Voyager

Overview


Srikanth Reddy’s second book of poetry probes this world’s cosmological relation to the plurality of all possible worlds. Drawing its name from the spacecraft currently departing our solar system on an embassy to the beyond, Voyager unfolds as three books within a book and culminates in a chilling Dantean allegory of leadership and its failure in the cause of humanity. At the heart of this volume lies the historical figure of Kurt Waldheim—Secretary-General of the U.N. from 1972-81 and former intelligence ...
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Voyager

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Overview


Srikanth Reddy’s second book of poetry probes this world’s cosmological relation to the plurality of all possible worlds. Drawing its name from the spacecraft currently departing our solar system on an embassy to the beyond, Voyager unfolds as three books within a book and culminates in a chilling Dantean allegory of leadership and its failure in the cause of humanity. At the heart of this volume lies the historical figure of Kurt Waldheim—Secretary-General of the U.N. from 1972-81 and former intelligence officer in Hitler’s Wehrmacht—who once served as a spokesman for humanity while remaining silent about his role in the collective atrocities of our era. Resurrecting this complex figure, Reddy’s universal voyager explores the garden of forking paths hidden within every totalizing dream of identity.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Reddy uses as the source for his long-awaited second collection the controversial memoir of Kurt Waldheim, the U.N. secretary general who was found to have been a Nazi SS officer. All the language in Reddy's book comes from Waldheim's; Reddy's three sections comprise three erasures (in which all but a few words are deleted from the source text) of Waldheim's book by different methods. In the first, a series of clipped poetic lines is as much a hazy expression of an everyman's guilty conscience ("He knew the topography of injustice./ It had neither inside nor outside") as it is a specific indictment of global political life since WWII: "One would not wish this account to become a catalogue of the disappeared." Part two is a virtuosic and surprising prose narrative told by someone obsessed with the golden records sent up with the two Voyager space shuttles in 1977, "full of popular tunes and beautiful technological problems." In the third and longest section, a sequence of mostly first-person lyrics in Waldheim's voice beautifully mixes the personal and political concerns of the book: "He complained/ that I did not believe/ in his extraordinary world." The book closes with a series of epilogues that reveal something of the process by which it was composed. Taken together, these recastings form a highly ambitious book of political poetry that speaks hauntingly of our world. (Feb.)
Booklist

“The paradoxical lives of historical figures have long inspired poets, a tradition Reddy embraces and transforms in his audacious, deeply interrogative second collection. . . . Nuanced yet piercing.”
Chronicle Of Higher Education

“Through Reddy’s ‘erasures’ and the negative capabilities of his excavated text we feel, even if we cannot see, what’s missing, what’s gone—into outer space, into self-denial, into the ironies of history and of the role between the wielders of pens and of swords. We find ourselves—culpable, impressionable, alive—in the human space he has created.”
New Yorker - Dan Chiasson

“Reddy has fashioned an arresting, very personal voice by committing himself to using only words and phrases that appeared in—wait for it—Kurt Waldheim’s memoirs. . . . Reddy is so gifted that the poems, despite their weighty origins, soar.”
WBEZ-FM

“Voyager is a nuanced and haunting book of geopolitical, literary, moral, and spiritual inquiry.”
The Believer Magazine - Jeannie Vanasco

“Erasurists find their imaginative space by reading creatively. One of the genre's most creative readers in Srikanth Reddy. Not only is his erasure, the book Voyager, conceptually captivating, but the writing is amazing. Let me repeat that: the writing is amazing.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520268852
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 2/7/2011
  • Series: New California Poetry
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 1,449,493
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author


Srikanth Reddy is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago and the author of a previous collection of poetry, Facts for Visitors.
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Table of Contents


Book One
Book Two
Book Three

Epilogues
Acknowledgments

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