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Ted Pearson - The Markov Chain

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Ted Pearson - The Markov Chain

Published April 2017. Paperback, 78pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins
ISBN 9781848615335 [Download a sample PDFfrom this volume here.]
 
“When Basil Bunting declared that “Pens are too light. / Take a chisel to write,” I imagine he had in mind the kind of exact and exacting poetry Ted Pearson has been steadily producing for decades. In The Markov Chain, Pearson presents a series of eight-line poems, each composed of four exquisitely crafted alexandrines: “These formal restrictions // are like benedictions … Constraints lead to freedoms // exceeding predictions.” Raising the ante, Pearson uses these formal constraints to probe the social constraints contemporary culture imposes on art and life. “When the People say we, // they don’t mean you and me. / The consensus they’re seeking // will set no one free.” This double take on constraints creates an animating tension throughout the book, one in which “The gist of the lyric // tells a whole other tale.” Pearson’s chiseled poems enact a deep investigation into language that at once revels in and questions its own constraints. Follow at your own pace, but Pearson’s ear, as always, won’t lead you astray.
—Paul Naylor
 

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