Friday, March 17, 2006

Eugene Ostashevsky's Iterature

Here's an unabashed plug for a book I recently very much enjoyed:

Eugene Ostashevsky
Ugly Duckling Press

Right from the start, Ostashevsky’s Iterature declares itself: the cover shows, apropos, the headless horseman rearing up, the wind blasting behind him. And, indeed, we’re in for quite a chase through Romania, Coke ads, Spinoza, safaris, and rhyming, rhyming, rhyming!

Ostashevsky plays with language and narrative as if they were taffy:

We did what we had to do

We rhymed pillage with village
The responsibility rests with language.

We had nothing to do with it
We’re just a bunch of fictional characters

We don’t have any other characters
Except for out letters, that is our characters

Iterature is so rad: it moves a whopping pace and, believe me, it’s a pleasant sort of work keeping up with the layered references, entendres, and linguistic gymnastics. Honestly, and strangely enough, despite the suffused wit throughout, Iterature is very nearly mythic.