Sedentary in another language is language as such
Whether or not we can read it, sought
Because home. Inscription composted
space works this interrogation of me:
"You have a nice listening face,"
Inspection shining forth.
You face + the animal kingdom.
There was once transparency near the face
Hexagonal in facets blown vehemently and so heated
Green purple orange near and flush
Edges with much interest in their complements at vertices—
I refer to red yellow blue should you look through
The tumbler's flaring solar sonar crystal
For the 18th-Century beverage: light.
Used by permission from A Complex Sentence: Poems (Coffee House Press, 2021).
Copyright © 2021 by Marjorie Welish.
Marjorie Welish is the author of The Annotated “Here” and Selected Poems, Word Group, Isle of the Signatories, In the Futurity Lounge / Asylum for Indeterminacy, and So What So That, all from Coffee House Press. In addition to a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, she has held a Senior Fulbright Fellowship, which has taken her to the University of Frankfurt and to the Edinburgh College of Art. Welish was the inaugural Madelon Leventhal Rand Chair in Literature at Brooklyn College.
"A key imperative in Marjorie Welish’s superb new book, A Complex Sentence, is the task of ‘not writing the unsaid,’ which presumably would mean to write the sayable in the folds of a complex sentence that erases it. Literary spirit guides come along to help—Mallarmé, Baudelaire, James, Pound, and critics who read them. There may be a ghostly revision of Pound’s imagism, ‘a complex in an instant of time,’ but instead of le mot juste, we have le mot détourné, diverted as it enters into new semiotic fields and explodes. A Complex Sentence is, in addition, a meditation on the book—its materiality (pages, margins, indexes, parchment, epigraphs, sentences)—and its cultural role as a document."
"Wrenching, obdurate music. There may be no known correspondences for Marjorie Welish’s mind. The poems neither describe nor situate but compose and construct. The procedures are odd but the materials quite embodied. . . . She’s a little bit scary."
"For Welish, as with the Alice Notley of Descent of Alette, cordoned off words and phrases imply a poised and thoughtful consciousness, caught in the midst of intellective and amusing animations of things and thought."