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Southern Messenger Poets

90 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / no illustrations

ebook available


  Paperback / 9780807157411 / August 2014
In Christian theology, a skandalon is a distraction from grace, a maze of error where we wander pointlessly, wasting our lives. To the ancient Greeks, a skandalon was the trigger of a trap. T. R. Hummer’s labyrinthine new collection encompasses these meanings and more, as its poems take various paths—some beguiling, some grotesque, some instructive, some opaque—to unexpected destinations. Undergirding the collection is a series of progressive vignettes entitled “Victims of the Wedding,” which follows the quarrels and couplings of a human man and woman as well as the angel and demon who observe them.
Skandalon presents poems that consider the subtle, tragic, and ridiculous responses of creatures who lose themselves in a world they had wrongly imagined to be their own.
Born on a farm in rural Mississippi, TR Hummer is the author of 14 books of poetry and essays. Former editor of The Georgia Review and The Kenyon Review, he is a Guggenheim fellow in poetry and has won numerous awards for his work.

Praise for Skandalon

Skandalon achieves its genius by generating marvels of artificial intelligence cherry-picked from cultural spare parts, excavated esoterica, deconstructed hopes and dreams, blood, sweat and fears, premature self-congratulations, and Instagrams of innumerable follies de monde in progress. It’s some book.”—Will Root, Cutthroat Magazine

“No poet of his generation writes with more intellectual ambition and aesthetic restlessness than T. R. Hummer. He’s a postmodern alchemist, and his new book, Skandalon, crackles with electric, virtual wizardry. Imagine here a vast, intricate circuit-board—downhome blues crossed with ancient sophistry, phrases distilled from theology, poetics, and natural science, fused with the most current events. In fact these short poems amass into a single narrative, branching with allusions yet grounded in the circumstances of story and character—gods and priests, lovers and losers—all of it wired for power to enable Hummer’s profound vision of our eternal crisis, the meeting, the collision, the ever-unresolved match of desire and fate.”—David Baker, author of Show Me Your Environment

“Like the engraver bent before his own headstone, in Skandalon T. R. Hummer transforms the raw materials of twenty-first century life into a stark and equally strange in memoriam to civilization. Thrombosis, the rapture, Poe’s raven as ventriloquist dummy, “black holes megaphon[ing] the voice of God,” even Walt Whitman’s pantry: everything in this pantomancer’s imagination is omen and end. Skandalon cements Hummer’s name amongst the visionaries. It will be cherished and passed down by the generations we can only hope are to come.”—Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum, author of Ghost Gear

“In this erudite, gritty, and ambitious book, Blake's angels consort with Sappho's muse and Whitman's pantry on a stage hung with unabashed awe. It’s a pleasure to read such adept, literary poems as they shift registers and influences, each playing its part in Hummer’s touching, mordant carnival.”—Annie Finch, author of Spells

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