Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Felonies of Illusion
Cover by K. Lorraine Graham
I won't go on about how much I like the poems in this book, but I'll go on at least a little: the lines are twisty, the rhythms complicated and unexpected. The poems have a trippy tension between how they feel/sound and what they are and are not saying.
Plus, I'm proud of the cover.
You can order Felonies of Illusion directly from Edge Books for $11!
Here's what other people say about the book:
A master at making genre question itself, Mark Wallace gets the square peg in the round hole again. A stark and aphoristic long poem about living and working during the war—direct, wise, and brave enough to skip the decorative—bumps up against the witty, clanging, angry, top-speed, palimpsestuous title series—lyrics that swallow their own tails. Wallace is cynical, clear-eyed, and resolutely jokey on commerce, war, love (the "therapeutic use of commitment") and exhausted longing ("This day could be about today, leisurely and bright/if the days weren't stacked like nights inside it.") Nobody gets away with anything in Felonies of Illusion: we're all skewered till we grimace and grin.
Mark Wallace invents only what's real. If democracies could talk, we would in fact be able to understand them, but we would need the help of poems like these. As its title suggests, the language of Felonies of llusion is premised on a sense of justice and reciprocity. The need is real, and thus the need for invention is constant. The writing betrays no qualms about showing this. There's serious play going on here.
Elegaic without strings, passionate without bravado, up the tragic creek without a cathartic paddle, Mark Wallace’s Felonies of Illusion is an intensely personal collection of valedictions, an extended suite of lyric leavetakings written in the infinite series of penultimate milliseconds before an always-imminent obliteration—a “now” that “is not that long from now.” These already painful goodbyes, however, are suspended in a nervewracking holding pattern as “the total system / shouts back that there’s no way to leave.” Wallace rehearses the purgatorial illogic of perpetual orange alert with unsparing gravity, but also with empathy and wit. His poems confront us with the human truth of the narratives we spin daily in the name of individual survival at the same time that they caution us not to “get / too attached to the story told / imploding.”
K. Silem Mohammad