Robert Dassanowsky
Telegrams from the Metropole
Selected Poems 1980-1998

1999. 106 pp. ISBN-13 978-3-901993-02-2; ISBN-10 3-901993-02-9
£10.50 (+ 2.00 p&p), €13.00 (+ 2.50 p&p), US$18.00 (+ 3.00 p&p)
 

In these carefully crafted, often experimental texts, Dassanowsky examines significant historical, socio-political figures and cultural phenomena. Dassanowsky's transcendental "close-ups" offer perspectives on individuals and events including Mata Hari, Mallarmé, Apollinaire, Derrida, modern art, the First World War, and the collapse of the Berlin Wall.  Many of these poems explore the supple shifts in linguistic meaning that occur when typographic forms or arrangements of the text on the page are manipulated. For example, the poem "Derrida(s)" deconstructs both itself and signifying function while, "The Audit" crosses boundaries between poetry, drama and mathematical equations.  Published by the prestigious Poetry Salzburg, this stimulating collection includes a perceptive introduction by Andrea Moorhead and exquisite cover art by Robert Moorhead.

Karl E. Jirgens, Rampike (Canada) 12/1, 2000.


Excerpts from Telegrams from the Metropole
 

Knowing the Time is Nothing

A God has been stained onto
our eyes at birth

The baroque domes collapse
and others say there is no music
the Queen of Night flounders
with no friends

It is just a sky:
breath adds to the desert
and the spine is a final
tether to the earth

which is ours, worked to death
and then we try to escape.
 

In the Tunguska Region, Siberia, 1908

The arc from the heavens as it
continues to earth mocks the sadness
of a crash, the curve of
a civilization
the fall of fire

The capitals of the Old Order
brushing off the usual dust
signing papers, donning dress
cheering bloodless annexations
and the ultimate culture
lift glasses of ferment

A comet could hit the earth
because the timing is so
collisions are unavoidable
as objects cross, an unthinking
hurling, a progress

People are restless
even in the poor fields
even in the oiled factories
even in mauve
even in turrets of the ages
and with progress

The Russian wilderness is empty
no count of bodies will take place
the sounds of motion disrupt
the harmony of a band, a stroll
the pattern of chores
many run a bit, stop, look
this continues in towns of far
distance

The livestock shatters

There is progress in Europe
others hide their suspicions
others close to the Tunguska rivers
see a flame like no other, a cloud
like an onion roof, the kind found
from St. Petersburg to the Tyrol
high and still like a monument
so modern it can not be deciphered

The papers report a meteor
or perhaps not
of great power
or perhaps of immense force

The charring is sampled for years
for years and years nothing grows
so it is ignored
no daguerreotypes are made

At the end of the century
all the charring is sampled.


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