"Words say too much to let you know the truth.'' George Quasha's torqued, enigmatic proverbs create unlikely balances among discrepant engagements. WAKING FROM MYSELF is the sixth volume published of George Quasha's "preverbs," an invented poetic genre that's the flipside of "proverbs"—instead of giving capsules of wisdom, they awaken language to its inevitable ambiguities in the face of complex truth-telling. The vectors of these marvelous poems work at cross purposes, keeping each other aloft. If William Blake's "Proverbs of Hell" are poetry, then George Quasha's preverbs are like a close cousin. Its core question is: can poetry say the unsayable?
George Quasha is a poet, artist, musician and writer working in diverse mediums to explore certain principles (e.g., axiality, ecoproprioception). For his primary medium poiesis he has invented the genre preverbs as a medium of axial language and "linguality at zero point." Seven of the thirteen books of preverbs have been published to date. Poetry in Principle: Essays in Poetics (foreword by Edward Casey, 2019) contains recent writing on "the poetics of thinking." Zero Point Poiesis: George Quasha's Axial Art (2022) is a collection of writings on his poetry, art and thought by sixteen authors, edited by Burt Kimmelman, foreword by Jerome McGann. He has been awarded the T-Space 10th annual Poetry Award (2022). His ongoing video work was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006), principally for art is/music is/poetry is (Speaking Portraits), for which he has recorded over a thousand artists, poets, and composers in eleven countries saying what art, music, or poetry is (art-is-international.org)-represented in the book art is (Speaking Portraits) (2016). His axial stones, drawings and video have been exhibited in various venues, including the Snite Museum of Art, the Manfred Baumgartner Gallery, White Box, the Samuel Dorsky Museum and biennials (Poland, Switzerland, New York). Axial Stones: An Art of Precarious Balance (foreword by Carter Ratcliff, 2006) explores the axial principle in his sculpture. Other writing on art includes An Art of Limina: Gary Hill's Works & Writings (with Charles Stein, foreword by Lynne Cooke, 2009). Poetry previous to preverbs include Somapoetics (1973), Giving the Lily Back Her Hands (1979), and Ainu Dreams (with Chie Hasegawa [Hammons], 1999). He lives in Barrytown, New York, collaborating with Susan Quasha on photography /preverbs (six series of their sixteen combined works available online), and together they publish Station Hill Press.