Poetry. Literary Nonfiction. Following the 26-year poetic odyssey of her long poem Drafts, Rachel Blau DuPlessis invites readers, with DAYS AND WORKS, to embark with her on not just one but a plurality of voyages. In 2014, drawing on a 1914 translation of Hesiod's Works and Days appearing at the beginning of World War I, DuPlessis began to write, bent on dealing—as did Hesiod—with the insoluble oddity of being in the world and in our time. Both works are built of evocative awe and practical "life" advice, in which conflicting sensations of the textures of historical time, personal time, cosmological time all fold together, in all their contradictions and vectors of stimuli—desired and painful. DuPlessis's work, with rips of feeling, newspaper clippings, and senses of historical fate, represents the oddity of all these registers involving us in different emotional twists. How can so many opposite things and washes of multiple emotions occupy the same daily space? Are these movements through the highly saturated consciousness of modern life "a lexicon? A listing, a relocation?" DuPlessis answers in both form and language—with a sense of the generative and constant "between" in this work expanding the everyday into a mini-encyclopedic poem on an intimate scale. The text offers an evocative political poetics including feminist, eco-poetical and anti-war thinking. It is an intense and generous book.
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.