A Swallow Press Book
“These poems are made of steel.”
“Davis is brutal in his portrayal of our society's ills—all the more so because he cleverly refrains from indicting the phenomena he depicts with such clear, visceral imagery….”
“I must say I dearly love this collection. It does what all good poetry—what art—must do—it presents the world in new ways and, as poetry, translates the unspoken words bound upon our modern tongue.”
“These are formally elegant poems on subjects that are inelegant and indeed chaotic and mad. That juxtaposition gives [these] poems an enormous leverage and credence and conviction.”
Sherod Santos, author of The Intricated Soul: New and Selected Poems
Garrick Davis’s Terminal Diagrams may have been inspired by the illustrated maps in airport lounges, or perhaps they are the blueprints of the Apocalypse, with their subjects and objects representing the bitter fruits of either some future nightmare or the present world. Regardless, their vision is so bleak and unsparing, only a few will be able to savor them. Here, the art of poetry has been mechanized just as the world has been mechanized. Whether his subject is a car accident on the freeways of Los Angeles or the Book of Revelation transmitted by television, Davis’s stanzas conjure a kind of futuristic noir. In poem after poem, he examines the artistic possibilities of the machine, and its alterations of human experience, with a modern spirit that—as Baudelaire defined it—has embraced “the sublimity and monstrousness of something new.”
Garrick Davis is the founding editor of the Contemporary Poetry Review, the largest online archive of poetry criticism in the world (cprw.com). His poetry and criticism have appeared in the New Criterion, Verse, the Weekly Standard, McSweeney’s, and the New York Sun. He also edited Child of the Ocmulgee: the Selected Poems of Freda Quenneville. He is the literature specialist of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC.
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Traditionally, the legends, myth-cycles, tales, rituals, songs and poems of Native Americans (both North and South) have been treated as ethnological data or as curious objects. William Brandon believes that the songs and poems in this volume will, in time, be accepted as representatives of one of the world’s great literatures.
Although classical drama has been translated before, this new collection is unique. The translations are modern in their poetry; the translations include poets as well as classicists; and the collection includes at least one example of every known type of ancient Greek and Latin drama.
In a time that emphasizes media spectaculars, the short play offers an exploration of minimal possibilities yet has the power to fix history in a moment's structure, a flash of revelation. The short play is a powerful and innovative theatrical medium, relying upon compression and clarity rather than amplification, and reducing character and action to a spare, dramatic core.
Marked by a rigorously close textual reading, detached from biographical or other extratextual material, New Criticism was the dominant literary theory of the mid-twentieth century. Since that time, schools of literary criticism have arisen in support of or in opposition to the approach advocated by the New Critics. Nonetheless, the theory remains one of the most important sources for groundbreaking criticism and continues to be a controversial approach to reading literature.