Lyn Hejinian Saga / Circus

ISBN 13: 9781890650346

Saga / Circus

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Saga / Circus, by the esteemed poet Lyn Hejinian, brings us two distinctly different long poems in which the tropes of narrative and lyric—their feints and demands—stake claims amongst the actual characters presented. In this playful yet penetrating pair of poems, it is the character of Lyn Hejinian's thought meeting our character of thought that is one of the most exciting and most constant dramatic events of the book—the richly sensational & subversive crescendos register as both melodic and discordant soundtrack.

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About the Author:

LYN HEJINIAN is a poet, essayist, and translator. Her groundbreaking book of poetry, My Life, published by Sun & Moon / Green Integer, has had five re-printings from 1980-2002. Her most recent books include A Border Comedy (Granary Books, 2001), Slowly and The Beginner (both published by Tuumba Press, 2002), and The Fatalist (Omnidawn, 2003). The University of California Press published a collection of her essays entitled The Language of Inquiry in 2000. In the spring of 2007, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She teaches in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

From Publishers Weekly:

This pair of new long works from the California-based experimental poetry master (The Fatalist) makes a fine introduction to her current powers. Hejinian--admired in avant-garde circles since the 1970s--combines epistemological investigations with deft jokes. "Circus" is both prose poem and experimental, nonlinear fiction: named characters (Sally Dover, Quindlan, the talkative Askari Nate Martin) chase one another through short nonlinear chapters (one sequence includes, in order, "Chapter Two," "Chapter One," "Chapter 3 and Chapter Two," "Chapter Between" and another "Chapter Two"). Sometimes kids, sometimes gossipy wives, sometimes circus performers and sometimes figures in a whodunit; these are characters meant to dismantle expectations, in quotable sentences and baffling passages reminiscent of Gertrude Stein: "Quindlan refuses to recognize anything as a digression, to take a suggestion, to accept a designation." Less whimsical and perhaps more profound, "Saga" comprises 37 numbered free-verse segments: each imagines a long journey on a seagoing vessel as a figure for poetry, history, life. Along with Hejinian's usual canny smarts, this newest long poem includes unexpected Romantic aspirations, with nods to Wordsworth and Coleridge: Hejinian, or her persona, says she "felt uprooted even/ At an early age perhaps from gods, my deities/ Were streaming/ Or grinding like a boat being hauled over stony ground." (Sept.)
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