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Company of Moths: Poetry

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The new collection by America's greatest experimental poet. Michael Palmer has been hailed by John Ashbery as "exemplarily radical" and by The Village Voice as "the most influential avant-gardist working, and perhaps the greatest poet of his generation." His new book, Company of Mothsa collection in four parts, "Stone," "Scale," "Company of Moths," and "Dream"is beautiful, The new collection by America's greatest experimental poet. Michael Palmer has been hailed by John Ashbery as "exemplarily radical" and by The Village Voice as "the most influential avant-gardist working, and perhaps the greatest poet of his generation." His new book, Company of Mothsa collection in four parts, "Stone," "Scale," "Company of Moths," and "Dream"is beautiful, and fierce: "bright archive, sad merriment," "question pursuing question." Palmer, in this new volume for our darkest times, asks, "How will you now read in the dark?"


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The new collection by America's greatest experimental poet. Michael Palmer has been hailed by John Ashbery as "exemplarily radical" and by The Village Voice as "the most influential avant-gardist working, and perhaps the greatest poet of his generation." His new book, Company of Mothsa collection in four parts, "Stone," "Scale," "Company of Moths," and "Dream"is beautiful, The new collection by America's greatest experimental poet. Michael Palmer has been hailed by John Ashbery as "exemplarily radical" and by The Village Voice as "the most influential avant-gardist working, and perhaps the greatest poet of his generation." His new book, Company of Mothsa collection in four parts, "Stone," "Scale," "Company of Moths," and "Dream"is beautiful, and fierce: "bright archive, sad merriment," "question pursuing question." Palmer, in this new volume for our darkest times, asks, "How will you now read in the dark?"

30 review for Company of Moths: Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Haines Eason

    At first I didn’t realize how swept away I was by Palmer’s poetry—I was confused and frustrated by it, frankly. But then I let go, and the most miraculous thing happened: I was transported (can’t say where), swept into a mystical plane ancient and modern, sacred and profane and quotidian all in one... Finally, a well read poet who does not bludgeon his audience with references, a poet who knows how to dream.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Hittinger

    I knew I was going to like this book just from the cover: three moth-eaten holes that expose the white space beneath what looks like human skin just visible around the edge where the black cover is also eaten away. They almost look like cigarette burn marks, and the Jackson Pollack-like white strings of paint (if they are paint) look like smoke (if they are not smoke). What I appreciate here is Palmer's innovative syntax coupled with his line breaks, how the two in tandem really slow you down at I knew I was going to like this book just from the cover: three moth-eaten holes that expose the white space beneath what looks like human skin just visible around the edge where the black cover is also eaten away. They almost look like cigarette burn marks, and the Jackson Pollack-like white strings of paint (if they are paint) look like smoke (if they are not smoke). What I appreciate here is Palmer's innovative syntax coupled with his line breaks, how the two in tandem really slow you down at times and make you re-read lines until that "a-ha" moment of pleasure that comes in understanding the sense. And his music is wonderful. (I know, imagine! Contemporary poetry that has music and isn't afraid of its lyricism!) It's weird, I know he's supposedly "experimental" however you want to define that (because his punctuation is simplified? I'd need to see the larger body of his work to determine how that word "experimental" is being deployed), but through the experimentation his work maintains an ear-pleasing lyricism, that, coupled with the complex syntax and the wit with which he approaches words and their meaning, satisfies my expectations of a certain type of good poetry and makes me want to read more. And his genuine use of the posed question in his verse, and not as a ploy or in a rhetorical manner, but as a genuine investigation, a genuine investigative impulse, that recording of process, the mind's process, the poem an act of thought, of thinking. Yes, yes, yes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    Michael Palmer's *A Company of Moths* reads like a reading on your palm or using cards and there is the titling of things and repetitions to cradle something. What I don't know. At some point I did feel eulogic but then again, not. Michael Palmer's *A Company of Moths* reads like a reading on your palm or using cards and there is the titling of things and repetitions to cradle something. What I don't know. At some point I did feel eulogic but then again, not.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Jones

    not the typical poetry collection i gravitate towards, but i'm glad i read this one. it is well put together, with well-defined sections that build upon each other. i was particularly fond of the 'untitled' poems in the connection. and there was some stellar lines that really reeled me in. not the typical poetry collection i gravitate towards, but i'm glad i read this one. it is well put together, with well-defined sections that build upon each other. i was particularly fond of the 'untitled' poems in the connection. and there was some stellar lines that really reeled me in.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennn

    Two stars always feels so harsh to me, but I'm taking the literal meaning, "it was ok." It didn't really astound me or locate some gem of hidden truth inside me. I'm sure that there are many people out there that would like his style, but I really wasn't one of them. Repetitions in poems can be quite good, but I felt like some of the lines and especially his key words were just pounded in time after time to the point of losing their flavor and meaning. It was a continual stream of: eyes, books, g Two stars always feels so harsh to me, but I'm taking the literal meaning, "it was ok." It didn't really astound me or locate some gem of hidden truth inside me. I'm sure that there are many people out there that would like his style, but I really wasn't one of them. Repetitions in poems can be quite good, but I felt like some of the lines and especially his key words were just pounded in time after time to the point of losing their flavor and meaning. It was a continual stream of: eyes, books, glass, moths, fire, pages. To me the book really suffered there. And a lot of it to was too abstract for my tastes. I like directness and preciseness, and many times I just felt lost in his chaotic, random phrases and words ("Grey face turned away/Jam jar of forget-me-nots//Girl with gold chain/cinching her waist" from A, "What of that wolfhound at full stride?/ and the amber eye that serves as feral guide//and witness/to the snowy hive?" from Stone), and I spent some time looking for anything recognizable. In the second part, Scale, all of the poems are much shorter and even more muddled. A side note: He also had about 5 untitled poems, which is just a personal pet peeve of mine. However, like I said, it was ok and not an abomination by any means. It still had some poems that I enjoyed. I liked Untitled (Feb 2000), "The painter with no memory//paints the single thing/she sees, this ballast of stones,/ladder of mottled glass,/oval face, ashen-eyed, the dance//of the thing and its name,/lost limb and its shadow,//small paintings all of these, each one the same.", And, "We share the invisible nature of these/things, our bodies and theirs./And the moon did not appear that night.", The Meryl Asleep "You saw that newly minted sun//without horizon, that pit/of twined and mounded limbs,//that city with no center", But they have fallen (not that original, but nicely put together), and the very last poem, Dream of a Language that Speaks (a different feel). All in all, I took a few things from it and that makes me glad that I read it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    It's not every day when you read a new poet who is able to at once craft some incredibly striking poems, and who is also willing and capable of making some major claims about poetry. But Palmer does both-- his poems are strung together of received language, to a large degree, but his poetry-mojo is enough to redeem it in a way that makes it seem not only possible, but almost an obligation to fashion something valuable out of the current condition of language. And then, he's able to go on and theo It's not every day when you read a new poet who is able to at once craft some incredibly striking poems, and who is also willing and capable of making some major claims about poetry. But Palmer does both-- his poems are strung together of received language, to a large degree, but his poetry-mojo is enough to redeem it in a way that makes it seem not only possible, but almost an obligation to fashion something valuable out of the current condition of language. And then, he's able to go on and theorize about that very desire, the need we have to fashion meaning and poetry's central spot in that fashioning. I'm not the first to come to Palmer; in fact, I'm here after reading Stephen Burt rhapsodize about his work. But it's saying it again-- Palmer's work is amazing, and important.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    I really like the analogy Palmer draws where he compares language to a group of moths attracted to a flame. And if an image like this had been drawn in a single poem, I probably would have found great pleasure in it. But to stretch that analogy over the course of an entire book feels just a little dull. In fact, using poetry to claim that language is an uneven enterprise seems like something I've heard before. Is it really necessary to repeat it? I still value the book for individual poems, whos I really like the analogy Palmer draws where he compares language to a group of moths attracted to a flame. And if an image like this had been drawn in a single poem, I probably would have found great pleasure in it. But to stretch that analogy over the course of an entire book feels just a little dull. In fact, using poetry to claim that language is an uneven enterprise seems like something I've heard before. Is it really necessary to repeat it? I still value the book for individual poems, whose intensity equals what I enjoy in Palmer's work. But I expect the book to have some quality rising above these points.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Allan

    I really need half stars, because this isn't a three star book, but not quite a four star book either. There were several poems that wowed me, a few that left me flat. For the most part I liked the lyricism of it. The best critical statement I can make, though, is that it will inspire me to go back to the beginning of Palmer's work, and work my way forward. I really need half stars, because this isn't a three star book, but not quite a four star book either. There were several poems that wowed me, a few that left me flat. For the most part I liked the lyricism of it. The best critical statement I can make, though, is that it will inspire me to go back to the beginning of Palmer's work, and work my way forward.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Audrey W

    recommended by visiting filmmaker David Gatten...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Philsy Denofrio

    Out right good.

  11. 4 out of 5

    John

    a kind of colloquial mysticism, in sleeves worn with deceptive ease

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tcunniff

    Another modern master.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Shahna

    Not bad. It was a nice change just reading poetry. Favourites from this book are: The Thought Vamus Viver... Your Diamond Show

  14. 4 out of 5

    Claire

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Taransky

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

  17. 4 out of 5

    Grant Barber

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bunnyhoopla

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shirleyfaye Pyle

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bill Nelson

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Audra (ouija.reads)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zayda Tenney

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  26. 5 out of 5

    John Madera

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

  28. 4 out of 5

    Drew Kunz

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Neal

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