Author's Note

My early poetry was classically Surrealist in inspiration; that is, it was based in automatic writing, "the inner voice" that revealed itself to the author as ink flowed or typewriter ribbon was struck or characters were displayed on a cathode-ray tube. The past decade or so has seen the source of inspiration shift to the external world—and, above all, to language as the external world of the work. Almost all the poems in this collection are assembled on the collage principle, in one way or another. Some of the poems are constructed of bits of text taken directly from printed sources; for example, "Weather and Repetition" is a rearrangement of phrases lifted from the weather reports of LE MONDE and THE NEW YORK TIMES. Other poems combine appropriated text with subjective improvisations on the found language. But language remembered and language dreamed and language overheard and language translated and language invented are also "found"—or discovered. My relationship to language is thus only more consciously technical, distanced, material in an effort to make petrified conditions dance to their own tune, always a scissors-and-paste job.

— James Brook
San Francisco, July 28, 2001

Contents | Mudlark No. 18