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?Although this art doesn?t resemble Robert Duncan?s, the quick psychological discrimination and scatter, and the means of laying out such extensive phenomena derive from the late master?s technology. The work becomes a luminated graph of sentience across space, a body of prior observations, pulled to focus in the present case. ?Our poets make much out of what seems worse than nothing.? That?s a really legitimate estimation, whichever way you take it. And out of it comes a historomantic resolution so complex only poetry would even attempt it.?
?What has happened to America has happened to all of us, Richard Blevins reminds us, singing his uncanny and intricate music. From inside the vast loneliness and plaintive landscapes of our native country, Blevins' beset reports, testimonies, curses, and meditations send word home. This poet--meticulous scout and bereft wanderer? elegizes and celebrates our nation's hero-ghosts and hallucinatory sages, and, above all, our thirst for a vivid and human, yet elusive communal design. This Selected marks both an earned arrival and a tantalizing passage.?
?Travelling hard in the dark of poems, hard music a traveller needs to keep the aggressions of place at bay ? Blevins keeps readers musing, making us guess where the road runs over the bleak prairie and where it turns into a line of some poem his mind is stored with, line of highway and line of verse stretching out, superimposed, into the distance that draws him. Draws us. ?Using the Cantos,? using Olson, the way you borrow from a friend a good car to test the desert with, to go with out into the interesting danger. Blevins has indeed made, as he says, a career of the travel poem ? but not a poem about travelling (no one is on the road except the road), but a poem we have to travel. This collection is rich with instances of venture we share with him, poems that know how to read the world as well as to talk/sing about it. And there?s one grand long text here, ?Clarel?s Motel? ? an exemplum of method and music at once, and how they serve to keep intelligence on track, flourish a clean wit we can do with these days.?
?Whether at Kent State with Duncan, Paris with Cendrars, Italy with Pound's grave lizard, or on the Plains with Chief Joseph, Blevins is constantly keeping both, the footnotes of Romance and the Midwestern Crane-like roots of the American voice and lament, ongoing.?
Acknowledgements: Most of the poems in this book were selected from Court of the Half-King (Tansy, 1980), Remembering The Future (Zelot, 1981), Taz Alago (Zelot/Tansy, 1984), Letters from Kansas (Zelot, 1986), Clarel’s Motel (Am Here, 1987), Three Sleeps: A Historomance (Igneus, 1992), Longplaying (1994), High Season (Oasii, 1995), and The Collected Later Poems of Philip Marlowe (Talisman House, 1998). Previously uncollected poems first appeared in the journals American Letters & Commentary (“Thermidor”), atelier (“Lies for the Coming Inquisition”), Cafe Review (“Harry and Mathilde,” “Crescentia,” “...no poetry of reference...,” and “Roman[fold]zero”), 5 A.M. (“3 A.M., Hotel Europa, Ferrara”), and :that: (“Voyageur”).