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The Book of Landings
Mark McMorris

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2016 • 228 pp. 6 illus. 6 x 9"
Poetry / Poetry - General Subjects

$26.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7633-0

$21.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7634-7

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“McMorris’s poems resemble an entrepôt: polyglot, starling in their juxtapositions, alive to crossings of sound and sense. Perhaps Morris wants us to understand poetry as a meeting place that is both inseparable from and other to actual sites of violent exchange.”—Ben Lerner, Harper’s Magazine

Exile, or auditions for utopia, in a time before this

The Book of Landings brings together the second and third parts of Mark McMorris’s visionary trilogy “Auditions for Utopia,”—initiated in Entrepôt—and marks two stages in the evolution of the poet’s conception of space. The first stage of the collection is the entrepôt, a space where disparate vectors of identity congregate, come into conflict, and finally merge into hybrid forms. The poetry follows a trajectory of diaspora, or exile, instigated by conquest, colonialism, wars, and political defeat in the search for Utopia. In The Book of Landings the promised dwelling has been removed from the realm of physical geography, and there is only transition—fragmentary episodes of arrival and departure, in transit from one entrepôt to another. These episodes of transit do not only compose a linear sequence only. Instead, they define a space or surface marked by repeated traversals over time—tracings and, importantly, re-tracings, by explorers, conquerors, migrants, merchants, slaves, refugees, and exiles—a city of palimpsests. An online reader’s companion will be available at

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“In his willingness and ability to acknowledge atrocities as well as paradises, Mark McMorris is a powerful voice in the reshaping of lyric poetry, and of restoring the genre to real historical and social relevance.”—Lyn Hejinian, author of My Life and My Life in the Nineties

The Book of Landings continues Mark McMorris’s fascination with using the space of the page to figure movements of mind in history. Here again we find line drawings wending among the words, asking such questions as, how do we configure the losses against the legacies [of diaspora]? How do the varied tongues of our geographies inflect one another? In these haunting poems, the words float to us bounded by what has been torn away from them.”—A. L. Nielsen, author of A Brand New Beggar

“In these final two books of his compelling trilogy, Mark McMorris asks how poetry can embody the world's cultural flows and upheavals, its dark sites and pinnacles of light. The Book of Landings should engage any reader interested in an exploratory poetics that transcends national boundaries and enters into that essential conversation among the here and the there, the now and the then, and the when. A moving and illuminating accomplishment.”—Michael Palmer, author of Thread

From the Book:

Artifact of Beginnings

Paradise must be a landscape inside
the language we inherit from the logos
borrowing from each person’s childhood
to repeat the sounds of owls at night
the tactile image of mango trees evoked
by sunlight on a valley’s hillside
where you stand, the color of earth
and there is a green table cloth spread
before your eyes for games of skill
rectangle edged in white, and mown grass
an artifact of beginnings and a song
to stir the classes in a way not repeated.

What is it that is about the idea except
everyone agrees there must be such a place
the comfort of mass delusion or a wish
that it is ahead and not over, and not a fable
written by old men with feverish hands
never mind their skill at the cithara
or their bondage in the land of the Egyptians.
Say then that the idea of it pre-dates
the Ziggurat of Ur, or the Olmec Heads
at Tres Zapotes. If only we had a metaphor
“ostrich plume ginger” as old as the idea
being the inventor of the design and a place.

MARK MCMORRIS’s most recent poetry collections are Entrepôt and The Café at Light. He is a two-time winner of the Contemporary Poetry Series Prize, and has received The Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he is professor of English at Georgetown University.

Click here for author's website.

Fri, 1 Sep 2017 16:34:26 -0500