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Sunday
Aug272017

ARTHUR DIES, First Chronicle, Vol. 2 by Olchar E. Lindsann

 

 

As one proceeds through "ARTHUR DIES First Chronicle Vol.2" familiar characters, such as Merlin or Vivienne, are encountered beyond the reach of common language, in a world of divinations and sepulchers, in domains where chaotic punctuation  and syntactic disorder abound.  This is in fact an epic both in the traditional sense of the word, and in the approach of an anti-poetics perspective of what can be undone in that tradition. In its sweeping texts and and contexts it embodies not only the imagined or fictive culture of the twilight era alluded to, but those of our own post-modern and failed civilization with all its cultural and literary -isms that have arisen from an original "avant-garde".  Lindsann combines the mythical Avalon with Blake's Albion, pursuing these emblematic nomenclatures to their illogical fusion in an always enigmatic concatenation of events and personages flung about in a supreme and deft literary whirl. -Ivan Argüelles

 

$21

ISBN 9781938521409

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http://www.lulu.com/shop/olchar-lindsann/arthur-dies-first-chronical-vol2/paperback/product-23310478.html

 

REVIEW BY JACK FOLEY

 OLCHAR E. LINDSANN AND THE HISTORY OF VERSE

 By Jack Foley   

These are two lyrical passages from Olchar E. Lindsann’s massively experimental epic, Arthur Dies First Chronicle Vol. 2—a book available from Luna Bisonte Prods. Poet Ivan Argülles calls Lindsann’s poem a work “of sheer, mad genius, alternately enervating and exhilarating.” That the poem is “an epic” places it squarely in the Modernist tradition (vide Pound, Joyce, Olson, Zukofsky, Dorn); it also calls to mind Jake Berry’s equally daring magnum opus, Brambu Drezi
 
Lindsann gives us a wild ride through the English language (turning languish to language!), spelling (in the magical sense), misspelling (in the grammatical sense), reverting to Middle English and Anglo Saxon (Beowulf’s “Hwaet” shows up prominently), peppering the text with “foreign” words (“nous,” “venir,” “avec” and “pour” from French—cf. Chaucer), placing commas where commas shouldn’t be (“typos”), cutting letters off individual words (reminding us that “literature” is made up of “letters” and is not “words,” the products of our breaths and bodies), writing certain words backwards: “the” shows up frequently as “eht.” Pound’s dictum “Make It New” is definitely present in this work, though—following the great Modernist examples—Lindsann also Makes It Obscure, Difficult. At the same time, like the Modernist masters, the poem moves us into the deep past of our bookish histories. “The challenge to which the poem attempts to respond,” writes  Lindsann, “is related to the ‘absence of myth’ addressed by Bataille and the Surrealists: on the one hand the epic as a way to both think and reflect upon (including the sense to give back, act upon) the full expanse and scope of the culture; to counteract the temporal myopia that characterizes our age, our collective inability to view ourselves in a historical context…The same dynamic is manifest in microcosm within language itself: the Epic is corollary with narrative, superstructure, social normalization of language—a thing in which I have little trust, foreswore entirely in verse for a decade, and handle like a live grenade, but must be dealt with.”
 
As I browsed through the book, I came upon this lyrical and, I thought immediately, beautiful pair of poems. Amazingly, they are formal (the second poem is a villanelle!) in structure—they rhyme!—so they conjure up a history of verse the way the formal structures of prayers conjure up a history of belief. Further: they are love poems—perhaps the central form of Western verse: Is “My luve is like a red, red rose” so different from “Come near to me / o love o void”? Isn’t the word “ravish” enriched when you make it “raevanish”? What about the word “penintrant” and the history of writing—along with its sexual connotation? 
 
 
Come near to me
o love o void
thru gloam eht mirr,or searing
venir venir my visage peering
loveshorn flects yet yearns pour thee
amelt ’vec joyed
eht veil-torne
 
come graze this glass
o love o thrilled abyss
caress sheen moonlit panting
reflect reflexing vision granting
lust invert you throb to mass
et press to kiss
in flesh to thrust
 
come raevanish me
o love o vacuum
penintrant with nihil, surging
havoc av ec static merging
nerveteased thrust vacuity
ether-volumed
shocked de verve
 
 
*
 
i lure you lure me Spell this song
nous cross to chant the chasm
our mirror casts ne nets nor wrong.
 
for loss I yearn pour depth you long
            thus breathe dear stilth phantasm
i lure you lure me spell this song.
 
like stars like stone your dream trace strong
            sans chaste ideoplasm
our mirror casts ne nets nor wrong.
 
enfused our rhythms naught the throng
            writhe fraught enthusiasm
i lure you lure me spell this song.
 
midst time less pulse our throes prolong
            lead imminence          its spasm
our mirror casts ne nets nor wrong.
 
my love my tremble your oblivion
            our twinned iconoclasm
i lure you lure me spell this song
our mirror casts ne nets nor wrong.
 
Love poems that cast us back to the early history of the language and which suggest a re-envisioning not only of the language but of the historical consciousness that language embodies. Lindsann: “There’s everything problematical about the epic form, which is in no way merely skin-deep: nationalism, xenophobia, militarism, chauvinism, paternalism, exceptionalism, essentialism, etc. etc—all of which find their most condensed expression in Fascism. It’s a matter of navigating and re-developing the epic impulse through a different set of ethical prerogatives.”
 
It should be obvious but perhaps I should make it explicit: this poem is relevant to the Age of Pmurt!

 

 

 

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