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Norma Farber First Book Award for How Many More of Them Are You?
How Many More of Them Are You? (poems), Avec Books (Penngrove, CA), 1999.
Vicinities (poems), Avec Books (Penngrove, CA), 2001.
To Tell the Lamp (poems), Avec Books (Penngrove, CA), 2004.
Twenty-one After Days (poems), Avec Books (Penngrove, CA), 2006.
Translator of A Moral Lesson, by Paul Éluard, Green Integer Books; contributor to The Gertrude Stein Awards 2005-2006, Green Integer Books, 2006. Also translator of other French works. Selections from How Many More of Them Are You? have been translated into French. Contributing editor, Double Change (Web journal).
Lisa Lubasch is an experimental poet who has been inspired by French writers, whose work she has also translated. Her first collection, the award-winning How Many More of Them Are You?, uses verse-sentences, lengthy notes, and white space in a series of six philosophical apostrophes. Chicago Review critic Geoffrey Treacle found Lubasch's style to be rather academically pretentious, commenting that the "self-consciously ‘experimental’" nature of the writing "rings false or flat," though sometimes she "manages to rescue her fragments from being mere floating quotes." On the other hand, a Publishers Weekly reviewer appreciated the poet's attempt to express "a poetic identity shaken of its philosophical surety," adding that "one looks forward to what her future … holds."
Vicinities, Lubasch's follow-up collection, aims at "finding a way out of the abyss" addressed in her first work, according to another Publishers Weekly contributor. Calling the style "daringly spare," the reviewer felt that Vicinities shows the poet extricating herself from the influence of other writers in order to achieve "something new and genuine." As an editor for the Franco-American poetry journal Double Change, as well as a translator of verse by such French writers as Paul Éluard, Jean-Michel Espitallier, and Fabienne Courtade, Lubasch also "borrows heavily from [French poet Antonin] Artaud," as Treacle observed in his review of How Many More of Them Are You? By her third collection, To Tell the Lamp, the poet was still being "strongly influenced here by her recent translations of French poetry," as Jonathan Weinert stated in a Harvard Review article. As well, the poet continues to dwell in the realm of ideas, rather than concrete subjects. "Whether you find such an enterprise audacious and edgy or exasperating and remote will likely depend on your tolerance for high-concept experimentation," suggested Weinert, adding: "Her boldness and refusal to compromise are exhilarating. On the other hand, her renunciations produce a certain monotony of diction, rhythm, and subject matter."
Lubasch's exploration of the abstract continues with Twenty-one After Days, a "very beautiful" collection that "reaches new heights of formal variety," according to a Publishers Weekly contributor. Lauren Levin, writing on the blog CuBank, explained the essence of the collection this way: "Lubasch orchestrates the changeable relationships of subject, object, and language into a drama of perceptual shifts. The examining consciousness and what it examines interweave kaleidoscopically." Levin continued: "On my first reading of Twenty-one After Days I looked for externalized inward states, moods coaxed into impersonating rivers and mountains. Reading further into the book, I discovered it to be much more complex than that first take. Part of the pleasure I found in re-reading was the lack of easy equivalences. You don't have to look far in poetry to find examples of an inner self that seeks its match in the outer world. The difference in Lubasch's work is that the terms used to organize such comparisons are unstable." Observing that the collection is very aesthetic in nature, Victor Schnickelfritz remarked on the Great American Pinup blog that the "beauty that Lubasch evokes is a very private one, one that I presume many others will have difficulty in appreciating…. One luxuriates with Lubasch the way one takes a hot bath or throws back a scotch or a beer or a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Boston Review, February-March, 2000, Geneva Chao, review of How Many More of Them Are You?
Chicago Review, March 22, 2000, Geoffrey Treacle, review of How Many More of Them Are You?, p. 131.
Harvard Review, June 1, 2005, Jonathan Weinert, review of To Tell the Lamp, p. 190.
Jacket Magazine, October, 2005, Chris Pusateri, "To the Laboratory," review of To Tell the Lamp.
Publishers Weekly, August 30, 1999, review of How Many More of Them Are You?, p. 78; May 24, 2004, review of To Tell the Lamp, p. 60; April 3, 2006, review of Twenty-one after Days, p. 42; September 3, 2001, review of Vicinities, p. 84.
CuBank,http://cutbankpoetry.blogspot.com/ (October 7, 2006), Lauren Levin, review of Twenty-one After Days.
Great American Pinup,http://greatamericanpinup.blogspot.com/ (January 7, 2007), Victor Schnickelfritz, review of Twenty-one After Days.