The Benjamin Sonnets by Clint Burnham


The Benjamin Sonnets by Clint Burnham


Vee necked mooch her
Nougat bore in
in here brews!
leg it own
“A” sue bacon
fair fart does leave in
hindsight met her knockers
sartain error runs

The Benjamin Sonnets are a series of poems created through a process of “homophonic” translation from German writings by Walter Benjamin. They are ridiculous, but only in the sense that things unexpected and wonderful can be ridiculous.

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Praise for The Benjamin Sonnets:

“I once sat for about 120 minutes in a film by Mizoguchi in Japanese without subtitles; after 15 minutes every word had a meaning, the entire dialog seemed to be in a patois composed from German, Spanish, French, Greek and English components. I understood it, but its light, ironic nonsense contradicted hilariously with the solemn acts on the court of some Shogun which was the content of the images. I have never felt like this again, except under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs, until I read Clint Burnham’s The Benjamin Sonnets, except that the backdrop here was not some aristocratic Japanese scenery, but Berlin. Benjamin himself has felt like this when, under the influence of something, he saw Venice in the upper Kurfüstentstraße. Architecture and language, once you’re able to forget or not know how to speak it, always make their own sense.” —Diedrich Diedrichsen

“Autobiography has a strange way of insisting itself between the lines. We so seldom consider the childhood of the Angel of History, whose debris gathers in unexpected and refreshing linguistic arrangements, post-punk and conscious of Kahtsalano. Clint Burnham finds our expired elves hissing in homophonic sympathy, rearranging the contents of the home and leaving someone else’s keys under the front doormat. Europe finds union with American industrial snacks. These sonnets are mischievous and generous; they draw together communities of thinking and hoping from the last days of the Weimar Republic to the waning hours of Western democracy as John Lydon shrieks in the background.” —Larissa Lai

Clint Burnham is a Vancouver writer and critic. His books include Rental Van (poetry, 2007), Smoke Show (novel, 2005; nominated for the BC Book Prize that year), Buddyland (poetry, 2000), Airborne Photo (short stories, 1999), and Be Labour Reading (poetry, 1997). He also writes frequently on contemporary art, in such venues as, Flash Art, Camera Austria, The Globe and Mail, The Vancouver Sun, C Magazine, fillip, Pyramid Power, etc. He teaches English at Simon Fraser University.

April 2009 | Poetry
5×8 inches | 62 pages
Condition: New
ISBN 9781897388365

Additional information

Weight .2 kg
Dimensions 7.6 × 4.9 × .5 in