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Eschaton Paperback – January 15, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Like the Renaissance and Neo-classical poets who speculated on the Great Chain of Being and microcosm-macrocosm relationships, Heller communicates a vision of human life as related to natural processes of great intricacy and magnitude. He strains his mind and the reader's to find the relationships between our experience and these processes in the material world, but the sense of magnificence is worth the strain. --Parnassus: Poetry in Review

About the Author

Michael Heller is a poet, essayist, and critic. He is the author of twenty books, including THIS CONSTELLATION IS A NAME (Nightboat Books, 2012), Living Root: A Memoir, Exigent Futures: New and Selected Poems and CONVICTION'S NET OF BRANCHES (Spuyten Duyvil, 2002), his award-winning study of the Objectivist poets. He lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 95 pages
  • Publisher: Talisman House, Publishers (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584980664
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584980667
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,807,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Norman Finkelstein on January 25, 2009
Michael Heller's last two books of poetry, Wordflow (1997)and Exigent Futures (2003), are both volumes of new and selected poems, with some degree of overlap between them. So it is particularly exciting to have this collection of all new work--and what a beautiful book it is! An austere black-and-white production from Talisman House, decorated with the abstract drawings of Heller's friend, the late sculptor Bradford Graves, Eschaton (the word, according to the OED, refers to "the divinely ordained climax of history," as in "eschatology") is a further chapter in the quest for the "difficult freedom" (to borrow from Lévinas) which for Heller constitutes poetic wisdom. This wisdom, half-Jewish, half-Buddhist, is found in spite of oneself, as in the opening couplet of the title poem: "I don't know where spirit is, / outside or in, do I see it or not?" It is wisdom which comes to Heller through his dedication to cultural tradition, to everyday life, and to the careful turns of language that have always made his poetry such perfectly measured work.

At all points, it is a matter of responsibility. "One tries pulling syllables clean, like freeing / old nails from plaster" he notes in "The Chronicle Poet. And later in the same poem: "Useless, useless! Nothing / impedes thought's passage more than an unuttered word, / one desperately cut short or untimely enough to have become stuck / where it makes only a shameful noise..." To avoid the stuck word, the unuttered word, Heller will take extraordinary risks. Often eschewing lyricism almost entirely (and here he remains true to his Objectivist heritage), he seeks instead "To find words as a kind of meeting place / even as they fly loose in unresisting air" ("From the Notes").
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