Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Available for pre-publication orders today!
This is the poem I’ve been working on since 1979. I can’t even begin to tell you just how much of my life & soul are poured into these pages. “The Alphabet,” it says on the publisher’s website (and I wouldn’t disagree), “is a work of American ethnography, a cultural collage of artifacts, moments, episodes, and voices historical and private—that capture the dizzying evolution of America's social, cultural, and literary consciousness.” It’s also an extended meditation on the possibilities of form. Individual sections of The Alphabet include the following:
Engines (written with Rae Armantrout)
Ketjak2: Caravan of Affect
At roughly 1,000 pages, The Alphabet is not an inexpensive book – $39.95 in paper – tho compared with paying $16.95 for a sixty page book of poems, it’s an utter bargain. Fans of Geof Huth will recognize his work in the cover art. The book will be available in September.
With its publication, I am now in the position of having all of my mature poetry available in print. I’m aware of exactly how rare this is in the year 2008. That presses like UC, Salt & Alabama would make such a commitment to my writing is genuinely humbling.
Now it’s time to turn my attention to trying a long poem, Universe.
"Ron Silliman's ongoing long poem The Alphabet . . . mingles quotidian observation, linguistic-philosophical reflection, and street-level social critique to produce as vivid, systemic, and cumulatively moving an account of contemporary life as any poet now writing."
—Times Literary Supplement