Free Cell

Free Cell
City Lights Spotlight No. 2




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Book Review: Anselem Berrigan - Free Cell.

"Anselem Berrigan's Free Cell is a book-length poem divided into three parts -- 'Have a Good One,' 'Let Us Sample Protection Together,' and 'To Hell With Sleep.' It is his fourth book of poetry, and it's published by City Lights. 'Have a Good One' invokes Stephan Mallarme's 'Un Coup De Des Jamais N'abira Le Hazard,' even meta-name-checks it as the reader goes through the verse (Production values / among other grandchildren / of Mallarme), where he encounters unexpected puns (Must we demand / of our pop tarts / a public crack-up / during war time?), jokes (Kingfisher sighting sparks / epic stroll), lines that strike us (I'm micromanaging nausea, Monolithic derelict fuck), neologisms (droolsultory, public meltups), and then there are the thetic chunks...

It is a book designed to be read melodically, in and of itself, and that is something a review can't fully convey.

And but, and yet, and still: this is a smart, strong book, and it's well worth your time."

-Blog Made for the Purposes of One Post Sep 11, 2009

Have a Good One: A Profile of Anselm Berrigan

". . . Berrigan—whose fourth book of poems, Free Cell, is published by City Lights this month—has a relationship to poetry that's a little different from most. He grew up literally surrounded by the stuff. His father, Ted Berrigan, was a major figure in the second generation of New School poets who lived and wrote in and around the East Village in the sixties and seventies. . . . His mother, poet Alice Notley, the future Pulitzer Prize finalist, had just begun publishing her work. . . . Berrigan's new book, Free Cell, is composed of two long poems bridged by a forty-three-line poem titled 'Let us Sample Protection Together.'"

-Kevin Larimer, Poets and Writers Sep 1, 2009

Peacock Online Review: Anselm Berrigan

Read new work from Anselm Berrigan, author of Free Cell.

-Peacock Online Review Aug 5, 2010

Anselm Berrigan's Free Cell

"Why do I think that, out of Rosenberg's The American Action Painters (originally 1952, reprint’d in Tradition of the New), in considering Anselm Berrigan’s Free Cell (City Lights, 2009), particularly in the initial long piece / sequence 'Have a Good One'? (The book consists of 'Have a Good One,' a two-page piece originally order’d by the Composers Collaborative—Berrigan work’d with David First—call’d 'Let Us Sample Protection Together'—beginning with the fully O’Hara-inflect’d 'When I was little I cut off the heads / of many lords. I can’t count on the energy / that took to rise in me at will, but I’ve / strengthened my ability to make a stand-firm surface,' that combo of nonchalant myth-making and flattish data, the personal poised in-between), and a final sequence, 'To Hell with Sleep.')"

-John Latta, Isola di Rifiuti Sep 28, 2009

12 or 20 questions: with Anselm Berrigan

"I am influenced by commercials, timing as related to comedy, acting as related to bad screenplay writing, conversation, speech patterns of all kinds (occasionally in songs or other media with pre-recorded verbal matter, but mostly live), and science fiction as found in comic books, graphic novels, cable television, and cinema. I have also made use of hotel buildings, train commutes, zeros and ones, and the forms of numerous visual art works as models for poetic forms, though I tend not to cite the art works involved beyond responding to my experience of them within the poems."

-Rob McLennan, rob mclennan's blog Aug 26, 2009