The Angel in the Dream of Our Hangover: Aphorisms

Mark Leidner. Sator (, $13 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-0-9832437-0-0
It’s fitting that Leidner’s first book—a wistful and incisive series of poems in the form of aphorisms—issues a correction to Shelley, one of our great poet-aphorists: “poets,” Leidner writes, “are the unacknowledged law school students of the world.” The power and solemnity of Leidner’s aphorisms are often punctuated by the white space surrounding them and the silence that follows and precedes them, as when this monostich ends the book’s second section: “if only I could write as well as I have regretted how poorly I have loved.” Critical as he is of poetry and acerbic as he is in his politics (“if the principles we purport to hold in art were applied to politics, we would be living in the world we are living in now”), Leidner disallows his work from proffering bumper-sticker wisdoms by underscoring the fatal and elliptical nature of our world. “Materialism,” he writes, “resumes/ the moment the poem/ ends, but dies/ the moment the poem/ begins; the same way war/ always touches/ peace: on both sides.” It is refreshing and exhilarating to read a poet this sincere, this demanding and lucid in his aspirations toward art and his analyses of our time. Expect big things from Mark Leidner. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/15/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
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