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The Totality for Kids

Joshua Clover (Author), Calvin Bedient (Series Editor), Robert Hass (Series Editor), Forrest Gander (Series Editor), Brenda Hillman (Series Editor)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 88 pages
ISBN: 9780520246003
April 2006
$24.95, £20.00
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The Totality for Kids is the second collection of poems by Joshua Clover, whose debut, Madonna anno domini, won the Walt Whitman award from the Academy of American Poets. This volume takes as its subject the troubled sleep of late modernity, from the grandeur and failure of megacities to the retreats and displacements of the suburbs. The power of crowds and architecture commingles with the alienation and idleness of the observer, caught between “the brutal red dream/Of the collective” and “the parade/Of the ideal citizen.” The book’s action takes place in these gaps, “dead spaces beside the endlessly grieving stream.” The frozen tableau of the spectacle meets its double in the sense that something is always about to happen. Political furies and erotic imaginings coalesce and escape within a welter of unmoored allusions, encounters, citations, and histories, the dreams possible within the modern’s excess of signification—as if to return revolutionary possibility to the regime of information by singing it its own song.
Poem (We always send it to the wrong address)
Early Style
“Alas, that is the name of our town;
I have been concealing it all this time”
Baroque Parable
Poem (i come across the paving stones)
Blue’s 1900
The Other Atelier
Aeon Flux: June
Auteur Theory
Antwerp rainy all churches still haunted
A-Shaped Gate
Rue des Blancs Manteaux
In Jaufré Rudel’s Song
No More Boffins
Letters and Sodas
French Narratives
Ça ira
Poem (We are bored in the city)
The Dark Ages
En Abyme
“An archive of confessions, a genealogy of confessions”
“Of the city of the dark . . .”
Poem (Tired of people, I wanted the mail to come)
Valiant En Abyme
Feral floats the form in heaven and of light
Parable Lestrange
Poem (So I went out into the nervous system of the air)
A Boy’s Own Story
Return to Rue des Blancs Manteaux
Whiteread Walk
Their Ambiguity
Whiteread Walk
For the Little Soldier
Late Style
Year Zero
What’s American About American Poetry
At the Atelier Teleology

Joshua Clover is the author of The Matrix (2005) and Madonna anno domini (1997). He is Associate Professor of Poetry and Poetics at the University of California, Davis, and contributes to the Village Voice and The New York Times.
“A lively, interactive reading experience.”—Jan Bervin Bookforum
“It's totally great.”—Publishers Weekly
“ Joshua Clover's accomplished second book of poems, The Totality for Kids, reads contemporary U.S. society through the prism of Haussmann's Paris, with its clean sight lines, its foreshortened yet therefore richer artistic traditions, and its ability to keep personal experience symmetrical: just the right amount of companionship and loneliness, stimulation and ennui, sex and loss. . . . The Totality for Kids' clever particulars—whether conceptual, sensual, or pop cultural—bury the past in a playful nostalgia, promising a fresh start.”—Voice Literary Supplement (Vls)
"Fierce intelligence, fierce understanding of social issues, and fierce sense of the power of artifice. This is major work, haunted by a sense of totality always present in the formal intricacy and in the roles cities and architecture play. I think of these poems as crossing the cool, allusive intricacy of Quentin Tarantino with the abstract, intense social passion of Walter Benjamin."—Charles Altieri, author of The Art of Twentieth-Century American Poetry: Modernism and After

"The Totality for Kids is a stunning collection that charts the 'the modern and its endnotes,' as voiced in one Clover poem. There is no conceptual abstraction here without its color, motion, and syntax. The poems form an urban and linguistic landscape of contemporary life, in many ways, written in the shadow of Adorno who himself wrote in the shadows of the modern. In this brilliant volume, the fragmented world of a late and lost modernity has its own moving and lucid affect, its forms of aliveness. We encounter here an enormous clarity of language in the service of a poetics that brilliantly queries our historical moment in and as form."—Judith Butler, author of Precarious Life: Powers of Mourning and Violence

Finalist, 2007 Literary Awards, PEN Center USA

Nomination, Northern California Book Award in Poetry, Northern Caifornia Book Reviewers (NCBR)

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