|SPLIT THE STICK: A MINIATURIST-DIVAN
by Mac Wellman
Mac Wellman associates his poetry with nonsense. But his new book Split the Stick goes beyond the political nonsense of Victorianism and leaves language to float untethered. Split the Stick links poetry with the fantastic writings of Islam and the motifs of Persian miniatures. Based mostly on a rhythmic design with little else but a center margin to ground them, Wellman’s designs leave the reader wondering what happened. Themes appear and disappear as his caravan of words winds through the landscape. Brilliant tropes flash in the darkness not to reappear for another 20 pages. Few poets have granted their work this much freedom and unfettered energy.
Mac Wellman's new collection of poetry is so singular, so original that there is no one writing poetry today quite like him. His fanciful, satirical world is filled with addresses to magical figures such as the silent Mahoon. They appear, as in his plays, in a language we can only slightly glimpse, as if the author were speaking from some alien planet. Leaves speak, things get "skyudgled" and fly away like "dead bats." It is a marvelous world
which once you enter you will want to visit again and again.
— Douglas Messerli
Three quarks for Muster Mac! No one splits the phonemic atoms of language with
as much verve, energy, strange & colorful charm as Mac Wellman. If you want to
experience the pleasures of 21st century lyric in all its polysemous perverse glory
read Split the Stick!
— L.S. Asekoff
Not aroused by language? Your troubles are over. In this brilliant saga about spear
hunting, Jesus, and the common house cat, Mac Wellman once again proves that
you don’t have to leave the safety of your own home to get that ebullient tingly
feeling associated with raves and roller coasters.
— Lisa Jarnot
Mac Wellman’s recent work includes 3 2's; or AFAR, directed by Meghan Finn at
Dixon Place, The Difficulty of Crossing a Field (with composer David Lang), and
1965 UU for performer Paul Lazar and directed by Stephen Mellor at the
Chocolate Factory. He has received numerous honors, including NEA,
Guggenheim, and Foundation of Contemporary Arts fellowships. He received
his third Obie for Lifetime Achievement. His books include: Q's Q, a novel;
A Chronicle of the Madness of Small Worlds, a volume of stories; The Difficulty of
Crossing a Field, a new collection of plays. His books of poetry include Miniature,
Strange Elegies, and Left Glove. He is Distinguished Professor of Play Writing at
Publication date: March 2012