Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Boundary Violations

Direct from

(you can order thru amazon but
it's best to order thru Dos Madres)

It doesn’t get any more honest than this. Tom Cheetham, long known for his dedicated and engaged scholarship on Henry Corbin, here reveals another side to his lively intelligence. The poems in Boundary Violations address us to the ordinary that Emerson proposed as America’s gift to the world. Sitting at the feet of the familiar, the low, Cheetham finds himself face to face with wonder and generously leads us into its glow. - Michael Boughn

Coming from a rogue scholar of the imagination in esoteric Islam, a book of poems should be of no surprise, but this one sure is. Tom Cheetham plunges us deep into the imaginative realities of a life as far from Mecca as Maine. By turns ludic, dark, elegant, honest, with an enviable sense of the absurd, and with generosity towards existence, Cheetham is ever faithful to the turns of thought and feeling, interleaving the planes of the real into his continuous and wonderfully whacked-out song. ​- Joseph Donahue

There is a madcap intelligence at work in these poems, an intelligence that has given itself permission to go as far as it can. Tom Cheetham calls his book Boundary Violations (the boundaries of the voice, of the poetic line, of standard poetic discourse, of literary propriety…), but it could also be said that here, all poetic boundaries have been entirely dissolved. Charles Olson meets Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle meets Rocky the Flying Squirrel. But like other poets who insist on violating boundaries (think: Rimbaud; think: Frank O’Hara), Cheetham is absolutely serious and playing for keeps (OK, maybe not absolutely serious). In any case, I encourage you to join him in observing “the mysterious energies of life exploding off the pages…” - Norman Finkelstein

In Boundary Violations nature is signaling to Tom Cheetham that "it’s closing time." Like Charles Olson, Cheetham knows that “the soul / is an onslaught.” Thus his mission is to awaken to “the beat beat beat of the tom-tom” by smelling the coffee in Kali’s cup. Reflecting back on the 20th Century’s mimetic ecosystem, he meditates night and day upon the cartoon characters and the cultural download that violated his boundaries. Within the wonder of natural and unnatural kingdoms, he explores his own evolution, feeling the ominous burn of a trans-human future. Put on final notice, the exuberant woof of a monkey-mind warped by predictive programming is playfully reclaimed for poetry in this thoroughly stimulating collection. - Kenneth Warren

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