Lights begin to remove sound, name—therewith we have name-closure, nullity, the origination of sleep. Time fingers fate, time fingers space. War is bound to every moment like a bull to a boulder or a moteto a drop of dew. At roar. Humans are myths, at war with one another.
Copyright © 2019 by Lyn Hejinian
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Lyn Hejinian teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of of over twenty volumes of poetry and critical prose, including several poetry collections previously published by Omnidawn: The Unfollowing, The Book of a Thousand Eyes, Saga | Circus, and The Fatalist. She is the co-director (with Travis Ortiz) of Atelos, a literary project commissioning and publishing cross-genre work by poets, and the co-editor (with Jane Gregory and Claire Marie Stancek) of Nion Editions, a chapbook press.
"Lyn Hejinian’s books have always been characterized by their intellectual curiosity and openness. Each seems dedicated to a form of inventive continuity, an unsentimental affirmation of life’s 'irrational exuberance.' Tribunal is that — but it is also something different. It is, in some sense, about lived time (as are Hejinian’s other books) — but it is also very much of and even about this time, a time of 'tyrants extolling tyranny.' A new anger and urgency emerge in these poems. Here Hejinian’s 'rejection of closure' is counterbalanced by an impulse to call a halt. A tribunal, after all, sits in judgment. She pulls herself and her readers up short when she parodies one of her own best known lines: 'Now a pause, now a rose, and now a small coffin, Bitch!' Listen up. 'Attention: anarchy! (And its assistant: poetry!).' I, for one, am very glad there is still the poetry of Lyn Hejinian."
—Rae Armantrout, author of Wobble
"This is poetry that surrenders nothing but to poetry itself, and to poetry, that surrender is total. Music and intelligence are inextricably entwined in this book, as are wit and seriousness, experience and imagining. Reading and rereading it, I keep thinking that this is the kind of work that is the luxury required by necessity, that the beauties and complexities of the poems allow us to move past the forces that would reduce and diminish life."
—Anne Boyer, author of A Handbook of Disappointed Fate
"Organized as a three-part trial, the book articulates a timely political consciousness: one of war, fascism, and a 'not necessarily melancholy deactivation of will.'"