GREAT DIME STORE CENTENNIAL

Overview

Poetry. THE GREAT DIMESTORE CENTENNIAL is a guide book to the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, seven long solos in a jam session with the dead, an answer to the four great philosophic questions of Immanuel Kant, the song of a barbaric horde, an eavesdropping at the borders of contempory history, an account of an apocalyptic disco...And the presiding beings are Beethoven, Napoleon, Sousa, Frank Woolworth, Buddy Bolden, Charlie Parker, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. "This powerful act of language is at once a ...

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Overview

Poetry. THE GREAT DIMESTORE CENTENNIAL is a guide book to the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, seven long solos in a jam session with the dead, an answer to the four great philosophic questions of Immanuel Kant, the song of a barbaric horde, an eavesdropping at the borders of contempory history, an account of an apocalyptic disco...And the presiding beings are Beethoven, Napoleon, Sousa, Frank Woolworth, Buddy Bolden, Charlie Parker, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. "This powerful act of language is at once a celebration and a moan of display. Its theme is the advent of the 'Information Society,' and its roots are in both the Western Intellectual traditions and American forms of life"—Charles Stein.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"The family farm: grain/ hand raked from the reaper platform,/ hand raked, hand stacked,/ hand pitched to the bundle racks, hand pitched to stack." Spanning the ages and modes of production, Byrd delves deep into the ways we "pay dearly for civilization": nuclear-age superstitions sit alongside ancient dictators and mythological figures. In this highly idiosyncratic and brilliantly compelling version of history, time is compressed and cultural sources cannibalized until one's prom date becomes Cleopatra's double. Each of this book-length poem's seven sections is set off by a quote from Ludwig Wittgenstein-common practice now, but less so when this book was composed in the '70s, and first published in a small press edition in 1982. Again and again, modern humans attempt to use their technological advances for misguidedly nostalgic purposes, and the results of this applied knowledge are often bizarre: the city of Dallas, for example, seeks to "replicate the Hanging Gardens/ in plastic." Just as the text shifts from poetry to prose and the diction fluctuates between the lofty and the colloquial, the poetic voice alternates between prophetic proclamation and satirical mocking of authority. As the book's sections accumulate around the anchoring concept of the world's Seven Wonders, tiny baubles of knowledge are presented to the reader, and glimmers of hope can be spotted amid humanity's detritus. This book's sprawl ("The nose is in low-/ central position in lyric space") may be almost Whitmanic, but its brand of playful cynicism is nothing other than contemporary; the re-release of this hymn to industrialization and empire, ingenuity and alienation could not be more timely: "I believe it is possible to build/ a lighthouse. I've written it down." (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781581770698
  • Publisher: Barrytown/Station Hill Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Pages: 169
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.49 (d)

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