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The Fatalist
     

The Fatalist

by Lyn Hejinian
 

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A book-length, syntactically surprising poem divided into many sections, it is interspersed with delightful descriptions of daily experience with references to illustrious writers and thinkers of the past and their systems of philosophical inquiry. It offers humorous reflection upon our species' endless attempts to transmit insight regarding our human condition.

Overview

A book-length, syntactically surprising poem divided into many sections, it is interspersed with delightful descriptions of daily experience with references to illustrious writers and thinkers of the past and their systems of philosophical inquiry. It offers humorous reflection upon our species' endless attempts to transmit insight regarding our human condition.

Editorial Reviews

The Village Voice
Characters and memories bear concepts toward a devastatingly patient understanding: that philosophy isn't an abstract empyrean, but the daily act of language. The Fatalist may be a poem; it's certainly a phenomenological daybook wherein attention alters the world utterly, so that one might watch "a crow/becoming something else/in this case/a crow."
Publishers Weekly
Readers have perhaps grown used to American poets writing ongoing, complex, reference and symbol-laden poems as if talking to themselves, making the reader a witness to the activity of a dynamic thinker's mind. Pound and Stevens, in their very different ways, are immediate forebears of this style, but Emily Dickinson before them and John Ashbery since are other obvious markers: poets who find as much poetic force in a symbol revealed as in an opaque reference to a current, but hidden, stream of thought. Hejinian's stature in this tradition increases with the publication of this book. Even more than her long poem A Border Comedy and the shorter pieces that have appeared since (Happily; Slowly and The Beginner), The Fatalist takes advantage of the tropes of fiction while admonishing narrative for not being able to contain the will of the poet: "I'm just an existentialist moving pictures/ in a pool. Certainly I'm no novelist but if I were I would/ (that's for sure) cast these circles around a troupe of troubled comedians/ named Lola de Nova and Relative Inch and Daisy and Martha/ and Gus," as one of the rich, run-on verses of this poem begins. Hejinian has changed styles so many times, it's exciting to see her settle into a new grand, permissive and open format, and reel out some beautiful sentences in startling succession. (Oct.) FYI: Hejinian's My Life remains a signature, oft-assigned long poem (with its own parody site: mylifebylynhejinian.blogspot.com), and Hejinian, with gentle irony and resolute reflection, updates and re-reckons in a new, separate work, My Life in the Nineties, using the original work's form of sentences and impressions correlated to particular years of her life (Shark Books [SPD, dist.], $12 paper 96p ISBN 0-9664871-9-2). Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781890650124
Publisher:
Omnidawn Publishing
Publication date:
10/01/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
88
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.30(d)

Meet the Author

LYN HEJINIAN is a poet, essayist, and translator. Her groundbreaking book of poetry, My Life, published by Sun & Moon / Green Integer, has had five re-printings from 1980-2002. Her most recent books include A Border Comedy (Granary Books, 2001), Slowly and The Beginner (both published by Tuumba Press, 2002), and The Fatalist (Omnidawn, 2003). The University of California Press published a collection of her essays entitled The Language of Inquiry in 2000. In the spring of 2007, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She teaches in the English Department at the University of California, Berkeley.

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