Poetry. In Keith Waldrop's THE HOUSE SEEN FROM NOWHERE, we are invited into a meditational drift that explores the 'tense emptiness' of being . The construction of all that surrounds us, the carpentry, wavers between order and the instability of order, is manifest in syntax and etymology. In this house, which is all things-body, fortress, residence, logic, language, mortality—we find mirrors, echoes, and spirits: "the figures light / delineates not / the light itself." Where we might use Zeno's Paradox to understand the relation between the knower and the known, it is in Keith's house that we find the paradox of "empty distinctions," a tension between asymmetrical opposites. The house exists "not to inclose but / to include // without redemption."
"In his 16th collection, dedicated to the Oulipo-associated writer Jacques Roubaud, Waldrop collects seven serial poems, meditations on being and nothingness, in the persona of a philosopher in his twilight years. Not wishing to recapitulate the past, and seeing only forgetting and death in the future, the poems focus almost preternaturally on the still point of the present, so that 'From one window to the next the seasons turn round—spring flowers in the front yard while the kitchen gives onto ice and snow.' Waldrop's lines are as clean as Williams's, if more Euclidean. And despite his explorations of linguistic logic, it is the things of this world, like a red traffic light, that serve as beacons of faith and joy. There is no irritable reaching after mystical lyricism in this Kansas-born student of French poetry, just the austere eloquence inherent in the search for a stable metaphysics that could occupy the place of spiritual solace, if not (as it happens, the last word in the book) redemption."—Publisher's Weekly
"Waldrop's brilliance of wit and device, the serenity of judgement, the articulation of research and reflection... all these delight, and convince anew that poetry is a vast, holistic science, a science of sciences, from which an adept like Waldrop brings results we've never heard before."—Robert Kelly
Publisher's WeeklySean Pears @ Colorado ReviewFeature @ PennSoundExcerpt @ The Poetry Foundation
Keith Waldrop is the author of numerous collections of poetry, most recently Transcendental Studies (University of California Press, 2009), a trilogy of collage poems which won the National Book Award for Poetry. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island, where he teaches at Brown University, and has served as co-editor of the press Burning Deck with his wife, Rosmarie Waldrop, since 1968.Author City: Providence, RI USA