.00

This book is a series of five-line take-offs on (from) errata slips. Retallack starts with a correction explaining a correction, saying what the prescribed fix is ("read poisonous snake not snack")--and from there she goes somewhere else altogether. These pieces are full of lingual shorthand, anachronisms, bits of foreign words, roots of words. The whole is an astonishing, melodic, humorous song. While any traditional "sense" is denied, the pieces begin to take on a wonderful logic of their own, flowing. In an odd way ERRATA 5UITE in its core of misreadings, misspellings, and alternate meanings, presents us with just the required poetry corrective. We get it right this time.--Jessica Grim

ERRATA 5UITE lets the error stray in a fluid movement among the "zero sum ergo blather" of systematic thought. Error, corrected, leads to the progress of knowledge? The "allreasonable dog stranded on causal plane", "apostrophe's tragik musico philosophicus" will "read land and math for lang and myth," "for the undeniable is all they seek"--"God upon His solemn Review finds not one Erratum in the Book of Nature whole as writ." But "she la cantatrice whenas she goes without a trace" sics Derrida on this (philosophy is a boys' club if there ever was one)--"she read I now (know) this Kant bee rite"--read "cum for sum (ma) la logical." Or so would go one of many possible wanderings through this suite. Another would start with the delightful "conversations of the (alphabetized) philosophers" Retallack makes, in conversation herself with Richard Rorty's way of reading philosophy playfully.--Charlotte Pressler

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This review originally appeared in TapRoot Reviews #5,
Copyright Burning Press 1994, 1996.

Contact the editor, luigi-bob drake, at Burning Press