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Speculative Music – New Poetry from Jeff Dolven
September 19, 2013 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Jeff Dolven will read from his new collection Speculative Music: Poems just published this summer at Sarabande Books.
This event will take place Thursday, September 19th, 2013 at 6PM at Labyrinth Books in Princeton, NJ.
If these poems are hands, and these hands move within us—their readers, their puppets—they are sleight of hands, conjuring a deep cavern beyond their spare proscenia. As though through a distorting glass, Speculative Music’s slant untruths only focus more acutely the poems’ profound yearnings. Goethe would recognize a cousin! —Susan Wheeler
“In Speculative Music, Jeff Dolven takes up the great and rare project of “inventio”: these poems are imaginative discoveries, beautiful contraptions, engines of delight and pathos. A music-hall sprightliness barely cloaks “the querying steel” flashing throughout. The command and dash here at times might remind you of Auden, but Dolven is his own (split) man. This is work at times “shyly rehearsing a subtler number,” other times clicking its zany heels. Here is the world, askew. Here is a poet who can indeed “string a string . . . through everything.’” —Maureen McLane
“It’s the kind of book where you want to call up a friend and say, listen to this, listen to his other one, whatever is he going to do next? Utterly original, within the poem leaping like a mountain goat from one change of meaning to another of some word or homonym the poem obsesses on. He can tell you that the humming bird hums because it doesn’t know the words, and that on the phone it’s neither hear nor there, and hello, hello, am I still here? All by means of an extremely adept prosody, always always alive. Sometimes (rather cheerfully) despairing, sometime coolly objective, always sympathetic to who he is and who we are, and amused by all of us. It’s a delight. More than a delight. But it’s a delight.” —David Ferry
Jeff Dolven’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Times Literary Supplement, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. Speculative Music is his first collection. He teaches poetry and poetics, especially of the English Renaissance, at Princeton University, and is an editor at large at Cabinet magazine.