Sound Fury

Poems

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Pub Date 16 Nov 2022 | Archive Date 16 Nov 2022
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press

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Description

Throughout Sound Fury, poems by metaphysician Robert Herrick are refashioned into phantasmagorical oddities of likeness and difference. Figures from the fringes of popular imagination—Zane Grey, Robinson Crusoe, Porfirio Díaz—surface as cobbled-together avatars on the theme of identity. Brilliantly asserting the necessity of humane and resistant modes of speech against the vapid sounds and enforced silences of orthodoxy, Sound Fury finds the poet “Now, in our former state/ In our current one/ In stately procession,” venturing forth in a world “where things of questionable being go.”

Throughout Sound Fury, poems by metaphysician Robert Herrick are refashioned into phantasmagorical oddities of likeness and difference. Figures from the fringes of popular imagination—Zane Grey...


Advance Praise

“Whether lark as in songbird, or lark as in stunt, these skeptical, fabulous poems pluck pieces from Herrick and Pope like particulate matter from which the wonder of a poem inexplicably grows. Here is the poet Mark Levine at a great height. Sound Fury turns any easy notion of content and context inside out, executing the truth of our effortful helplessness. This book is a feat, a tonal fiesta, but not for this will it keep mattering to me, no—these songs come from somewhere deep underneath: if bawdy, then tender, full of woeful delight.”—Sally Keith, author, River House

“Mark Levine has an extraordinary nose, taste, and mouth for lives low and abject, filthy talkers and doers. His new book, Sound Fury, carries to an absolute the relentless materialist exclusions of his previous books: no horizons, abstractions, reflections; he’s just not buying them. The postmodern disenchantment with the Anthropocene, that farce of human greed and conceit, finds its latest, most confident tracker here. Levine appears nihilistic because he studies those who are. He may secretly delight in their scrappy vitality, libidinal freedom, and jouissance; he just can’t get the vulgar and ignorant out of his imagination; it’s like love. Sound Fury, which presses its two nouns together loudly and furiously, would gag on its large cast of characters if it weren’t for Levine’s unparalleled virtuosity at handling low-life types, and this is to leave aside the competing virtuosity of his tightly packed rhymes and rhythms: out of fashion, yes, but nobody does it better; it becomes addictive. His language is unstoppably vigorous, his wit sly. Control of a kitchen full of screaming cats is his thing. Levine’s distinctiveness, though, is his genius for a devastating inwardness: he speaks of ‘habit hardwired / And etched in sorrow,’ which is perfect in its sound, as is everything he writes. As for pathos and the sublime, they aren’t splashed around; but how remarkable that Levine can evoke them at all: ‘You starry sentinels above, teach us to swim the serpentine channels of your/Tarry sands, searching for sign, sticky with misery’s mystery.’ That’s great writing. That’s the right pain.”—Cal Bedient, author, The Breathing Place

“Since his debut collection, Debt, Mark Levine has managed to reinvent himself with each new book. In Sound Fury, he turns to canonical poetry, which he has absorbed with love, distaste, and ambivalence, to embark on a chaotic, dream-like romp that puzzles and dazzles with its images and invented forms. The immersive landscapes of these poems might remind one of other fantastic and haunting worlds: environments such as Ian Cheng’s endlessly proliferating self-playing video game Emissaries, or Victorian fairy paintings like Richard Dadd’s The Fairy Fellers Master-Stroke. Sound Fury amplifies our conception of how the art of the past can be radically transformed and brought renewed into the present—and ultimately of what poetry can be: a realm of expanded possibility and a heightened feeling of being alive. This is an extraordinary book.”—Geoffrey Nutter, author, Giant Moth Perishes

“Whether lark as in songbird, or lark as in stunt, these skeptical, fabulous poems pluck pieces from Herrick and Pope like particulate matter from which the wonder of a poem inexplicably grows. Here...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781609388690
PRICE $19.95 (USD)
PAGES 80

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Featured Reviews

This is a very interesting collection of poetry. There are short poems which are good. There are long poems but I read those poems of flash fiction because to me it seemed like a story not a poem, but still very good poems. I had never heard of this author til I got on Netgalley. Thought I would give him a try and in all honesty, I am glad I read his book. Its a great collection and he's a great writer.

I got a free copy of the book and is voluntarily writing a review

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