Karen Weiser Or, The Ambiguities

ISBN 13: 9781937027612

Or, The Ambiguities

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9781937027612: Or, The Ambiguities

Poetry. OR, THE AMBIGUITIES is a book of long poems that asks how we correspond with the dead. Written with and through various works by Herman Melville, the poems in this collection invent new visual forms in order to playfully enact Jack Spicer's idea that poems are "how we dead men write to each other."

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About the Author:

Karen Weiser is the author of OR, THE AMBIGUITIES (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015), TO LIGHT OUT (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010), Dear Pierre (Well Greased Press), Placefullness (Ugly Duckling Presse), and Pitching Woo (Cy Press). She was recently awarded a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation residency, a Process Space residency through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and a New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. She is currently working on the libretto for an opera ("You Who Made the Heavens Incline") about one of the first great composers, Kassia, a 9th century Byzantine nun, in addition to writing a young adult fantasy novel. She lives in New York City where she teaches and writes on 19th century American Literature.

From Publishers Weekly:

In this collection of erudite long poems, Weiser (To Light Out) engages in conversation with and through the text of Herman Melville's novel Pierre, or the Ambiguities. The work is bookended by sections of heavily visual poems; the erasures that make up the opening section form stalactites and stalagmites from the top and bottom of each page. Prose lines stutter and drip into a reduction: "fell upon Pierre's heart, and her long hair ran over him, and arbored him in ebon" becomes, over the course of six rounds of cuts, simply "labor." In this way, the book's opening section feels very much like sounds gradually decaying as they reverberate around a room. The book's middle section is more traditionally poem-shaped, yet is just as preoccupied with undoing and rejoining, in the senses of family and physical being: the book's "masses," its physical entities, constantly "re-substantiate again" from fog, steam, and vapor, moving in and out of the voices of the cast of Pierre. The final section contains poems in the shape of shackles, open at one wrist to "ease these too tight forms." As Weiser toys with text, context, and potential form, she revels in the constant flux between solidity and dissipation: "Some inexhaustible disruption/ Passing from one state/ To another." (Dec.)\n

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Karen Weiser
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