Ben Lerner on Chris Nealon's Heteronomy

Mark Scroggins on Ben Friedlander's One Hundred Etudes

Sink Review on Dana Ward's This Can't Be Life

Dana Ward interview at Hot Metal Bridge

Why Write?


Heteronomy by Chris Nealon, new from Edge Books


Chris Nealon

ISBN 1-890311-38-4

80 pgs, Design by Quemadura


$14.00 direct from Aerial/Edge (regularly $20)

Chris Nealon’s Heteronomy is built out of five long poems, including The Dial. Together they form an overlapping set of mediations on love and friendship and political life. Taking inspiration from a long poetic tradition of self-referential frame devices, Nealon wrote the poems so that each refers to the others, and each is built out of poems within poems – like late-capitalist medieval dream visions in which the poet describes writing a poem, or wishes he were writing, or finds himself startled awake. What’s the poem, and what’s the frame? It’s hard to say – and perhaps because of that, these poems find in the figure of the poet an image of embarrassing self-inflation and comic limitation. They are dedicated to everyone who’s felt that way.

Chris Nealon is the author of two books of literary criticism, Foundlings: Lesbian and Gay Historical Emotion before Stonewall (Duke UP, 2001), and The Matter of Capital: Poetry and Crisis in The American Century (Harvard UP, 2011), as well as two earlier books of poems: The Joyous Age (Black Square Editions, 2004), and Plummet (Edge Books, 2009). He teaches in the English Department at Johns Hopkins University, and lives in Washington, DC.


K. Lorraine Graham's Terminal Humming reviewed by Joe Atkins

Nuclear Socialism Staff Meeting

Fortunately there is, embedded in a forest,
not a bomb but a peaceful nuclear device. Driving recognition
in a cycle background of soft mining
paths to obviate risk. Embarking partition.




Saturday February 5th, 5 PM
@ THE REEF, 2446 18th Street NW, Washington DC

Marie Buck, Leslie Bumstead, Brandon Downing, Buck Downs, Cathy Eisenhower, K. Lorraine Graham, Dan Gutstein, Lacey Hunter, Doug Lang, Emily Liebowitz, K. Silem Mohammad, Chris Nealon, Mel Nichols, Tom Orange, Adam Roberts, Rod Smith, Sandra Simonds, Gary Sullivan, Anna Vitale, & Ryan Walker


Publishers Weekly on Plummet by Chris Nealon

Plummet Chris Nealon. Edge (SPD, dist.), $14 (72p) ISBN 978-1-890311-29-2

Internationally renowned as a scholar of modern poetry and gay and lesbian writing, Nealon is also a formidably intelligent, decidedly challenging poet. This sophomore effort (after The Joyous Age) tends to self-interrogation, self-mockery, and an almost desperate knowingness about every topic under Nealon's blistering sun—politics and political theory, sex, urban life, commerce, language itself. “I am not gay, I am from the future!” one page announces; “Chase after the new, but remember people like it when you repeat yourself,” another poem says. Like Joshua Clover (to whom the book is dedicated), Nealon can sound abrasive, tired beyond argument, worn out by his own sophistication, or else eager to encompass, mock, and surmount various trends: some poems apparently made by “Google-sculpting” (arranging results of Internet searches) may be too au courant to last. Yet Nealon's self-consciousness also provokes compellingly: “Hold fast to your integrity until it becomes Art Song and you have no friends.” The poems present, mull, and sometimes undercut the very presuppositions (that we can ever listen to one another; that we can know what makes us happy or sad) that let other poets write poems at all. Nealon sets himself apart from all convention, sounding comfortable nowhere: that discomfort, that sense of restless, fast inquiry, gives much of his new work its peculiar, dissonant force. (Dec.)

Plummet by Chris Nealon! New from Edge.

Chris Nealon
ISBN 978-1-890311-29-2
64 pgs, Cover by Liliane Lijn
Design by Justin Sirois

$11.00 direct from Aerial/Edge
(regularly $15)

"Nothing you read will help you now"; "I am not gay, I am from the future!"; "Classicism: build your buildings so that even conquering hordes will be like, No way." Plummet is a post-catastrophic work written largely before the current all-American, i.e. global, plunge— imagine a kind of clairvoyant O'Hara distracted by Adorno, and Bear Stearns. It's that pit of the stomach feeling—“Will there be sirens? Toxins? I imagine violence miming reconciliation and then back again." The Believer reporter Stephen Burt observed of his previous collection The Joyous Age that "Nealon's bracing and bitter debut both enters and mocks the tradition of kaleidoscopic, difficult poetry as grand social critique, and makes most new work in that mode sound sloppy or bland by contrast.” In other words, as it says in this new collection "Lifted from the cadences you know and then let fall.”




@ District of Columbia Arts Center
3:00PM, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2009

featuring readings by Leslie Bumstead, Tina Darragh, Jean Donnelly, Buck Downs, Cathy Eisenhower, Heather Fuller, Dan Gutstein, P Inman, Doug Lang, K. Silem Mohammad, Chris Nealon, Mel Nichols, Phyllis Rosenzweig, & Rod Smith

Edge Books, comprising over 40 titles across the spectrum of avant-garde writing in English, has established an international reputation for publishing the finest in innovative writing, including award-winning works by Kevin Davies and Joan Retallack. Many of our titles have been reviewed in such publications as The Village Voice, The New York Times, and Publishers Weekly. Come celebrate with us!

For more information on Edge visit

Admission is $5.00.

District of Columbia Arts Center is located at 2438 18th Street NW in Adams Morgan, Washington, DC, between the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park metro stations. For directions, see the DCAC web site at


Monday, December 14th, 7:30 PM
K. Silem Mohammad, Lacey Hunter, Ken Jacobs
@ Bridge Street

Thursday, Dec 17th, 8pm
Sally Keith, Karen Anderson, Casey Smith, & Maureen Andary
Big Bear Cafe, 1st & R NW

Saturday, December 19th, 8 PM
A celebration & reading for The Narrow House
publication of the i.e. reader
Dionysus Restaurant & Lounge
8 E. Preston Street


An Evening with Anselm Berrigan and Norma Cole
San Francisco, City Lights Bookstore

Wednesday, December 9, 2009, 7:00 P.M.

Jules Boykoff & Kaia Sand
The Poetry Project, NYC
Monday, December 7, 8:00 pm

K. Silem Mohammad's The Front in the news

Chris Nealon: "John Ashbery's Optional Apocalypse"

Mel Nichols, Elisabeth Workman, & Nada Gordon
conducted by Drew Gardner

Nov 22nd at the Zinc Bar, NYC