Poetry. Religion & Spirituality. The dictionary definition of "hagiography" is a biography of a saint, but though some saints turn up here, Michael Joyce's A HAGIOGRAPHY OF HEAVEN AND VICINITY is more a travelogue through a unique poetic landscape where the spiritual and secular intertwine, "salvation and damnation mixed," in a heady brew of cultural highbrow and pop, of past and present, the imagined and real. The book both begins and ends with images of "an ordinary place upon this earth," one the "placeless place" of a shopping mall (where Saul of Tarsus contemplates the end of prophesy while eating sesame chicken), the other the author's memories of a street corner in Uppsala, which in its very lack of anything remarkable answers the "silence of god." As this book travels the interpenetration of the sacred and the mundane, it is also a celebration, brilliantly and joyfully done.
MICHAEL JOYCE's sixteen books and several digital works span a career as novelist, poet, critic, theorist, digital literature pioneer, and multimedia artist. He lives along the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie where he is Professor Emeritus of English and Media Studies at Vassar College. Even before the pandemic, he says he began to think of himself as "an everyday monk, reluctant to frame this stage of my life in terms of what I am going to do, or how I feel, or in any other way that has 'now' as an antecedent. That is, I resist thinking it an end or beginning of something, but rather as a continual folding and unfolding along a dimensionless surface, not something but not nothingness." For more information, visit michaeljoyce.com.