Tuesday, May 31, 2011

parrot on a motorcycle (1924/2010)

Parrot on a Motorcycle : On Poetic Craft
Vitezslav Nezval
translated by Jennifer Rogers
Ugly Duckling Presse
Brooklyn, NY

I have a soft spot for Ugly Duckling Presse. I got to witness one of their "anti-readings" in 2002 and found it refreshingly unpredictable. I have favored their chapbooks and enjoyed their aesthetic, as best as I understood it. This short essay on the "craft of poetics" was originally written in 1924 and was included in Nezval's book Pantomima along with plays, prose pieces, and music. It appears in this form in English and Czech. The cover is a brightly colored image of a bicycle tire. It looks good.

But let me go back to an earlier statement of mine; "I......enjoyed their aesthetic, as best I understood it". I don't see that this very short piece, regardless of the accuracy of its translation and its visuality is worth the effort. Nor the price. As an outsider to their collective effort and mind-set, I don't "get it". So be it. I am not familiar with the work of Nezval and this piece doesn't do much to enlighten me. However, for those who love the work of Ugly Duckling Presse, you ought to find a copy of this one as well.

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