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This review is taken from PN Review 195, Volume 37 Number 1, September - October 2010.

LIGHT ON HORSEBACK NICOLE BROSSARD, Selections, Introduction by Jennifer Moxley (University of California)
DOUGLAS MESSERLI, My Year 2004: Under Our Skin: Readings, Events, Memories (Green Integer, 2008)
THÉRÈSE BACHAND, luce a cavallo (Green Integer)
CHRISTOPHER MIDDLETON, Depictions of Blaff (Green Integer)
ADRIANO SPATOLA, The Position of Things: Collected Poems 1961–1992, translated by Paul Vangelisti, edited with an afterword by Beppe Cavatorta (Green Integer)
A Manner of Utterance: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne, edited by Ian Brinton (Shearsman Books).

Can everything that is called culture be brought to the same measure, and if so what could it be? Some people would immediately answer this question with others – whose measure? whose conception of culture could really be wide enough to reasonably claim to encompass all of so-called cultural production with its mixed audiences, contexts and communities of interpretation? Films, novels, poetry, music, dance, visual and performance art, television comedy, animation, computer games – each of these apparently discrete cultural forms turns out, on closer examination, to be subdivided several times, and every one of these subdivisions hotly contended and infinitely debatable by different communities of interest, kinds of consumers with dissimilar levels of investment and several hundred axes to grind. American writer and publisher Douglas Messerli’s My Year 2004: Under Our Skin, one of a series of such compendiums of his reviews and commentaries, offers us the solution of becoming a sort of paradigmatic cultural consumer.

A culture activist, prolific poet, a writer and publisher with a wide-ranging social agenda, Messerli seems always at a trot between readings, viewings and performances, as he attempts to reconstruct and define his life, and ours, through his accounts of them: ‘Sex, gender, race, class; our social gatherings of friends, family, relatives – these things are deeply lodged within us, determining how we act and what we think, what we love and what we hate – the terrible itch of our desires.’ His accounts – of American nineteenth- and twentieth-century ...


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