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Eckhart Cars consists of a series of 18 poems. Although conceptually related, the individual poems are formally distinct from one another. The book draws on a number of source texts, with a specific focus on representations of the human body and the physical world. Source texts range from Meister Eckhart through Schlegel to contemporary anatomical textbooks and out of date driver instruction manuals. While Eckhart Cars often foregrounds the body through its “translation” of temporal, bodily rhythms into writing, it also complicates this so-called translation by using found text and digitally-enhanced forms. The book could be situated in a genealogy running parallel to the sources mentioned above, but it also dialogues with current North American and UK poetries which stress formal innovation, and which problematise the issue of representation.
‘Once you catch the pace of Eckhart Cars, once locked in, you begin to question your sanity, you ask, is this taking me into itself or is this just kidding. It is both and then uses how it becomes to mean this, what itself reads through the reader. Near the middle, after Early Gardening, Martyrologies, you can not get a recognition of tempo-spatial finesse, it opens and closes like irregular lids revealing a variety of opportunities. When you get beyond this poem, the contrasts of these precise and different poetic texts begin to return, as pace, with the variety that human movements need.’ —Allen Fisher
‘The beautiful final poem of Eckhart Cars, ‘A Black Tooth in Front’, positions the body, its motions, postures and vehicles, relative to itself and to the earth and stars; the earth and stars are positioned relative to themselves and to the body. This is a poetry of particularity – physical arrangements, prepositional locations, directional markers – and a poetry of constellated possibilities. Jaeger’s play with language as one of the coordinates of the material universe is familiar from Sub-Twang Mustard, but this collection is also irradiated by a new metaphysical activeness. The blood of martyrdom, the waters of profusion swell against such practicalities as price, debt, labour, imperialism and its soundbytes. The natural environment is called back from the past by its precise and radiant names. In modes ranging from alphabet and multiple to magic pastoral and folk story, Eckhart Cars pries open the apparent closure of the story with the conditional densities of lyric. The satisfactions of aphorism and speculations on the proprieties of reading are abraded by dream, wandering, fragmentation and doubt. These poems explore how making a perception present to (it)self can outrace certainty or completion, and instead retain all the routes it has travelled – not just as memory or scholarship, but as living and passionate witness ‘raised to the rank of / the world’.’ —Andrea Brady
‘In Eckhart Cars Peter Jaeger engages discursive production and the “literary field” in mutually critical times that implicate a catina of paradoxes: abundance in scarcity, remainder and excess with the finite human predicament of the virtual infinity of language. But this does not seduce Jaeger into the poetics of Blanchot or the onomastic erasure of Bataille. Eckhart Cars never loses its grounding in the practice of everyday life, and the nightmares of globalism, biopolitics and neo-liberalism. In their insistently disjunctive syntheses these texts, so redolent with reflection , offer countless antidotes to the literary torpid. As one poem tells us “All books have their sky” and in this sky we find the sentence after the New Sentence.’ —Steve McCaffery
‘Peter Jaeger’s sprung lyrics and imaginary aphorisms have it sixteen ways: they locate the body of the text in the mirage of the text’s own vanishing, yet dazzling, illusions while enunciating the discrepant fictions that bare their truths in colliding images of constant possibility and irreparable elision.’ —Charles Bernstein
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