Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Out from Otoliths—Mark Young's Genji Monogatari

Genji Monogatari
Mark Young
60 pages
Otoliths, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9806025-8-6
$14.95 + p&h

Genji Monogatari is a sequence of 54 poems, each keyed to one of the chapters of the 11th century Japanese classic by Murasaki Shikibu. The result is a complex and beautiful palimpsest, wherein we are privileged, simultaneously and sequentially, to look upon worlds within worlds within worlds. Mark Young opens the book on the processes of the composition of the sequence itself so that, along with his reading of The Tale of Genji, we are also given the progress of the writing of that reading. His technique, foregrounded here, demonstrates a fidelity to stochastics allied with a profound knowledge of, and respect for, tradition: replaying / our cached millennium. All the characteristics of Young’s recent work—ferocious intellect, coruscating satire, black humor, exquisite emotion—are fully present, along with something more difficult to name: as if, in the drawing back of screen after screen after screen, what is revealed is the nakedness of all enclosure, the silence inside both world and word.—Martin Edmond

Genji Monogatari will be launched by Michele Leggott in Auckland, New Zealand, on 31 March, at the Home & Away Symposium organized by the New Zealand Electronic Poetry Center.


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