You Are the Phenomenology
88 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:09 Feb 2018
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You Are the Phenomenology

University of Massachusetts Press
You Are the Phenomenology is a cross-genre book—a blend of poetry, songs, lyric prose, and invented forms—that explores the everyday junctures of perception, compassion, and multiplicity. How might our powers of association create shared experiences without distorting the contexts from which those experiences emerge?

One of the volume's innovative forms is a poetic series called "Quadrilaterals"—four-line poems that present the reader with various ways to leap associative gaps:

Quadrilateral : Pinch in Your Heel

Soars the mackled sound, kites ago :
A Polish boy thinks with accordions, adopts a stammer :
When were we first older than we wanted to be :
That was our city, our chisel, the corbeil from which we ate.
Timothy O'Keefe's poems are nimble, conversational, jagged. They're fun to read, but unsettling, at large in the flux of the moment, alert to 'Not events, but atmosphere. Not trains in the night, but whistling.' All through You Are the Phenomenology we're swept along by the cracking charge of O'Keefe's lyric momentum, precise and wayward, particularly in his 'Quadrilateral' poems. You won't always know where you're going in these poems, and that's good; one of their pleasures is anticipating what sudden felicitous turn comes next.'—James Haug, Juniper Prize for Poetry judge and author of Legend of the Recent Past
'Here, Timothy O'Keefe has written the material world's reply to Orpheus, a shaped music of phenomenal affections and voices: of 'violet'; of 'coverlet'; of 'chasms.' Here are poems suddenly peerless and true.'—Donald Revell, author of Drought-Adapted Vine
'The stranger who picks up this book enacts the generosity of spirit anyone is glad (or relieved) to be granted; you'll find yourself in these poems, the way we see ourselves in sidewalk windows where we least expect us.'—Dara Wier, Juniper Prize for Poetry judge and author of You Good Thing
'Can language ever really intersect with the reality of our physical experience? These are poems obsessed with finding, and mining, that intersection. 'The opposite of agency is weathervane,' O'Keefe writes, in these remarkable, sonically rich and deeply intelligent poems.'—Paisley Rekdal, author of Imaginary Vessels
Timothy O'Keefe is the author of The Goodbye Town, winner of the 2010 FIELD Poetry Prize, and his poems have appeared in a wide array of journals, including the American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and Colorado Review.
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