Schwerner, Armand The Tablets

ISBN 13: 9780943373560

The Tablets

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9780943373560: The Tablets
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Poetry. THE TABLETS takes its place as a worthy successor of the great American long poems of our century: Pound's Cantos, Williams' Paterson, Olson's Maximus, Zukofsky's A. The first edition, published in 1968, included eight tablets. Over the years, THE TABLETS continued to grow. The present edition is the first to include all twenty-seven tablets that Schwerner had completed at the time of his death, along with the poet's own commentary on the work in the form of Journals/Divagations. This edition also includes a CD of Schwerner reading extensive selections of THE TABLETS. Schwerner's poem mimics the conventions observed in real scholarly editions of ancient cuneiform texts ... THE TABLETS is a Chinese-box puzzle, in place of a primal scene of archeological insight, a game of hide-and-seek, in place of 'knowledge,' uncertainty, speculation, make-believe and trompe l'oeil effects--Brian McHale.

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7 x 10 trim. Audio CD. LC 99-21937

From Publishers Weekly:

A resident of New York City since immigrating to the United States from Belgium in 1935, Schwerner passed away this February at age 71. The two books at hand are his summation. Schwerner's mischievous, fabular epic The Tablets, assembled here in full for the first time, is ostensibly a scholarly translation of twenty-seven clay tablets from the ancient Near East. In fact, it is a postmodern meditation on language, translation, the limits of knowledge and origins of consciousness, and the pathos of intellectual life. Indebted to Olson's "Song of Ullikummi" (a poem derived from the Hittite version of a Hurrian myth), Schwerner's fragmented, often humorous reconstruction of an ancient "original" is no more real than the Borgesian land of UqbarAor the Captain's Log on Star Trek. In some instances the muddle of past, present and future achieves an inspired lunacy. ("Tablet VII," we're told, survives only in classical Old Icelandic, the work "of a certain Henrik L., an archaeologically gifted Norwegian divine" of the 19th century.) "The conflict between the comedian and the mystic can make poems," notes Schwerner, and the "scholar translator" who presents the tablets, and whose anxieties and insights continually interruptAand often overwhelmAthe sometimes untranslatable original, exploits both sides. Accepting the authority of physical experience but tempering that authority with book learning and flights of fancy, Schwerner's Shorter Poems make a worthy companion to The Tablets. The best pieces are likewise projections and refractions, most notably the section "Eskimo and Others," retellings of stories found in anthropological texts. Other poems, like "Sounds of the River Naranjana," offer moving testimony to a life devoted to contemplation: "I'm 53 and the fire/ of the beginner again burns me into waiting. what time is it? the engines/ of pleasure the business of engines, of subconscious gossip/ in the dry white American desert." These books are an out-of-the-way oasis. (June)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description National Poetry Foundation,U.S., United States, 1999. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Poetry. THE TABLETS takes its place as a worthy successor of the great American long poems of our century: Pound's Cantos, Williams' Paterson, Olson's Maximus, Zukofsky's A. The first edition, published in 1968, included eight tablets. Over the years, THE TABLETS continued to grow. The present edition is the first to include all twenty-seven tablets that Schwerner had completed at the time of his death, along with the poet's own commentary on the work in the form of Journals/Divagations. This edition also includes a CD of Schwerner reading extensive selections of THE TABLETS. Schwerner's poem mimics the conventions observed in real scholarly editions of ancient cuneiform texts . THE TABLETS is a Chinese-box puzzle, in place of a primal scene of archeological insight, a game of hide-and-seek, in place of 'knowledge, ' uncertainty, speculation, make-believe and trompe l'oeil effects--Brian McHale. Seller Inventory # AAS9780943373560

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