The Guns and Flags Project: Poems

The Guns and Flags Project: Poems

by Geoffrey G. O'Brien
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Obsessed with work and dream, shot through with weather and color, Geoffrey G. O'Brien's spirited debut pursues the possibility of the lyric itself—whether the voice raised "with melodies/and thinking" can be rescued from the ongoing disaster of progress. In roving five-beat lines the poems pass again and again through scenes of liminality—sunset and dawn,

Overview

Obsessed with work and dream, shot through with weather and color, Geoffrey G. O'Brien's spirited debut pursues the possibility of the lyric itself—whether the voice raised "with melodies/and thinking" can be rescued from the ongoing disaster of progress. In roving five-beat lines the poems pass again and again through scenes of liminality—sunset and dawn, falling asleep and waking up, border crossings—searching there for a potential ethics and politics of vision, a mutating, rhythmic "project" to oppose the inert spectacle of guns and flags. Like Ashbery stoked on sonics, O'Brien insists that the restless, unsatisfied motion of thought must hold the place for an ever-decaying freedom within the state.
Yet it is not idea alone that flares "passionately in our lives," but the smell of rain, the behavior of clouds, repetitions of waves:these are the subjects of a meditative ecstasy that advances The Guns and Flags Project as an inheritor of the Stevensian tradition, charged with a sense that history's never-ending storm of restoration and ruin cannot be outmaneuvered but might be withstood, and even revised, by song.

Editorial Reviews

Memphis Commercial Appeal
A debut book, O'Brien creates incredibly detailed and dream-like narratives that skate along the borders where everyday life filters into anxiety and pain and poetic imagery ultimately triumphs as a kind of meditative yet puzzling joy.
Publishers Weekly
This book's uncannily timely title conceals "An Unusual Optimism," "Reverent Estimations," "A Soldier's Uniform" and 36 other mostly stanza-less free-verse firearms and colors. Not to be confused with the poet, critic and Library of America editor without the "G.," O'Brien made the cover of the American Poetry Review last year, but here hides his visage and shows us "the thinking loins, a catenation merging with the outline of the body first light against the hurt side of the city," until, finally, "the French came, and they killed us. ...They killed us and kept killing us until we spread out some legacy in a red-and-white feuilleton of snow." Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Writing in the meditative-aestheticist tradition of Stevens, Ashbery, and the Language poets, O'Brien presents lyrics of incomparable nuance and density in his first book. His poems amount to an artistic counteroffensive against the deadening effects of work ("the road down the middle of you") and politics ("the nation blowing in wind vexed by a flag"). In place of these distractions, O'Brien meditates on transitional moments, especially in the weather and atmosphere, where "all objects are about to be replaced." In O'Brien's richly textured world, creation and de-creation occur simultaneously. For example, in the moments of twilight following sunset, "A is everything and B is everything leaving." Similarly, "the snow was the future perfect of snow." O'Brien's poetry is demanding but rewarding, transporting the reader to "the country the city used to be." Highly recommended for all larger collections. Daniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520231450
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
02/22/2002
Series:
New California Poetry Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
85
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)

Meet the Author

Geoffrey G. O'Brien's poetry has appeared in many journals, including American Letter & Commentary, The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, The Iowa Review, and Volt.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >