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“primitive emotion. It’s all we have”

G.C. Waldrep published in 2015, his latest and one of the finest poetry books I ever read. Testament is a book-length poem and was published by the prestigious BOA Editions. G.C. Waldrep’s Testament is a dense & complex poetry that focuses on the human condition in its widest way, going back and forth, resonating with the laws of the universe. Humans, in the purest possible way are simple animals, transmuted with the help of the arts. Give them a brain and you’ll get a testament for the future evolution of complex states of cognition in which pure physics and mathematics govern every step towards a hallow existence. Somehow we face here a modern Critique of Pure Reason, analytical to its full extent.

A strong multidisciplinary poetic proof that covers all sciences, at least the intention seems to focus multiple shades on the human nature, to contradict oneself in terms of false negatives. Incognito messages shaped as jigsaw puzzles, cover all the content. Leitmotifs – such as mill, cherry, Icarus, castle, doll, eye/bee/flower triad, asylum, etc. – create the perfect background that controls somehow the perspective/view through which you face the content or the story.

Testament illustrates the society rough as it is, so anyone that confidently embarks as a test subject, will get a true feeling of déjà vu; battles in time with a domino effect on more than original ‘fruitful’ ribs. Testament is the language itself having the origins in the X and Y – Cartesian chromosomes; as well as the high amount of knowledge that Waldrep shares with the readers. It’s a win-win situation here.

A final note – if you want to find out more about the addenda this book allows one to use, a generous set of references is to be found at the end of the book. I must say I was delighted to find a reference (not shown, but mentioned) to Joseph Cornell’s surreal bird boxes.

Overall, the Testament will last perpetually.

About the Author

G.C. Waldrep’s books include Your Father on the Train of Ghosts (BOA Editions, 2011), a collaboration with John Gallaher; Disclamor (BOA Editions, 2007); The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral, co-edited with Joshua Corey; and a chapbook, Susquehanna. Waldrep’s work has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, APR, New England Review, New American Writing, Harper’s, Tin House, Verse, and many other journals, as well as in Best American Poetry 2010 and the second edition of Norton’s Postmodern American Poetry. Waldrep has received prizes from the Poetry Society of America and the Academy of American Poets, as well as the Colorado Prize, the Dorset Prize, the Campbell Corner Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative American Writing, and a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Waldrep lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he teaches at Bucknell University, is Editor for the literary journal West Branch, and serves as Editor-at-Large for The Kenyon Review.

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