The Absolute Letter

Andrew Joron. Flood, $14.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-0-9981695-0-7
Poet and translator Joron returns with a fiercely political and theoretical, linguistically and ontologically wily collection, his first since 2010’s Trance Archive: New and Selected Poems. Joron’s work has been steeped in a particular strain of post-L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, sound-attentive, questioning poetics (what he’s called the “speculative lyric”) for three decades. “Here, hearer, no hero, no god is guide,” he writes. “The site of I, a vertical gash.” Joron opens with a romantic statement (“Anything, real or ideal, that undergoes a self-complicating—ultimately musical—form of motion becomes a sign of the processual emergence of the Infinite within the finite”) and proceeds to wend his way through a multivalent expression of science, theory, philosophy, narrative, dystopian thought, and imagined futures. His unorthodox and unexpected playbook features light verse, internal rhyme, insistent assonance, and grammatical breaks; the work builds into a fulmination against both contemporary politics and social environment as well as against the linear modes of thought that people and language can’t seem to escape. The collection manifests both as a “shook system” and as the shaking itself, with Joron pushing though language toward a “rival Mind that will be winter, will be riven.” (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2017
Release date: 03/01/2017
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