Michael Scharf, Verite, ubu editions, 2002, PDF download.

Fascinating and pained explorations of the junctures of cathexis and cultural capital. Verite opens with an essay which is perhaps the most original _day my father died_ confessional poem ever written.

Much of the work here is possessed by a lyrical scrutiny and a broad dyspepsia with history coming up in guilty, humorous and ironic burbs. The language moves in searching and uncomfortable fits from and over the interlocking strands of personal and political life, using only the fray as material.

Sharf returns again and again to a mode where the poet’s role is to directly and indirectly draw information about life from things that are in front of him, rather than try to fulfill expectations about an experience, or present raw blocks of the textures of language.

It is not unlike the poetries of Olson, Ben Friedlander and John Clarke in its way of scanning weirdly over one’s own personal and collective history at the same time with one ear on the formalism and one eye on an environmentalizing of subjective states, subjectivizing of environmental states.

There is a beautifully crafted propositional dynamic at work here as well, and a sweet, odd songlike reaction to undercurrents of personal and communal disappointment. These two elements, inert by themselves, chemically bond to form a kind of information-rich poetic epoxy.

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