Mainstream by Michael Magee
|Mainstream by Michael Magee|
Right from the start, Magee’s work bristles with the spirit of improvisation. Everything about it pops: classic poetry chops, a serious sense of humor, unabashed rawness. Mainstream is thrilling because it can turn in any direction at any time, moving effortlessly from wacked units of thought turning inside out to tender moments of highly focused nonsense and song that get, paradoxically, straight to the point. The frames we bring to these poems can’t remain intact stanza to stanza -- and in this instability there are great poetic pleasures and possibilities.
Author Note on Mainstream:
The preceding poems are mainstream poems. When I realized I was writing mainstream poetry, I quickly wrote the poem "Mainstream Poetry." K. Silem Mohammad responded:
Want to take seriously [Pixar-esque weasel/clown-faces behind me fleer and moue] for a bit here Mike Magee's reconfiguration of the poetic Mainstream. Others have pointed this out before, of course, but "mainstream poetry" as usually construed by its opponents is anything but...A mainstream is a forceful, central current that carries in its path all the debris and livestock and entire vacationing families that get vortexed into it. It is not a carefully constructed iron walkway that escorts the effete peripatetic poet safely above a scenic view of the countryside and its filthy horizon. In the mainstream, you have to shout to be heard above the roar of the already-tired water metaphor I'm spinning out here. In the mainstream, the weasels with clown faces have uzis. The mainstream is the scary global video game we live in, everyday, and it has nothing to do with some absurd publishing scam within which a few bloodless surrealists and failed classicists and Tools of the Homespun False Consciousness get to define what is normative.
O, God the Reader, you are in the middle of it!
Praise for Michael Magee’s previous books…
Equal parts philosophy and free jazz, standup and rap, Michael Magee's roving first book melds an anarchic energy with a willingness to try anything in poetry; like a jazz soloist, Magee has the audacity to hit sour notes, with the conviction that he can bend them back into song.
––Philip Metres, writing in Jacket
Stuttering turns into syncopation in this edgily engaging collocation of accents, attitudes, occasions. The poems in MS are provocative, certainly without idealization, the dollars-and-cents context of our grainy American dream. Mike Magee's detailed optical-ocular orbiting effects –– "other-wise / waning or adroitly loitering" –– make reading this collection a constant surprise.
Does the poet diagnose a medical condition or continue a feminist tradition? Is it a motor ship or a manuscript? A degree of science or a software appliance? Recklessly eyeballing Mike Magee's "grainy American dream," my optic nerves jangle to the tune of jump-cut language, slurred and blurred words flashed on the screen of memory with a quick trigger finger on the universal remote. Magee's MS interrupts our programming with his alternative vision.
Michael Magee is the author of Morning Constitutional, MS, Emancipating Pragmatism: Emerson, Jazz and Experimental Writing (for which he won the Elizabeth Agee Prize) and the forthcoming My Angie Dickinson. He directs the non-profit organization Combo Arts as well as the new Institute for Poetic Arts and Critical Theory at Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Cumberland, RI with his wife and two daughters.
· Paperback: 100 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 0975922818