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Captain Poetry’s Sucker Punch by Kenneth Warren Reviewed on Big Bridge


Captain Poetry's Sucker Punch: 

A Guide to the Homeric Punkhole, 1980-2012

Kenneth Warren

460 pages. BlazeVOX Books. $25.00

Dark Times Filled with Light

Review by Alec Marsh

Aye, Aye Cap'n!

"The whole creation concerned with 'FOUR'"
Ezra Pound, Canto 91 (91/630)

  Any reader of Jung would twig to that: mandala, order, cosmos; the center, individuation. Kenneth Warren is much concerned with four. He wrote me once, "When working occulted and tabooed domains, sometimes one must use blinds. The purpose of any critique is to spin from center of the mandala-out/in/up/down toward energetic encounters with each complex." No accident, his collection of thirty years worth of essays and reviews Captain Poetry's Sucker Punch: A Guide to the Homeric Punkhole, 1980-2012 is divided into four sections. He takes Jung's typology of sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking as cardinal directions-out, in, up, down-- in steering a course through the work of numerous poets and poetries. Specifically, Warren's book is organized as a guidebook that enables the reader to "pursue poetic aspirations and punk protrusions through four records of interactive knowledge: (1) Semiotic Sobriety; (2) Archaic Sexuality; (3) Alchemical Precision; (4) Pharmacological Utopia" (17).

Following Jung, Warren sees poetic work as the work of integration. Our psyches are ships blown from any quarter, but there is a prevailing wind-different poets have different temperaments symbolized by different archetypes. Theorizing his approach using sophisticated revisions of the Jung-inspired Brigg-Myer personality typology, Warren is able to gain deep insight into the perceptions and confusions in contemporary poetry and poets because he believes that "an encounter with souls in the modern imagination becomes the proximate matter for poesis"(448). Poetry that matters comes from the unconscious depths, out of the dark, like the dead. Poetry is soul-making.

Read the whole review here @ Big Bridge

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