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parsed(2024-05-20) - pubdate: 2024-05-20
pub date: 1716181200
today: 1718946000, pubdate > today = false

nyp: 0;


violences by Jack Foley

May 20, 2024 | Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781680533361
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Octogenarian Jack Foley's COLLISIONS is a book at play in the forests of the mind. The opening quotation from Dana Gioia defines the book's understanding of consciousness: "Human consciousness is an unstable republic of conflicting impulses, instincts, and appetites in perpetual flux." COLLISIONS is an attempt to honor that notion of the chaos of consciousness while at the same time giving the reader an experience of thought and feeling that is not so chaotic that it is overwhelming. It tries to tell the truth about the mind in a way that feels if not comfortable at least familiar: we too have felt that fire, that movement. The book asserts that the fundamental condition of poetry is words in motion, constantly dis/uncovering perceptions of the new. "Ecstasy seems to be linked to the instability of language." Familiar with the many forms of traditional poetry and comfortable with the making of new forms, Foley conceives of every living poet as an Orpheus attempting to rescue poetry-as-Eurydice. If poetry to some extent reveals the ramifications of the poet's identity, it does so in the context of the coruscations of words whose flashes move beyond identity into something more. The book deliberately plunges us into mystery as everything collides with everything else. Foley writes to a fellow poet, "'Home' is where you belong but 'home' isn't anywhere: it is always a profound absence: 'sound, noise that reaches for the ever-receding light.' I think that, underneath all the 'influences,' is this deep longing which is always asserted and always denied." Baudelaire: "heaven or hell who cares / In the depths of the unknown to find something new."

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About this Author

San Francisco Bay-area poet Jack Foley has published eighteen books of poetry, five books of criticism, a book of stories, and a 1300-page "chronoencyclopedia," Visions & Affiliations: California Poetry 1940-2005. With his late wife, Adelle, he became known for his multi-voiced "choruses," a practice he has continued with his new life partner, Sangye Land. He has presented poetry on Berkeley, California radio station KPFA regularly since 1988 and is a host of KPFA's literary program, "Cover to Cover." He has received two Lifetime Achievement Awards, one from Marquis Who's Who and one from the Berkeley Poetry Festival. The city of Berkeley declared June 5, 2010 "Jack Foley Day" in Berkeley. In addition, he is the first recipient of the K.M. Anthru International Literary Prize from the Kerala, India-based magazine, LITTERATEUR RW. His most recent books are Grief Songs, a book dealing with his sorrow at his wife's death; When Sleep Comes: Shillelagh Songs, poems ranging from traditional to experimental verse; Duet of Polygon, a collaboration with Japanese poet Maki Starfield; and the companion volumes, The Light of Evening, a brief autobiography, and "A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads," a psychobiography dealing with "the growth of a poet's mind," and Creative Death, a book of poems. In 2019, poets/scholars Dana Gioia and Peter Whitfield published Jack Foley's Unmanageable Masterpiece--a book of essays discussing Visions & Affiliations. Poet Olchar E. Lindsann writes, "Jack Foley's constantly evolving and exploratory writing has been a mainstay of the American avant-garde for many decades, and his detailed histories of California poetic communities demonstrate an engaged poetic historiography." In 1994 Lawrence Ferlinghetti remarked at the conclusion of Jack's radio interview with him, "Jack Foley is doing great things in articulating the poetic consciousness of San Francisco."

ISBN: 9781680533361
Format: Trade Paperback
Pages: 188
Publisher: Academica Press
Published: 2024-05-20


COLLISIONS lives up to its title by acting as a literary particle accelerator, slamming two or more things together to see what mysterious energies are released and what enlightenment might be shed by the encounter. There's a reason Foley's subtitle describes these pieces as "violences." Many are poems in the traditional sense, whether formal or free verse (and he is equally adept at both modes). Mixed in, however, are essays, historical notes, cultural commentaries, translations, collaborations, what could almost be called journal entries, and even reviews: the first piece is a magnificent prose poem of praise for Frank Capra's Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. The poet's always lyrical voice expertly unifies these disparate elements. Everything becomes poetry when he says it. Underneath the voice, though, is the running theme of consciousness as a chordal phenomenon. There are many Jack Foleys represented here, and every man Jack of them is on a spiritual quest to understand the universe. The journey becomes ours as we read and peer over his shoulder in wonder, like watching an astronaut of the soul step onto a strange new world.

--Kurt Luchs

Jack Foley is our firebrand experimentalist and he holds his torch high so the reader can have more light.

--Michael McClure

One of American poetry's essential thinkers and practitioners. 

--Christopher Bernard, Poetry Flash

Jack Foley's constantly evolving and exploratory writing has been a mainstay of the American avant-garde for many decades, and his detailed histories of California poetic communities including O Powerful Western Star and Visions and Affiliations demonstrate [an] engaged poetic historiography.

 --Olchar E. Lindsann, Rêvenance: A Zine of Hauntings from Underground Histories

To read this book is to enter the mind of a poet who embodies living history. At 83, his intellect is no less formidable than ever, while his accumulated knowledge and wisdom are at their peak.

--Deborah Bachels Schmidt

There is no one alive who has done more for California poetry than Jack Foley. He is the most important living person for California poetry...the leading man of letters of California.

 --Dana Gioia

Foley is multilingual, multidimensional in performance and on the page...Very little poetry these days is as compelling or comprehensively challenging to the imagination.  To really read this work is to be irrevocably transformed at some essential place--not to be cast adrift but to come home, to open heart and senses.

--Steven Hirsch, Heaven Bone 

Jack Foley is doing great things in articulating the poetic consciousness of San Francisco.

--Lawrence Ferlinghetti, "Cover to Cover," KPFA radio

You continue to do in poetry and ideas what you have always done: challenge our assumptions and force us to actually think. 

--Jake Berry

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