Poetry that aspires ‘to conjugate in a future imperfect,’ but a future nonetheless.
In his fifth poetry volume, American poet Andrew Zawacki expands his inquiry into the possibilities and dangers of a ‘global pastoral,’ exploring geographies alternately enhanced and flattened out by digital networks, international transit, the uneven and invisible movements of capital, and the unrelenting feedback loops of data surveillance, weather disaster, war. Wheeling interference patterns of systems of meaning, from radio signals and runway signage to foreign phrases and babytalk, interact with the ‘langscape’ of English, while punctuation is retrofitted as coding. In creating a politically committed lyric form that opens all the dimensions of language – sonic and semantic, syntactic and graphic – Unsun sustains an oblique conversation with Paul Celan’s Fadensonnen, Chris Marker’s Sans soleil, and Michael Palmer’s Sun. Loosely structured by the settings of analog photography, the book features a suite of the author’s black-and-white, large format images alongside an adaptation of Tang Dynasty poet Wang Wei and a series of fractured sonnets for – and from – his young daughter.
"Here is a language of dizzying swerves and connections, open at the borders, even to bilingual puns." – Rosmarie Waldrop, author of Splitting Image
"In Unsun, a book of miraculous accounting, we are invited from the subtitle onward to consider not only the idea of the sharpest image -- which f/11 might provide -- but also how the information that images conduct ranges. The work beckons with a multiply-stated question -- how close can you get? As the world moves in the poems and the writing multiplies, we’re drawn to the materials and processes that verge throughout, that edge up -- with something next to a child’s voice -- into this indexing of near kisses and satellite navigations. Unsun tracks -- or endeavors, terrifyingly and beautifully, to track -- 'what is never not touching us.'" -- C. S. Giscombe