now available for purchase through SPD. Alternately, you can save a few dollars and buy the book from me directly (e-mail is above). Review copies are also available.
Jasper Bernes’s magnificent and multi-layed first book, Starsdown, emerges to take the measure of the last American city as its physical space collapses into specters and marks, where “the sky is a swimming pool,” and the signs and stars keep switching places. Beneath Los Angeles’ glittering, flat surface, the blurring of utopia and ruin: this book animates the profusion of irreconcilable vernaculars and histories that the city’s “pastel-washed meta-burglaries” have contrived to make disappear. In Bernes’s vision, hardboiled and crackling through the post-Pynchonian circuitry, the bars are named The Regrettable Incident and the cry is for “Socialism or Barbie.” Here Walt Whitman and Walt Disney, Adorno and Ice-T, gumshoe noir and Divine Comedy meet in the parking lots and derelict spaces that Nathanael West once described as “a Sargasso of the imagination.” An archaelogy of futures past and futures to come, Starsdown improvises a poetry which stands finally as actual invention and possibility: “a field the discovery of which / might mean a / Northwest Passage cut right through every home, car, tower / fear monumentalizes.”