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The Encyclopedia of Scotland is a passionate invocation to a Muse at once abundant and excruciating, a performance poem for soul-voice and attendant daemons. At one time performed by Finch with a musical ensemble, this rhythmic feast enacts a complex ritual of self-initiation into the realm of poetry.
‘In the face of technological and consumer culture, Finch’s fanciful libretto opts for evanescence over irony, sensual pleasure over theoretical critique. Hidden codes and secret pleasures, nursery rhymes and popular songs, primordial ooze and joyous sound-patterning animate these pages. “Will we dissolve”? she asks. Her persistent image of “ink in the water” argues that we will. Friskily sporting with lofty tones and poetic apparatus, The Encyclopedia of Scotland (written in 1980) anticipates works such as Lisa Robertson’s Debbie: An Epic and Stacy Doris’ Paramour. Here is high artifice and sonic astonishment, here is a unique mind at literary play.’ —Jennifer Moxley
‘The easiest way to describe The Encyclopedia of Scotland is as an attempt to thrust one’s poetry in all directions, directed largely by the sensual pleasures of language itself. As such, it bears a distant kinship with a number of disparate works, including those of Mina Loy & even the Baroness Else von Freytag-Loringhoven, Bob Brown & Bern Porter, Lee Ann Brown’s ventures into the ballad, Robert Duncan’s Stein imitations of the early 1950s, and, perhaps most closely, the ludic verse of the late Lynn Lonidier. Not, as I said, your typical new formalist fare.’ —Ron Silliman, Silliman’s Blog
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