Full Catastrophe Living
Author: Zach Savich
Publisher: University of Iowa Press (2009)
Merging the spirits of Don Quixote, Shakespearean fools, Theodore Roethke, Frank O’Hara, James Merrill, and the Marx Brothers, Zach Savich’s first book does more than showcase the innovative fluency of its roving forms and moods: these poetic hybrids are not hothouse blossoms but minotaurs. With ebullient intelligence and high-stakes insistence on the panic, lust, and suffering of the sensual world, Full Catastrophe Living uses the self as an instrument to investigate art, love, and the hardest honesty.
In meditations, songs, slapstick sequences, sonnets, narratives, and tightly carved fragments, Savich explores the conflicts between romance and reality, between inventing a new world and staying true to this one. Relishing both traditional and experimental poetics, he takes refreshing, ecumenical risks to show the “strange grace / of bells that ring with a rag’s polishing.” Like a Fourth of July band conductor guiding planes to land, his poetic wit alters what’s real. This book will change the ways that readers think about poetry, language’s expressive capacity, and the robust world around us.