Sunday, March 20, 2016

No Work Finished Here: Rewriting Andy Warhol. - Liz Worth (Book Thug)

Today's book of poetry:
No Work Finished Here: Rewriting Andy Warhol. 
Liz Worth.  Book Thug.  Toronto, Ontario.  2015.

NoWorkFinishedHere_LizWorth_highres_9781771661645 (2)

Today's book of poetry is slightly confused, I don't know what to explain first, my technique for choosing today's poems or Liz Worth's technique for writing them.

Let's start with Liz Worth and her astonishing second book of poems No Work Finished Here: Rewriting Andy Warhol.  Worth has taken the 1968 Andy Warhol novel A Novel and eviscerated it.   Within a self-imposed set of boundaries Worth tackles each page to tear away what isn't needed and to savour the juicy morsels, rendering them down to inexplicably fine poems.

You are here

I didn't do a thing last night
felt like a ghost
just staying up and all that, just talking
car noises in the background.
Some of my throat is gone.
Need some Obertrols--blue ones, blasting
oh, the orange ones are divine.

Is there ANY place we can keep calling
voice on the other end
know where we can get some.
This number in front of us--sister would know us.

We should start for the park. Takes forever.
Asleep on the bus, too gorgeous.
It's all right--fantastic baby,
you definitely are here.

...

And we are there.  Boom.  Worth plants us in the Factory with these poems that are a remixing distillation of Warhol's novel.  But they are so much more.  These poems are electric.  No Work Finished Here is simply a towering achievement.  Page after page after page of this opus burns.  It's a bit like going for that blue flame, dipping your fingers in lighter fluid and catching lit matches.   Whooosh.

Today's book of poetry was completely gob-smacked by No Work Finished Here and so was everyone in the office.  Our morning read hasn't had quite that smirky smack in the head edge since we last read Susan Musgrave, another great Canadian poet who can burn.

Push to tell

Kill me
in a fake voice,
disguising the real day.
Make them believe
we're stars,
unbearable to live with.
They hate me
for being what I am and
all your friends
get so mad at you.
Why should we wait here
like this, with doubt;
come and talk to me,
push to tell
how we are.

...

Andy Warhol was one interesting cat and Today's book of poetry is slightly ashamed to say we've never read A Novel.  We sure want to now.

Today's book of poetry isn't able to tell you anything about Andy Warhol or the Factory that you don't already know -- but Liz Worth sure can.  No Work Finished Here opens up the Factory like it was a can of tuna and Worth was the can opener, she just rips the top off of that thing.  Then she reaches in a plucks out the best of what she needs, hammers them into gems.

And that would be enough.  Worth does more than that.  She bridges the gap from the Factory to us, the reader and then tells us how we are.

Values

I wanna tell you something
very secret:
my voice
is turned up
to drown out
all possible
conversation.
Background obstructs
those people
in the other room
with their fucking values.
Their tactics
have led 
to nothing.

Aren't you going
to fuck
for five minutes
with me?
On tape?
In the elevator,
pressing that button,
there's time for
charity, falsity.

...

So since Today's book of poetry pretty much loved every poem in No Work Finished Here (and that never happens, seriously), today's poems were chosen at random and with confidence.

If you want to know exactly how we made our random choices please send two Crying Charlies and a buck-fifty to Today's book of poetry with your enquiry.  You know the address.

No Work Finished Here: Rewriting Andy Warhol is one big thick lovely tome, coming in at over 450 pages, and for this reader it is a high water mark for Canada's most adventurous small press, Toronto's Book Thug.

Saying wow isn't saying enough, as far as Today's book of poetry is concerned No Work Finished Here gains immediate entry into that lovely pantheon of absolutely essential Canadian poetry classics.

Liz Worth

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Liz Worth is a Toronto-based author. Her first book, Treat Me Like Dirt: An Oral History of Punk in Toronto and Beyond, was the first to give an in-depth account of Toronto’s early punk scene. She has also released a poetry collection called Amphetamine Heart and a novel called PostApoc. You can reach her at www.lizworth.com, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/lizworthbooks), or Twitter @LizWorthXO.

BLURBS
“Liz Worth’s collection of poems is a testament to both her artistry and daily discipline. In an age of diminished attention, her perseverance in daily poem—making by mining the same source over and over reminds us that artists can be a model of life without distraction-how to go deeper and deeper until you find yourself looking back at you.” 
     — Heath Allen, composer of Andy, A popera

“What if you tore apart the city’s tenderloin; if you seized its ephemera and — before burning all the sweet voodoo — collected the best, and most brilliant cuts? This is Liz Worth’s stylish master-nightmare, No Work Finished Here. This is ‘the start of something true.'”
     — Lynn Crosbie, author of Where Did You Sleep Last Night

Liz Worth
@
Mike Geffner Presents The Inspired Word
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
116 MacDougal Street Bar/Lounge
Manhattan
Video: InspiredWordNYC

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Poems cited here are assumed to be under copyright by the poet and/or publisher.  They are shown here for publicity and review purposes.  For any other kind of re-use of these poems, please contact the listed publishers for permission.

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