The Totality for Kids


The Totality for Kids
by Joshua Clover
University of California Press, 2006

Joshua Clover’s first book, Madonna Anno Domini, was a tremendous book, and this one ranks right there with it.  Consider:

Baroque Parable

The leopards eat the priests and slink from the temple in their robes.
New priests grow up through the paving stones in the plaza.

While we walked around the pure systems summer guttered.
No one gets to heaven on the Rue Asymptote.

Our city like the collected gospels written on a single page.
Overgrown now with leopard-flowers and priest-flowers.

Can the alphabet be said to have its own weather?
Snow is falling in the margins of this story.

Beautiful and delicate poems. I’m sure I miss much of what is constructed in or into some of these,  or at least the literary theorist perspective. Clover is a second-generation UC Berkeley theorist (his mother, Carol J. Clover, came up with the final girl theory of horror films), and I just don’t read on those levels, entertain heavy thoughts about totalities, and societal renovations. I may have once thought it important to gain understanding in order to be able to engage in he  fullest possible reading, but not now. I enjoy them from my perspective, not from theirs (the poems) or his (Clover’s).

Grade: B+

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