Charles River

Charles River
Upper Limit Cloud/Lower Limit Sail


"Messianicity is not messianism ... even though this distinction remains fragile and enigmatic." (Jacques Derrida)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Gnostic Frequencies

I'm delighted to announce the publication of my second full-length collection of poems, Gnostic Frequencies, from Tod Thilleman's Spuyten Duyvil. It's available through Spuyten Duyvil's website and from Amazon, and will be listed next year with Small Press Distribution.

"Patrick Pritchett’s Gnostic Frequencies boldly and brilliantly takes up the Romantic quest to make an infinite Book. Just as Pritchett’s previous volume Burn offered a visionary revision of the Joan of Arc legend, here the poet ‘rewrites the myth’ of the Archive as a self-renewing ruin of absolute meaning, ‘a scripting of / impossible flowers.’ In musical measures, Pritchett aligns ancient paradoxes of the inspirited Word with post-postmodern meditations on the virtual body. This new book stands as a major contribution to the tradition of American radical lyricism."
-- Andrew Joron

The following is excerpted from the book's End Notes:

What is a gnostic frequency? And how do we hear one? Is it the poem we tune into, in the dark? The strange language in the middle of the way, on route, that speaks from the other side of knowing, the voice (who speaks?) that murmurs, in the middle of the night, from within not-knowing, out of hope for another kind of knowing? The poem that desires, above everything else, some small vision of the otherwise?

This is a book of poems about tuning into the hidden legacies and hermetic inheritances of modernism. A book of endarkening, as Duncan might put it, of a way of knowing that is encrypted, not in musty séances and etiolated rituals, but in the quickening mysteries of logos as it arises from, yields to, and reshapes matter. Becoming gnostic means listening to the heretical speech of the caesura, to the extravagant pulses and rhythms of the unspeakable as it swirls about us, allowing language itself to speak.

The poems of Gnostic Frequencies pay tribute to the thread of hermeticism that runs from high modernism to postmodernism. They make special demands of the reader in as much as they ask her to undergo an immersion in the a-signifying stream of language as though it were a form of rhapsodomancy. They are deliberately excessive, intentionally overflowing with an excess of signification and repetition, a kind of archaic ebullience.

A gnostic poetics (always lower-case) militates against positivism, against totality, against knowing-as-such. Such a stance invites charges of obscurantism. But what gnostic poetics really calls for is not a reading of the world, but a way to undergo it. Taken together, they comprise a haphazard map of my desire to write a postmodern sophianic poem. But any wisdom to be found here will be of a purely musical, self-cancelling, order.

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