The Edge of the Underworld by Michael Ruby
|The Edge of the Underworld||Michael Ruby||BlazeVOX [books]|
After studying Louis Zukofsky’s Rudens in graduate school, I always wanted to write a homophonic translation. A decade later, I settled on the long opening of Book VI of Virgil’s Aeneid, the famous Underworld book, and wrote “Sic Fatur Lacrimans.” Soon afterward, sensing the translation itself needed translation, I decided to derive other poems from the words and phrases of “Sic Fatur Lacrimans”—poems that would be connected to the long poem and to each other, in a sort of literary Rayonism. I saw the book as the verbal equivalent of St. Sebastian pierced by arrows, with “Sic Fatur Lacrimans” as St. Sebastian and the shorter poems as the arrows, crisscrossing each other.
“Call it immersion”: take Michael Ruby’s sibilant heterographic tour of the underworld’s underwords and rediscover in these homophonic burrows that sonic intersection is ear + imagination. At once “tenebrous children” and a “jangling ring of skeleton keys,” these poems ghost-grasp their father (or was it patrimony’s patter?), then intrafiliate to interlock in lines that haunt: we watch these “seals kiss” as “bus urn,” to “out vain era…// air a care…//none inferior” and “still soak to a purpose somewhere.” Ruby, take a golden bow—this work’s “[to elicit] a response from littoral folk” and figural ones, too.
“Ghostly cooing fills the moist dark places,” and the reader and dreamer returns to the Underworld, together, already there, “Circling in an eddy for the time being.”
Michael Handler Ruby is the author of four other books of poetry—At an Intersection (Alef Books, 2002), Window on the City (BlazeVOX [books], 2006), Fleeting Memories (Ugly Duckling Presse ebook, 2008) and Compulsive Words (BlazeVOX, 2010)—and the editor of Washtenaw County Jail and Other Writings by David Herfort (Xlibris, 2005). A graduate of Harvard College and Brown University’s writing program, he lives in Brooklyn and works as an editor at The Wall Street Journal.
· Paperback: 100 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 9781935402831