// Michael Magee
"Place -- under arrest, outside the Ben Franklin House, a bit of
declarative rhetoric echoing past the old psych ward, a decaying
neighborhood, jazz struggling, the Amerinesiac that must needs awaken and
feel its limbs. "The untimely state's AM radio" getting played here,
detuned and refracted through Magee's acute sense of history and hearing.
Here that? Michael Magee's poetry, "buzzes with the legislative,
polemical and liberatory static of American political history" (K. Silem
Mohammed). This buzzing refracts to us from the highway to the needle
exchange, the monument to the bus stop. Magee is one of the most
well-informed American poet-listeners. Bob Perelman says "his poems sound
out the present tense histories and provide democratic key signatures so
different people can play their meanings at once. We hear about a better
place -- all the time, if we listen. But getting there is not an
automatic thing. These poems help." Or as Heather Fuller writes, "This is
not your ordinary peripateticism. For what Michael has tapped into is the
psychotic tyranny of the antecedent, in which everything is thing,
everyone is they, and all else is it, and this is how it is."
"a high fidelity
version of me staple-gunned"
From Al Filreis's review, Writers House Listserv,
May 12, 1999:
I just read around in Morning Constitutional and can hardly wait to read the rest.
"Florida," with its
fractured refrains of Declaration of Independence idiom ("endowed by its
electrocutor w/ certain ukeleleable frights"--the modifier reminding me
of Arthur Godfrey of Floridian fame), is just stunningly, disgustingly,
right. The title poem tours constitutional and brotherly-love ironies,
very "political." And of course there's "Pledge," which uses the variations
mode to alter or re-compose the Pledge of Allegiance--marvelous. Many
of us have heard "Pledge" read at the Writers House, including me; but
what amazed me as I read the poem in the new book is how far you've pushed
it, how amazingly many variations you've made of it. The last one begins,
"I planned a neat myth...."
Congrats on the publication (and to Kristen, and presumably others, for making it).
from A DETROIT OF THE MIND, pg 11:
I thought all night
along I 90
until my back of my
mind was killing me
to Detroit never having
seen it, or a map
Michigan is a glove, a mitten
if you want
the history of Detroit go
find out for yourself
they all said. The history
of a stitch in a
mitten? It got
on my hand on the wheel
$5 jobs and a
a Ford to get lost
the Right to Assembly
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