Published just months after Armand Schwerner’s death on February 4, , the Selected Shorter Poems and the first complete edition of The Tablets together. THE TABLETS is his answer. Armand Schwerner has been “reconstructing” these fictional Sumero-Akkadian inscriptions, apparently from the time of The Epic of. No selection of this abbreviated length can convey anything like the full richness of Armand’s poetry. The Tablets themselves, despite the controlling presence of.

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The Tablets by Armand Schwerner

But whether one regards the phenomenon from an archaic or postmodern perspective, it is clear that what the maker fashions is not self-expressive or experiential in any conventional sense. When I was young they would praise just about all I’d say, as if I breathed with them; my times are bad, schwernner past is twblets joke, former admirers hound me, alone and treed what’s left of my ties with them who praised anything out of my mouth — my voice now that life floors me and they cut my best song, seeing what, lies?

The trouble with XXVII is that while the electron microscope testifies to the structural origin of its nine “dilapidated” clay cylinder-seals, “it does not absolutely guarantee the congruence of the materials. The uncanny symbiosis of prose to poetry, commentary and text, present to past, that intensifies as the sequence proceeds indicates that in The Tabletsthese distinctions exist so as to be subsumed by the maker’s art.

This fundamental lack of temporal and discursive stability distinguishes The Tablets from other literary works of an “archaeological” nature: Schwerner’s poem mimics the conventions observed in real scholarly editions of ancient cuneiform texts Five Poems Jenny Grassl. Rather, it is we readers who enact the primal scene every time we look into The Tabletsevery time we turn its pages, for the translated tablets are themselves the artifacts, or as close as anyone will ever come to them.

Schwerner’s supposed “reconstruction” of 27 Sumero-Akkadian inscriptions grounds the avant garde eclecticism of Ezra Pound, John Cage and the Beats in the archaic crypto-mystical veils of Bronze Age mythology, with nods to Sappho, Gilgamesh, the Old Testament and the hermeneutic tradition.

Looking back myself to that first terrific meeting with these ancient poems, I can still sense the desire to keep them to myself all the while I was strain- ing to produce these translations — desperately pushing to make available what I so wanted to keep secret and inviolable.


James Cook rated it it was amazing Jun 29, The deepest of deep parodies, The Tablets is a sort of Joycean hoax: But what strikes one as odd is that despite oracular passages in the work, its erratic typography would seem to render it the least sort of poetry capable of vocalization. The origin of this fictive Sumero-Akkadian civilization is not merely effaced to readers but was obscure even to those who lived in it.

Yet glimpses are all readers are given, as other impediments to “truth” are encountered. If you lift your arms in grief may they never come down and you be known as Idiot Tree and may you never die 30 And so it goes for another three stanzas: But the sense schwernfr otherness that obtains between subject and utterance is also very ancient, going back to the shaman’s trance, the possession of the tribal poet by a god, ancestral spirit, or totemic power.

Or as Schwerner observes, “Prose is eloquence, wants to instruct, to convince; wants to produce in the soul of the reader a state of knowledge. You will be helping us cultivate a public sphere that honors pluralism of thought for a diverse and discerning public. Is that distinction stupid? As Schwerner explains, “The made thing, poem, artifact, product, will appear to the maker as Other and yet give the pleasure of recognition, to breed other discoveries.

Thus Commentary and Text in The Tablets? Susan SontagGeoffrey Movius. From the tone of the address, Foosh is, in all likelihood, some sort of deity, and there is a note of intimacy in the passage that is reminiscent of a patriarch’s or prophet’s speech with God in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Trivia About The Tablets. No amount is too small. Osiris Oliphant rated it really liked it Mar 25, The voices of the made thing, poem, object, need no ascription by the maker.

Jacket # 10 — Norman Finkelstein reviews Armand Schwerner

Tablets Through the temporal warpings of The Tabletsthe literal shards of an animistic civilization that existed thousands of years in the past, Schwerner constantly reminds us of the founding cultural dialectic of the sacred and the profane. Imperfect Remembrance Marta Figlerowicz.

Boston Review-sponsored events in the Boston area Reading List: The term pintrpnit is conjectured to be a transliteration of an archaic form of “alleluiah” or “selah,” implying worship, but II introduces the word knom for “the spirit which denies,” and it is never clear exactly who—if anyone—created this universe.

But if this god’s attributes keep changing, then a sense of uncertainty enters into the life of the speaker, leaving him with nothing but headaches, worry, and abuse. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.


Armand Schwerner: The Tablets

The Tablets is his brilliant monument to this realization, but its step by step progress can be seen in his shorter poems as well, many of them as technically accomplished and beautiful as the best parts of his long work. How does this dialectic contribute to our sense of reality? Weekly Poetry Newsletter Boston Events: The divide between subject matter and procedure, though, is precisely what is unsettled by The Tabletswhich agitates any facile distinctions among fact, artifact, and artifice.

This is one of the great themes of The Tabletsa work that, genealogically, goes back further than almost any other exercise in ethnopoetics. Empty holes in the armanf directions. If you like what you read here, help us keep it free for everyone by making a donation.

The Tablets

The current notion that language speaks us, rather than vice versa, is likewise found in the image of unknown voices speaking the poet. These are the sorts of moves one finds repeatedly in Schwerner’s more lyric poems, as in this brief passage from the serial poem “sounds of the river Naranjana”: For best printing results try turning on any options your web browser’s print dialog makes available for printing backgrounds and background graphics.

Portions of the text he finds simply “interesting,” “curious,” or “odd. Mar 03, Will Lashley rated it really liked it. This same sense of immediate connectedness — of sincerity, that quality so valued by Objectivists such as Zukofsky and Oppen, whom Schwerner knew personally — is also to be felt when the poet uses the first-person pronoun.

Aug 03, Matthieu rated it it was amazing.

At what point does the modern student of the sacred participate in the practice of the sacred? This means you will always be able to read us without roadblocks or barriers to entry. We are committed to staying free for all our readers. No trivia or quizzes yet. The Tablets schwdrner Armand Schwerner. No need to represent the encounter with an artifact when the text itself is that artifact” “Archaeologies of Knowledge: There is a growing ambiguity in this work of mine, but I’m not sure where it lies.