What does it mean to be somewhere, anywhere? Sit with that thought, dear reader, and you may notice that geography and history, perception and memory, things and words, the self and its surrounds ceaselessly reverse into each other. In his most recent collection of poems, North & East: Daybooks, Andrew Mossin sits zazen with “this principle of drift” in a superbly crafted meditation on the interzone between here and there, the archaic and the now. The poems perform language as a reach for the world’s particulars and a love of nature’s things as these materialities skitter away from the mind’s grasp into otherwise and far. In this performance, Mossin is in fine company with his chosen companions: Thoreau, Whitman, Pound, Williams, H.D., Zukofsky, Weil, Oppen, Niedecker, Jabès, Blackburn, Blaser, Duncan, Creeley, Olson, Eigner, DuPlessis, Taggart, Kimmerer, Virgil, Propertius, and Hesiod. Arranged in a series of 27 “books” dated from 28 September 2019 to 18 June 2020, the poems offer an intense, luminous contemplation of the emplacedness of the human heart and mind.
Miriam Nichols, Radical Affections: Essays on the Poetics of Outside (2010)
Praise For Andrew Mossin’s Poetry
Here is a writer of absolute intensity, a writer to reckon with.
Rachel Blau DuPlessis
Andrew Mossin’s The Epochal Body counts as among the most beautifully exquisite books of our time.
If Whitman’s bardic genesis is the covenant from which prophetic American poetry emerges, then catastrophic commentary is its ongoing permutative promise. Andrew Mossin’s The Veil treats revelation as a speculum, smoky and imprecise to see through but etched with evidence that is ‘consolation / to the recluse’ hermeneut.
Page after page Mossin works a classic magic: the Orphic call of life out of death. These marvelous and dazzling poems speak a mother tongue none of us has every quite heard. Whoever we are, these words could our own lost ancestral speech. We might even wonder as we read, and read again, who we ever thought we were.
Torture Papers, a sustained meditation on the destruction of personhood through war crimes belongs in the tradition of the great witness poets of the last century—Celan, Reznikoff, Rothenberg. This is an urgent, necessary book—an elegy for the dead and a powerful exploration, free of platitudes, formally rigorous, into the dark history of our haunted times.
Mossin takes on—bears—the responsibilities of the “I” to bring back “tragic facts,” and to engage the politics of silence with a poetics of lyrical testimony.
Mossin’s long lines and hypnotic rhythms take him deep into the dreamwork, where the ghosts that must be confronted can be put to rest and recognized for what they truly are: ancestors. And in that recognition, Mossin finds his freedom.
Andrew Mossin is the author of six previous collections of poetry, most recently The Fire Cycle (Spuyten Duyvil), A Son From the Mountains: A Memoir (Spuyten Duyvil), and a collection of critical essays, Male Subjectivity and Poetic Form in “New American” Poetry (Palgrave). He is an Associate Professor in the Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University in Philadelphia. He lives in Doylestown, PA.