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Peter Jaeger’s beautiful new work was written while travelling in Japan, India, Canada, Italy and England, but these intense lyrics are more than “travel poems”, they explore body awareness and consciousness within language itself – an interplay that becomes more evident through Jaeger’s unfamiliar surroundings and his exploration of meditation and yoga.
These poems express the temporary, impermanent character of perception by re-negotiating the traditional, voice-based lyric, making use of collage as well as dramatic shifts in syntax and narrative. Prop is a book written in motion, and its quick changes in tone and imagery present the dynamism and impermanence of the world.
‘In this delicate and evolving series of poems, the art of contemplation follows a disciplined trajectory, seeking to reconnect itself, through physical postures and language variations, to the many forms taken by the breathing matter of the world. Elusively, Prop traces a spiritual journey. Poetic practice pursues the lines opened by such an apprenticeship, and love appears.’ —Caroline Bergvall
‘If the aim of writing is to make the world anew, then Peter Jaeger's beautiful new poems do. Me (whatever I am): I lept on / off my zabuton with increasing glee.’ —Tim Atkins
‘Graceful and sinewy, this is writing clear as a bell with a rhythmic virtuosity to match.’ —Jeff Hilson
‘The advantage of Peter Jaeger’s Prop is the incisive poetic line. If the attentions of a middle voice can be generated by the syllable then these poems are magnetic by how the voice deflects syntax in a finely tuned balance of narrative and rhythm. I think Jaeger has articulated a new kind of lyric, one that privileges the fact of the word as movement, the shaper, the “middle-/ way.../ curving means from thought.” The poems are precise in how they cut the line in a rush of syllabic particularity, insistent, just over the shoulder, and very close to your ear.’ —Fred Wah