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These poems function as experiments in epistemology. Attentive to the ways that sensory experiences coalesce into cognition and the ways cognition remains always thoroughly sensory, these poems experiment with the complex ways in which being in the world means thinking with one’s whole body. By occupying a variety of shifting subject positions, making use of various forms (both traditional and nonce forms), and engaging both explicitly and implicitly with texts from various traditions, these poems seek to address the cognitive, spiritual and erotic experiences, longings and desires that come with living in the material world.
These concerns come into especially intense focus in the Creature poems. While the Creature is as human as anyone else, he has certain misgivings about the old term ‘human,’ especially insofar as it is associated with hierarchical notions of human domination that can sometimes slide into abuse. The Creature poems explore the subject’s continuity with the world, including the world of artifice and technology. The Creature longs for a deeper connection to the world and to the divine, though he can experience great confusion about where to find either. The Creature is also thoroughly textual, and he longs for a new language in terms of which he can more truly live.
‘Jerry Harp’s dreamscape poems are sturdier than they first appear, a pleasing series of contemplations of the millennial aesthetique du mal. Time after time, it is the tension between panic and good manners that he manages to make dramatic and attractive. A very impressive first collection!’ —David R. Slavitt
‘Let the new poet discover all at once his true subject and he will begin writing easily and very well. Jerry Harp is not the only poet to have had such luck, but so far as I know, he may well be the latest.’ —Donald Justice
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