Thursday, June 04, 2009

Lance Phillips: These Indicium Tales

I just wrote the following blurb for Lance Phillips' third book, to be published, like the first two, by Ahsahta Press. A blurb is also a review, so I'm issuing this one two or three months in advance of the book's publication:

Lance Phillips’ poetry takes us immediately into a carnal theater where the word and its thing stagger under the weight of their attraction for each other. Thus actions which are rational and understandable in real life, like having sex and then touching your ear, take on enthralling intensity. The drama of representation is also heightened because the visual frame is a series of quickly changing keyholes; each foreshortened view has immediacy. This is not conventional poetry, in which voluptuous intentions are pursued by means of poetic rhetoric. Lance Phillips’ poetry models consciousness itself. So description won’t do; it’s too removed and slow. Rather than reconstitute, the poet enacts: “Desire and perception meld: moist crease, sun / Wasp, it filled his mouth.” We are first witnesses as now, and again now, worlds interact: “On lips here her body in birds of the air.” To read this book is to experience a series of transformations; in effect, to learn to read all over again.

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Inner Time (Adorno 126)

Adorno (page 126): What appears in the work of art is its inner time . . . . The link between art and real history is the fact that works of art are structured like monads.

This is beautiful thinking. But does time really pass in a work of art, even in works of duration like music and literature? Can a work of art refuse to be a unity and still be structured like a monad? Answer: It can only be a monad by refusing unison. Is a monad’s sense of time eternity? Yes. The monad in art has nothing to do with history and sociology; it is prophetic and hard to comprehend, like prime numbers. Which is more monadic, the nomad or the townsman; the boulder or the butterfly that lands on it?

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