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About this poet

Born on December 30, 1962, in California, Joshua Clover received his BA in English literature from Boston University and his MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of three books of poems: Red Epic (Commune Editions, 2015), The Totality for Kids (University of California Press, 2006), and Madonna anno domini (Louisiana State University Press, 1997), which was chosen by Jorie Graham to receive the 1996 Walt Whitman Award.

About The Totality for Kids, Judith Butler writes: “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.”

He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, the University of Iowa’s James Michener/Paul Engle Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.

Clover is also a widely published critic and journalist; he’s written for publications such as Film Quarterly, The Nation, The New York Times Sunday Book Review, and the Village Voice. His most recent book of cultural theory is Of Riot (Verso, 2016). 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 (University of California Press, 2009).

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


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Red Epic (Commune Editions, 2015)
The Totality for Kids (University of California Press, 2006)
Madonna anno domini (1997)

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.

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 three books of poems: Red Epic (Commune Editions, 2015), The Totality for Kids (University of California Press, 2006), and Madonna anno domini (Louisiana State University Press, 1997), which was chosen by Jorie Graham to receive the 1996 Walt Whitman Award.

by this poet

poem

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