by distant association i once knew a woman from a mildly war-torn place who in the decades before 9/11 dabbled in terrorism (as maybe an american youth dabbles with heroin)  and who would romanticize it by defining it as the ‘disruption of everyday life.’ which, as a definition, is one that disguises such a tactic’s usual impotence and belies its callous destruction. less revolutionary (perhaps; probably), art seems a better fit for the definition — the disruption of everyday life.

hanshan, from whose name hoevenaar partly takes his book’s title, was a chan buddhist monk and poet who rigorously lived and made his art through a paradoxically opposed truism formulated by his rough contemporary nanquan puyuan: ‘everyday mind is the way.’

(the other half of hoevenaar’s title comes from robert smithson, who had his own definition:  You must travel at random, like the first Mayans; you risk getting lost in the thickets, but that is the only way to make art.)

a creator of expectation defiances in series, jeremy hoevenaar’s poetry holds, line to line and moment to moment, countless bait-and-switches, feints, legerdemain and outright magic. but while a few of these moves one may have seen before, his poetry also pulses and maintains a complex and relatively pure integrity, i.e. stays open. or, as anselm berrigan states it in the afterword: “This is not a wholly unknown strategy for handling time in poetry, but Hoevenaar is never smug about what he’s doing, and what he’s doing — tonally and rhetorically — is recording a succession of language hits without giving up his condition as open bundle of nerve endings not completely sure how to be built for this world.”

dug it intensely.

excerpts here. purchase it from the publisher here.


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