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Destruction Myth (CSU Poetry) Paperback – November 16, 2009

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


In the beginning, everyone looked like Larry Bird. In the beginning, there was a rotting pig corpse. Everyone wanted to fight to the death. There was a hole in the basement floor. And a bunny with a broken leg. There were ghosts. Evildoers. A gun. Bacon. Cologne. A pencil. In these inventive, often deeply unnerving poems, Mathias Svalina offers us a string of 45 creation myths and one longer, unsettling destruction myth. The result is a sonically complex, breathtakingly witty book, a collection of poems that surprises first with its wildly orchestrated clamor of narratives then, on reflection, surprises all over again with its intelligence and insight into the many ways we tell stories, the many means by which we imagine ourselves participating in them. --Kevin Prufer

In the beginning, we were children and we had beautiful imaginations, but we had no home for them. Then up sprouted Mathias Svalina s Destruction Myth and we did. It too was beautiful, bloody, silly, haunted. At first we thought it was godly, and then we discovered it was human. We feared it; we loved it; we slept with it under our pillows. --Eleni Sikelianos

If I feel physically as if the top of my head is taken off and replaced with a soft serve ice cream machine, I am pretty sure it is poetry. Svalina s book does no less, and also so much more. Read but also believe this book of fantastic lies. It s like how you see a cat sitting there and you think that is just a cat and then you realize that cat is God. Mathias Svalina has reinvented Yahweh as an Animorph. When this book is taught in college classrooms, students will curl up on the air conditioning vents and ask for salt. --Anne Boyer

About the Author

Mathias Svalina was born in Chicago, where his parents were both chemists. He is the author of five chapbooks as well as five collaboratively written chapbooks. His work has been published widely in journals such as American Letters & Commentary, The Boston Review, Diagram, jubilat, and Typo. He has won fellowships and awards from The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, The Iowa Review and New Michigan Press, among others. With Zachary Schomburg, he co-edits Octopus Magazine and Octopus Books. He currently teaches writing and literature in Denver, Colorado. DESTRUCTION MYTH is his first book.

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Product Details

  • Series: CSU Poetry
  • Paperback: 83 pages
  • Publisher: Cleveland State University Poetry Center; 1 edition (November 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880834871
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880834879
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 7.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,168,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
I bought this book after seeing Svalina at an off-site reading at AWP in DC. I was struck enough to rush out and buy the book the next day. This book contains 44 poems that all share the same title "Creation Myth" and one poem at the end "Destruction Myth". The creation myths contain the origins of a myriad of different worlds, a world of Larry birds, a world where there is a Church of the Hovercrafts, worlds of bureaucracy, language, chemistry, voids, and forgetful Gods. All of these worlds hurtle towards the inevitable end with grace, poignancy, attention to detail, and a sense of humor only capable by the most manic creators. A creator who, "...woke up with this great idea / & later in the day / he remembered that he'd had / this great idea, but he couldn't / remember what the idea was. // He tried to remember / but then he thought of humans." Svalina so masterfully captures the hopefulness and despair of the human condition in a style that is conversational, but exquisite. This book could be the guy on the motorcycle when Svalina writes, "I don't know who the guy is. The guy on the motorcycle. But he's coming. I don't / know why I know this but I know this. He's coming & he's going to save us."
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