Poetry. "One of our greatest and most consummate poets, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, offers 80 poems in this collection, closely observing her Self and the planet she inhabits. She asks urgent existential questions 'what life actually is, with anything called / oneself in it,' and she openly expresses her outrage and fury at the current state of the planet. To a 'quotidian apocalypse,' she responds with, I didn't count / on having to deploy this phrase / so soon.' There is an irresistible amalgamation of humor and alarm on these finely designed pages. Remarkably well-intentioned, DuPlessis is always spot on."—Anne Tardos
"Around each day, she flies her rounds—tempestuous. DuPlessis revels in travel and records what unravels in one's habits of attention when all the elsewheres return us to a home we are about to lose. 'What is the true story of any time? / any itinerary? / and of its travelling sorrows?' The poems resemble conversations that rise and set, on long journeys, in turns light or rueful, bright or bruised: monologues that trail the trails. The reader listens in, chimes up, takes a draught, like a fellow traveller hurtling and hurting on a tour through the end times. Disarmingly candid, these verses and prose forays document the dread and slow-inching surprise of a terrible lesson—at this catastrophe, we are the sudden turn; at this catastrophe, the earth is overturned every single day. And yet, DuPlessis also remembers to collect the ribbons of sunlight and the laughter she trips upon, through these journeys. I encounter so many moments of startling honesty—each poem is a face as pert as day and as wild as night, looking up, from a labyrinth of drafts."—Divya Victor
"Of the worlds we pass through in a day, 80 shine forth here, in the pages of a pilgrim, a meta-Basho with a meta-notebook, who is by turns hilarious, somber, meditative, grieving, charming, and almost effortlessly profound. The 80 worlds are in fact one world, in that an end is coming to them all. (Every day a fresh apocalypse!) Not in a hurry but mindful of time, DuPlessis shares what she sees (earthquakes, fascist rallies, Mt. Fuji) and what she so acutely hears, in heart, in mind, in emails from friends. While taking us through the 80 or 80,000 sights and sounds of a life, she guides us as well through her own deep disquiet, a disquiet that turns out to be both an anxious and an exhilarating place to be. Page after page we travel with her, in the warmth of her company, amid colliding moments and 'marvelous concurrences.'"—Joseph Donahue
Rachel Blau DuPlessis is a poet, critic and collagist who has written extensively on gender, poetry, and poetics, along with other social locations in texts. As a SELECTED POEMS 1980-2020, this volume from CHAX Press is a career survey of stylistic and thematic scope. Her work in poetry is centered by the multi-volume long poem Drafts, 114 cantos (1986-2012), whose range and intensities move from the cosmological to the granular, from joy to historical trauma. Her newest critical book A Long Essay on the Long Poem (University of Alabama Press, 2023) schematizes the purposes and poetics of long modes. Beyond the two collage works from Drafts, DuPlessis has also published the book-length collage poems Graphic Novella (2015), Numbers (2018), and Life in Handkerchiefs (2022). The collections of Traces, with Days, her twenty-first century serial poem in book- sized episodes, examine contemporary historical materials and the personal quotidian within the fine mesh of poetic discourses. DAYS AND WORKS, LATE WORK, AROUND THE DAY IN 80 WORLDS, Poetic Realism, and Daykeeping, published from 2017 to 2023 are episodes in this current grouping. Her critical work is noted for a trilogy about gender and poetics, The Pink Guitar (1990, 2006), Blue Studios (2006), and Purple Passages (2012). She edited The Selected Letters of George Oppen and has commented variously on other poets in the Objectivist formation.