The latest book of prose poems by one of America's premier philosophical poets. For the title of her newest collection of prose poems, Rosmarie Waldrop adopts a term"blindsight" used by the neuroscientist Antonio R. Damasio to describe a condition in which a person actually sees more than he or she is consciously aware. "This is one reason," explains Waldrop, "for using collage: joining my fragments to other people's fragments in a dialogue, a net relation that might catch a bit more of the 'world.'"
The collectionthe author's fourth with New Directionsis divided into four thematic sections. The first, "Hölderlin Hybrids," resonates against the German poet's twisted syntax, while using rhythmic punctuation in counterpoint to sense. "'As Were,'" says Waldrop, "began with looking at the secondary occupations of artistsfor example, Mallarmé teaching English, Montaigne serving as mayor of Bordeauxbut this soon gave way to playing more generally with particular aspects of historical figures." The title section, "Blindsight," is most consistent in its use of collage, juxtaposing words and images to jolting, epiphanic effect. "Cornell Boxes," in contrast, has a formal unity, inspired by the constructions of Joseph Cornell, each prose poem "box" composed in a structure of fours: four paragraphs of four sentences each, with four footnotes.