In “List Full,” Bart Plantenga lays his life bare with a gargantuan compendium of lists. These include lists of lusts, his mother’s favorite candies, things to do in Albany, books to read, absurd sayings from Morgan Stanley employees, yodelers’ nicknames, crazy Corona cures, random headlines, the weird last meals of Death Row prisoners, drugs taken, car colors, and even the items the author delivered during his days as a foot messenger in NYC.
If you have a list of must-have books, be sure to put this at the top. If not, start one.
Su Byron is a poet living in Sarasota, Florida. She works as a freelance writer and editor to earn her daily dose of wine and bread. subyronenterprises.com
By turns profound, hilarious and miraculously present in the simplicity of his obsession, bart plantenga has created a tome for temporal awareness. List Full is a conjured invocation to write about the small, to magnify the ways we see our lives by forming sense of detritus. Taking surrealist a-realism out of the everyday cobwebs, like a noir poet detective wrapped-in-facts, narratives of reductivist economy embody new codes. The form is a gauntlet for mantra junkies—taking the experiential shifting of one viewpoint, line by line, in a Boschian accumulation of perspectives towards a new vanishing point—we arrive beyond the starting point, transmuted by a cosmic infinitude that reveals with every warp, every entry. Near-death incidents are knifed, parsed, listed for our reading pleasure, followed by natal contractions, carefully timed. The construction of a life through the listing of its construction, an invitation to the mirror of arrangements we invent. Beautifully formatted for easy listening, I mean listing, List Full is a brilliantly conceived artifact for the human unveiling of what life has to offer, one list at a time.
Edwin Torres, author of Xoeteox: the infinite word object & noted spoken word performer https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_Torres_(poet)
Ambitious, autobiographical, and amusing, Bart Plantenga’s new book exalts the humble list as ersatz literature. Using found lists as well as aspirational and utilitarian ones, the collection includes want ads for dancing girls, places lived, and items in a cigar box. Extremely au courant, an entry on corona virus cures includes breastmilk, molé, God, and faith as preventatives. At once personal and universal, wry and triste, entertaining and banal, scholarly and flip, this book is bound to become the exemplar of list poems—authentic, honest, and compelling.
Jeffrey Cypher Wright, is a publisher, critic, eco-activist, artist, and New Romantic, Surrealist author of 17 books of verse, including Blue Lyre from Dos Madres Press and Party Everywhere from Xanadu. Currently he publishes Live Mag!, a journal of art and poetry. jeffreycypherswright.com
What poet hasn't written or stolen a list for a poem? What human being hasn't made a list? Plantenga turns this fundamentally human impulse into a kind of autobiography, creating a real tour-de-force of ways to use the list form to create meaning. It is an autobiography incorporating ideas, ideology, guides to beliefs, and personal psychology. The lists reveal personality, include social commentary and beefs; there are lists of deep importance and lists of the trivia of daily life. Some of them seem to have been written, often with excruciating detail, just for the arbitrary thrill of listing something, while others seem to be found lists by anonymous others. The variety of formal devices used in these lists is extraordinary. One of my favorites is List from a Lost Surrealist, which includes the instruction to “fondle naked manikin on street”. In short, LIST FULL is an essential book for anyone even thinking about writing a list poem, or even just a list of groceries.
John M. Bennett is a poet, artist, editor, publisher, and founder of Luna Bisonte Prods
List Full’s notes come together to make this whole brilliant kraftwerk. This beautiful thing. It's anarchy for your writer's block. You turn the page and don’t know what you’re going to read next. It’s a surprise that inspires, makes you think, gives you a beret and says you can join in. List Full says, try anything, go anywhere in your mind, pick up a pen, see what YOUR list tells you – SO helpful!
Daisy Wake lived through & chronicles punk rock in London and published The Curse, a highly idiosyncratic zine, on each full moon. She lives in London.
It's like a magic trick – an autobiography told in tiny time capsules. Bart Plantenga turns all kinds of lists into something so addictive, so intriguing, you frequently stop, look up and say "How come no one did this before? " List Full is full of bite-size ephemera that are alternately startling, poignant and funny. You'll go back and forth and crease your favorite pages. Read some aloud to others. But most of all, you'll want to keep it nearby.
Gail Offen teaches idea generation and has co-written books on Midwest history, including Grand River Avenue and Michigan Haunts
Bart Plantenga is very familiar with the absurd, hypocritical and fortuitous. He lives in Amsterdam.