Friday, June 13, 2008

William Fuller: Watchword

Watchword, William Fuller (Flood Editions, 2006)


Damn, William Fuller is one weird, fascinating poet. My own tendency is towards the musical, the lyrical, whether in the complex, baroque musics of Bunting, the bare dissonances of Zukofsky, or the super-lush organ-tones of Ronald Johnson, Swinburne, or Milton. Fuller's poems are so dissonant that I want to call them not just alyrical, but anti-lyrical. Nonetheless, for all their syntactic dead ends, their strange & abrupt shifts of register, their abstractions resting cheek-by-jowl with their vivid images – or perhaps because of all those things – the poems of Watchword are as imperatively readable – that is, they force you to read, & read on, & read again – as anything I've opened in the last year. I find this stuff hard to describe: maybe imagine Thomas Traherne crossed with some 17th-century philosopher, crossed with a particularly eloquent writer of legal briefs – but with an extraordinarily loose sense of syntax, & a keen eye for the visible & invisible worlds.

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