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About this poet

Born on December 30, 1962, Joshua Clover is the author of two books of poems, The Totality for Kids (University of California Press, 2006), and Madonna anno domini (1997), which was chosen by Jorie Graham to receive the 1996 Walt Whitman Award.

About his most recent collection, Judith Butler has said: "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."

Clover's work has been anthologized in American Poets in the 21st Century and American Poetry: Next Generation, among others, and his poems have been chosen three times for inclusion in the annual Best American Poetry series. He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Clover is also a widely published critic and journalist, a frequent contributor to the New York Times, and the poetry editor for the Village Voice Literary Supplement. His contribution to the Modern Classics series for the British Film Institute, The Matrix, was published in 2005. He is also the author of 1989: Bob Dylan Didn't Have This to Sing About (2009).

Clover is an associate professor of English literature and critical theory at the University of California, Davis.

The map room

Joshua Clover, 1962
We moved into a house with 6 rooms: the Bedroom,
the Map Room, the Vegas Room, Cities
in the Flood Plains, the West, & the Room Which Contains All
of Mexico.  We honeymooned in the Vegas Room where
lounge acts wasted our precious time.  Then there was the junta's
high command, sick dogs of the Map Room, heel-
prints everywhere, pushing model armies into the unfurnished
West.  At night: stories of their abandoned homes in the Cities
in the Flood Plains, how they had loved each other
mercilessly, in rusting cars, until the drive-in went under.
From the Bedroom we called the decorator & demanded
a figurehead... the one true diva to be had
in All of Mexico: Maria Felix [star of The Devourer, star
of The Lady General].  Nightly in Vegas, "It's Not Unusual"
or the Sex Pistols medley.  Nothing ever comes back
from the West, it's a one-way door, a one-shot deal,--
the one room we never slept in together.  My wife
wants to rename it The Ugly Truth.  I love my wife for her
wonderful, light, creamy, highly reflective skin;
if there's an illumination from the submerged Cities,
that's her.  She suspects me of certain acts involving Maria Felix,
the gambling debts mount...but when she sends the junta off to Bed
we rendezvous in the Map Room & sprawl across the New World
with our heads to the West. I sing her romantic melodies from the Room
Which Contains All of Mexico, tunes which keep arriving
like heaven, in waves of raw data, & though I wrote
none of the songs myself & can't pronounce them, these are my
    greatest hits

From Madonna anno domini by Joshua Clover, published by Louisiana State University Press. Copyright © 1997 Joshua Clover. Used with permission.

Joshua Clover

Joshua Clover

Joshua Clover is the author of two books of poems, The Totality

by this poet


Music: Sexual misery is wearing you out.

Music: Known as the Philosopher’s Stair for the world-weariness which climbing it inspires. One gets nowhere with it.

Paris: St-Sulpice in shrouds.

Paris: You’re falling into disrepair, Eiffel Tower this means you! Swathed in gold paint, Enguerrand Quarton