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Heights of the Marvelous: A New York Anthology Paperback – May 26, 2000


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1st edition (May 26, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031226335X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312263355
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.6 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,642,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

The contemporary poetry scene is livelier than ever, and nowhere more so than in New York City, as a cursory glance at the Poetry Calendar proves. But you'd never know it from Colby's anthology. In theory Colby should know the hip young poets of New York well; he used to run the Wednesday night readings at the Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church. Unfortunately, he has collected what appears to be the dregs of the self-anointed Next Big Things, the sort of mixture of gimmicky performance pieces, faux surrealism, and dogged doggerel that has become the depressing staple of the downtown scene. The writers herein range from the dimestore dada of Brenda Coultas and the editor himself to Anselm Berrigan's fractured aphorisms tied together by ampersands to the tedious list-making rants of Kenneth Goldsmith and the inverted clichés of Mitchell Highfill. One gets every conceivable form of secondhand Beat writing, from the cut-up method to apparently drug-induced fantasias. Colby made an effort to seek out writers for whom poetry is really a side project, an interesting notion except when the results are the tedious drivel emanating from rock'n'rollers Lee Ranaldo (heavily derivative use of typography in the interests of outraging the bourgeoisie) and Mimi Goese (prose poetry that reads like a cross between Jim Morrison and Rod McKuen), and contributions from playwright Mac Wellman that can only be described as gnomic, surrealist fortune-cookie fillers. The only writers to emerge from this mess with their dignity intact are Maggie Estep, who contributes an amusing short story in dialogue about unrequited sexual longing, and Amy Fusselman, who offers some inventive embarrassing moments (like seeing her 72-year-old realtor perform at a strip joint).If this is the future of poetry in New York, then poetry has no future. -- Copyright © 2000 Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Review

"This anthology is very good news. The poems of these definitive NYC poets really feel like the ultimate edges, and the view from their heights is marvelous indeed. I love the intense diversity of the various poets."—Robert Creeley

"This anthology showcases current, inventive modes of New York City poetry"—Leslie Scalapino

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
... I thought this book had a lot of literary merit, and though I agree that Lee Renaldo's work, with it's over the top bold 24 pt. typography, is pretty amateurish--"flash me flash me c'mon now you're not flashing me" (I think he is one of only two obvious mistakes in this anthology, the other being Beau Sia, whose short quirky poems may be fun on open mike night but don't work on the page--"I want to be known as the guy who shot beau sia in the face"--end of poem), I DON"T agree that Maggie Estep's short story has any integrity at all--"Do I look angry? He screamed. She held the phone away from her ear..." It's pretty dull with uninventive language and not as cute as it's trying to be. Highlights of this book, and there are many, are Prageeta Sharman, "Some formula for sacred council as not to weep into the meadow grass...", Carl Hanccok Rux, "The conflation of rapture and regret (born out in those sequestered regions of the body, unterrained/outlawed by our fathers and subjected to extreme lore of hope and monotheism) transmogrifies when you touch me/an apocolypse of destroying temples and murdering eunuchs who keep the Sabbath..." and Micheal Portnoy "Here, in the lather of sebum, of the decomposed, the misconstrued, the imprecise and everything else abandoned out of weakness, I prepare the milk bath. ..."
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a big fan of literary anthologies I eagerely purchased this book based on its title and some of the folks between the covers...I was moved (to tears and laughter) by what I found there. New York City is definitely (still) the literary capital of the U.S...The variety in this anthology is astounding; somebody took a big chance putting so many diverse authors together and guess what? It works! Personal favorites: Edwin Torres, Todd Colby Kenneth Goldsmith, Marianne Vitale (a young poet who reminds me of Bernadette Mayer at her best), Michael Portnoy,and Lee Ranaldo. Thanks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 8, 2003
Format: Paperback
Oh, these tawdry agendas. Heights..is a great
collection of poems. Jordan Davis, et al.
are producting some of the most interesting poems
in the world. These are young writers that have
managed the difficult feat of absording the french
avant garde, while still paying attention to the
clarity, lack of pretention and abstract realism
of the Beats. They know what they are doing.
They would know painting and film etc. as well as
the literature. That isn't a fault. They could
sit down and write like Verlaine or Proust; but they
choose to write from their own experience, and
cultural terms. The work is diverse and accomplished
while still remaining accesible. It is A rare feat,
that for some inoncievable reason, is still met
with boos even the expamples of Frank O'Hara and Auden.
Oh when, Oh when will we let poetry find some
cool breeze and fresh air again?... Or at least admit
when it has. They are a bit overly clever and
gimmicky (maybe)at times. But one thinks you might
not exactly "get it."
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
What a cranky, mean spirited review from our fine friends at Kirkus. There must be a reason why there's no name attached to it, no? I like this anthology for the intense variety and true inventiveness of just about all the poets. While there may be one or two weak spots it is a terrific gathering of poets who will no doubt still be around shaking things up in 20 or 30 years...unlike that Kirkus reviewer who will no doubt be living in a shack in the woods mumbling bitter odes to the gnats.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By seau bia on September 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
let me just express the suicidal depression going through beau sia because his name has not been mentioned in any capacity in any of the reviews. do you know what this does to his fragile ego? he knows he can't write, but to be nonexistent? forgettable? he is crying. i hope you're happy with yourselves. real big men. real big, grown up people. shame on you. shame. and furthermore, i'm not him. i'm a friend of beau's. and the anthology is (insert positive adjectives here). plus, i am applying for the assistant manager position at a local starbucks. wish me luck!
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More About the Author

Todd Colby has published six books of poetry: Ripsnort, Cush, Riot in the Charm Factory: New and Selected Writings, and Tremble & Shine, all published by Soft Skull Press. Most recently, he is the author of Flushing Meadows (Scary Topiary Press, 2012), and Splash State (The Song Cave, 2014). He was also the editor of the poetry anthology Heights of the Marvelous: A New York Anthology (St. Martin's Press, 2001). Colby, also a visual artist and performer, has been broadcast nationally on PBS, MTV, NPR for Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac, and KCRW's Bookworm, hosted by Michael Silverblatt. He was the lead singer for the critically acclaimed band Drunken Boat. Todd is a frequent collaborator with artist Marianne Vitale, and art collective Kunstverein. His books and paintings with the artist David Lantow can be seen in the Brooklyn Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art special collections libraries. Colby serves on the Board of Directors for The Poetry Project, where he teaches poetry workshops. He also serves on the Editorial Board of LungFull! Magazine and is a contributing editor for Cousin Corrine's Reminder. Colby has been invited to read at Maison de la Poesie (Paris), Oxfam Books (London), The Poetic Research Bureau (Los Angeles), The Public Theater, Performa 13, The Poetry Project, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Rubin Museum, New York University, The New School for Social Research, Brooklyn Public Library, Cornell University, The Kingston Writers Conference, PS 122, and more. He posts new work on gleefarm.blogspot.com.