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Brooklyn bookstore staff picks for Jan. 21

What to read this week

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Word’s pick: “Curvism” by Will Hubbard

There must be more to poetry than the line break, which is not to argue that the work of poetry is somehow an “essence” rather than a formal — or at least developed — statement, be it musically inflected or not. Or, as Ezra Pound cautioned, “Don’t think any intelligent person is going to be deceived when you try to shirk all the difficulties of the unspeakably difficult art of good prose by chopping your composition into line lengths.” Will Hubbard’s prose forms in “Cursivism” could be broken apart 100 different ways and still maintain their verve and stability. The writing here has the levity of a sixth-story apartment, and all the implicit heft of what could fall out from the window there, like a childhood memory of a frozen shrub, adolescent clippings from a lingerie magazine, or a poisonous lobster from Lorca. There are no singing histrionics in this book; the effect is more of the memory of singing.

— Jaye Bartell, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbrooklyn.com].

Greenlight Bookstore’s pick: “First Year Healthy” by Michael Deforge

In Michael Deforge’s latest book from independent comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly, our narrator attempts a return to normalcy after a mental episode which left her in the hospital. As the story quickly spins out of control, the characters as lost as the reader, the mythical cat of her dreams moves from haunting the background to being one of the only sources of security and stability. The colors and story combine to be overwhelming — in the best way — and every page deserves to be studied and reread.

— Julian Elman, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenlightbookstore.com].

Community Bookstore’s pick: “Fancy” by Jeremy Davies

Of our American avant-gardists — our formalist adventurers, our literary wayfarers — Jeremy Davies’ work stands as the sharpest and, perhaps, the strangest. Any attempts to describe his books invariably fall flat, and his new novel “Fancy” is no exception. But here goes: Rumrill, an elderly recluse, lays out a series of labyrinthine pet-sitting instructions to a young couple tasked with watching his numerous cats. Digression folds into digression, and soon we’re off pondering the terror of routine, the dizzying dimensions of loneliness, the illustrious methods of “cat fancying.” Hilarious and perverse and formally dazzling, it bears repeating: this is the sharpest and strangest thing you’ll read all year.

— Hal Hlavinka, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.communitybookstore.net].

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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