Lake Antquity

Brandon Downing, Author . Fence $40 (190p) ISBN 978-1-934200-27-8

In this heavily illustrated collection of hyperkinetic text and image collages, Downing—poet, visual and video artist—presents a wild array of unexpected juxtapositions. Found text is cut and pasted atop images culled from flea market crates of various paper ephemera, and these pages are brimming with chance-operational meditations on innocence, experience, and empire; readers will be left stunned by the “highly colored evening scene,” for example. With hallucinatory intensity, Downing depicts an America under miraculous spell: “If you could see a picture of what has happened in the last thousand years in the United States, you would probably be surprised” are among the words superimposed on a print of urns, kettles, trunks, and saddles. This is an America obsessed with illusion—with taxidermy, film, and theme parks—and always lusting after the next frontier. While impossible to summarize in words—the poems at times feel secondary to the images—Downing's collages create a bizarre and incredible universe. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 12/21/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
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