Tuesday, September 14, 2010

John Gallaher, Map of the Folded World

"You know the secret language," John Gallaher writes in "Your Golden Ticket," but the poems in Map of the Folded World are not in a secret language. There's nothing esoteric about them; they do not gesture towards hidden depths that demand subtle interpretation. Instead, they are surfaces on which a train of thought is skating, "suggestions, not depictions," as Gallaher writes in "What & Who & Where & What." The beginning of "The Universe is Incapable of Disappearance" strikes me as exemplary, as a statement leads to a series of qualifications and hedgings that generate a quite singular humor:

They keep talking about a road, but there never is a road,
and if there was, it would always be ending,
the way everything is always ending
unless you're of the mind that everything is always some sort of middle,
or some continual beginning
that rises and falls from a never quite completed something
that we're continually waking from
in a kind of polite vagueness.

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