by Michel Delville
ISBN 978-80-7308-452-3 (paperback)
Publication date: May 2013
Price: € 8.00 (not including postage)

Order: paperback / Kindle

Bringing together readings of Virgil Thomson, Gertrude Stein, Max Jacob, Louis Feuillade, Rosmarie Waldrop, Frank Zappa, Bill Viola and Pierre Alechinsky, Crossroads Poetics attempts to delineate the possibility of a truly transversal poetics, one which creates a space for a reconsideration of contemporary poetics while navigating the complex interactions between the theory and practice.

“Crossroads Poetics is an impressive collection of essays that warrants slow,  thoughtful engagement, not the least of which because it showcases the breadth as well as the depth of Delville’s capacious intellect and wide-ranging curiosity. Of special interest is  ‘The Prose Poem at the Crossroads,’ which updates as well as amplifies his seminal study on this important poetic form. And in this book we also see an extension of his idea of the ‘loop’ in the  writing of Gertrude Stein as a way of thinking about repetition with a difference. In that piece, Delville crosses discourses—music and literature—to  deploy metaphors that offer new perspectives on familiar texts. An essay on  Frank Zappa essay may be the most surprising in the collection, since Delville  thinks through Zappa’s innovative and challenging compositions as a way of  understanding  the avant garde in ways that stretch beyond just Zappa. This is  a groundbreaking book by one of our most restless scholars.” Richard Deming

“Il n’est pas interdit de voir dans ce livre à la fois la synthèse (ou du moins une certaine synthèse) et le manifeste (car le livre regarde résolument de l’avant) des travaux du CIPA, le Centre Interdisciplinaire de Poétique Appliquée de l’université de Liège (www.cipa.ulg.ac.be). Crossroads Poetics reflète en effet la grande diversité, en termes d’objet mais aussi d’approches méthodologiques, et la vraie cohérence d’un groupe qui se propose de donner une nouvelle forme à la recherche interdisciplinaire en sciences humaines . . . Crossroads Poetics est la meilleure carte de visite que le CIPA puisse se rêver. Le livre émane non seulement d’un auteur engagé dans plusieurs disciplines (la poésie et, plus généralement, la littérature contemporaines, des premières avant-gardes à nos jours, mais aussi la musique moderne, dans ses multiples formes qui décloisonnent les secteurs de la musique dite sérieuse et des industries culturelles), mais aussi d’un auteur qui a lui-même une connaissance pratique des domaines qu’il interroge théoriquement (ce n’est donc pas un détail purement biographique que de rappeler que Michel Delville est aussi poète et musicien de jazz). S’il fallait choisir un terme pour résumer, chose impossible bien entendu, et sans doute peu désirable, les  lectures de Crossroads Poetics, je retiendrais volontiers celui de “liquide”, tant pour désigner l’extrême fluidité du travail de Michel Delville et l’extrême aisance avec laquelle il passe d’un objet à l’autre sans jamais (faire) perdre pied, que pour afficher le parti pris ouvert, non essentialiste, d’une approche qui est moins une méthode qu’une attitude et qui se situe bien au-delà ce qu’on entendait jadis par études comparées.” Jan Baetens, Image & Narrative

“Crossroads Poetics offers a rare introduction to artists resolutely geared towards capturing the associative transgressiveness characterizing contemporary signification—artistic or otherwise. Even those readers less interested in this book’s meta-poetic dimension could hardly fail to appreciate its author’s pioneering posture in introducing a vast catalogue of experimental creative practices.  Too many to list here, and even too varied for an overview in this review, the multiple cases under scrutiny in Michel Delville’s monograph ultimately succeed in conveying the perception that contemporary culture is endemically liminal as well as fundamentally dynamic, which in turn turns our consciousness – i.e. the cognitive ‘device’ with which we process the impulses picked up from ‘remediated’ creations – into a “flexible medium” (136) in its own right.  Itself at a crossroads between criticism and creative writing, Crossroads Poetics remediates its own impassionedly erudite analyses of analogously eclectic compositions while weaving these into a fabric at once allusive and elusive. Christophe Collard, English Text Construction

Michel Delville teaches English and American literatures, as well as comparative literature, at the University of Liege, where he directs the Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Poetics. His previous books include The American Prose Poem (1998), J.G. Ballard (1998), Hamlet & Co (2001; with Pierre Michel), Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, and the Secret History of Maximalism (2005; with Andrew Norris), and Food, Poetry, and the Aesthetics of Consumption: Eating the Avant-Garde (2009). He is the author of two poetry collections: Entre la poire et le fromage (2013) and Le troisieme corps (2004), recently published in English as Third Body (2009). As a musician, he has recorded and toured worldwide with various bands and collaborated with many jazz and avant-rock musicians including Dave Liebman, Elton Dean, Harry Beckett, Annie Whitehead, Dagmar Krause, Ed Mann and Chris Cutler. He has been signed to the New York-based label Moonjune Records (www.moonjune.com) since 2005.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s