by Steve McCaffery
By means of a dissonant fluidity and form Parsival conveys its readers along by now familiar trajectories: power, knowledge, absurdity, oppression, aporia, horror and uncertainty that comprise our contemporary. Parsival’s quest of course is a non-quest (there is no Grail) or perhaps an inquest into the complexities of our century’s paideuma. The pages’ layout and typographic variations in style and size are designed to evoke Mallarmé’s in Un Coup de Des. Yet Parsival morphs into Un Coup de Dada or even Un Coup de DNA intertwining four separate texts that can be read discretely or helixed into the composite fifth.
Steve McCaffery has been twice nominated for the Governor General’s Award and is the author of more than 40 books of poetry and criticism. A selection of his explorations in numerous forms can be savored in the two volumes of Seven Pages Missing (Coach House Press, 2001-02) as well as Panopticon (Book Thug, 1984) and The Darkness of the Present: Poetics, anachronism and the anomaly (University of Alabama Press, 2012). His book-object-concept A Little Manual of Treason was commissioned for the 2011 Shajah Biennale in the United Arab Emirates. His most recent books are Tatterdemalion (Veer Books, 2014); Alice in Plunderland (Book Thug, 2015), and Revanches, a collection of visual and concrete poetry (Xexoxial, 2015). English born and a long-time resident of Toronto, he was a co-founder of the Toronto Research Group (TRG), the sound poetry ensemble Four Horsemen, and the College of Canadian “Pataphysics. Since 2004 he has been the David Gray Professor of Poetry and Letters at the University at Buffalo.
Publication date: October 2015