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Topographies Drawn with a Divine Chain of Birds

Tim VanDyke

ISBN 978-1935084129

68 pages: $10.00

July, 2011


To assert a sensibility, a perspective, a VOICE that is not only new, but necessary: the grail. In America, I number Dickinson, Pound, Stein, Stevens, Olson, Duncan, Ronald Johnson, Nathaniel Mackey, Alice Notley. The Jerome Rothenberg of the anthologies. The Clayton Eshleman of the translations. The Guy Davenport of the essays. To scratch the most recent and most ancient of itches, the ones that remain hidden until, as if by miracle, the correct arrangement of words offers their awful relief. To make hidden topographies not only visible, but felt. To make the known and unknown mingle in taut immediacy. To orchestrate a symphony of the whole. This is what the company of divine poets I have listed above have done, and still do. In his first poetry collection, has Tim VanDyke already joined their number? Go on, venture through. He’s much, much closer than you think.
— Tony Tost

Tim VanDyke’s poems did not grow upright and placid in an M.F.A. program. These are poems born of piscine lore and the wood, of mad koans and wild, mythic articulations. They trammel the sutures of being and non-being under the aegis of ecstasy. They infuse the cyborg apparatus with terrible angels. They bitch-slap the Abbots of Iniquity with the entrails of prophecy. They employ formal experiment as divine speculum. They vivisect the assumptions of the piquant gourmands, also known as Blake’s empiricist cherubs, also known as the idolaters of culture, also known as contemporary poets, and reconstitute them as beautiful and furious fugues, impure, necrotic, assured, and glittering in the nethersphere psychotropics of a terminal night.
— Tim Earley

“Manifold are the durations one becomes”  and so it is with Tim VanDyke’s poetry. From a mind that has absorbed the vast terrain and history of the art and brought it into a bright new practice, these poems continually surprise us with sudden intense visages that become cadences within the larger rhythm and flow. Nothing remains unchanged as lines, words, letters, shapes are transformed before us along with the sounds they release.  The abiding presence of the poems is the spirit of mutation toward some deeper, outer mystery. There is great beauty in this poetry – to merely read its surfaces is a pleasing experience – but the greater pleasure is to surrender to its depths. Few poets attempt this scale or surrender to such openness, let alone deliver it with such knowledge, mastery and contagious enthusiasm. If this is the future of poetry then the future is boundless.
— Jake Berry






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