Pound @ Guntánamo

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Throughout these poems is a meeting of obscene or politically charged material, as well as commentary on language usage under extreme circumstances of duress such as the Arab Spring. This is poetry written under conditions of wartime. The title implies an analogy between Ezra Pound, imprisoned at Pisa after World War II, and the inhabitants of the military and CIA prisons at Guantánamo Bay.

Poems cross the page or are more architectural, in tight columns, or curve like a cyberpunk office tower. Entire continents are leaped across in a line or two: “from Burquitlam Plaza to Redondo Beach metro stop/Bush with Burqas for the B.U.” but written in a city where bus drivers fix their trolley lines, and Squamish is a place you drive to, in your imagination, during a job interview conducted over the phone.

Place, in this poetry, is both a name (but whose name? the colonizer? first nation? mall developer?) and a root that grows in one’s popular culture as the only way to recognize the war machine (“why Cadence Weapon left Friendster / why the Flava Flav transformer twins’re buck-toothed”). A final word on style: Burnham’s language is compressed like an MP3 file (a format that uses lossy compression).