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Drafts 1–38, Toll
Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2001 • 296 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"

$22.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6485-6
$12.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7256-1

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

"At its best . . . the poem resembles A.R. Ammons's longer improvisations, with DuPlessis opening the mind's floodgates and finding the perfect rhythm for channeling its contents."—Publishers Weekly

This book is one long poem in many sections. It is the "masterwork" of this avante garde poet, who has been working on this composition for a decade.

In Drafts 1-38, Toll, Rachel Blau DuPlessis has built a work which mimics memory and its losses, and which plays with the textures of memory, including its unexpectedness, its flashes and disappearances. Her recurrent motifs and materials include home, homelessness and exile; death and the memory of the dead; political grief and passion; silence, speech, the sayable and the ineffable. Drafts 1-38, Toll functions as a long poem comprised of 38 pieces, or drafts. These poems are conceived as autonomous "canto-like" sections that work on two procedural principles. One is the random repetition of lines or phrases across poems, a self-questioning, processual, and reconceptualizing strategy that honors the term "drafts." A second procedural principle is "the fold." This is the reconsideration of a "donor draft" and the deployment of some aspect in the donor draft in a related draft. The periodicity of this reconsideration is the number 19; hence drafts 1-19 make up the original layer, while drafts 20-38 constitute the first fold on top of this material.

Reviews / Endorsements

"Rachel Blau DuPlessis does what all good poets must do: she crosses, and indeed transcends, boundaries...She has a masterful feel for form...and her ear can be astonishing. Her visual imagination is rich and her capacity for wordplay is considerable."—Robert Long, Philadelphia Inquirer

"DuPlessis reinforces the subversive possibilities of modernist/projectivist field poetics by approaching page space as a register of the social dynamics, including the gender dynamics, of marginalization."—Lynn Keller, author of Forms of Expansion: Recent Long Poems by Women

From the Book:

The writing on the open page
the underside of itself
as if the underside made words
and, when the busy ripples on the surface stilled,
one saw that other taking shape:

the abstract rush of untranslated words
the space a presence possessed by other spaces

-- from "Draft 9: Page:"

RACHEL BLAU DUPLESSIS is Professor of English at Temple University and author of six books of poetry and four books of criticism including Genders, Races and Religious Cultures in Modern American Poetry, 1908 - 1934 (2001) and The Pink Guitar: Writing as Feminist Practice (1990).

Tue, 15 May 2018 12:58:22 -0500