The Revisionist and The Astropastorals

The Revisionist and The Astropastorals

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Author: Douglas Crase

Publisher: Nightboat Books (2020)

MacArthur “genius” Douglas Crase is best known for his invocations of the American landscape and Transcendental tradition. Out of print since 1987, The Revisionist has been enough in some opinions to establish him as one of the most important poets of his generation. Its influence persists, says The Oxford Book of American Poetry, as a “formidable underground reputation.” By combining that book with Crase’s recent chapbook, The Astropastorals, Nightboat Books brings Crase’s underground reputation to a wider audience for the first time in thirty-two years. 

"This is such anticipatory, massively omniscient edging work. It’s a tone you’d expect a poet to hit here or there but Doug hits it always and I don’t know that he 'knows,' or his poem knows but there’s a temptation as a reader to want to stay in it always. He’s not saying it’ll be okay. But even, not meekly, that there are patterns."

–Eileen Myles

"Crase looks at the city and the landscape with the amused, disabused eye of a lover. Revisionism, in his supple argumentative poetry, turns out to be something very close to love."

–John Ashbery

"Douglas Crase’s dancing eye or is it ear, lost, restless, nervous, and insistingly singular, charges words with the task of unmasking the ordinary. 'The reason for love is / retrieval.' I can’t think of a better time to revisit the poems in The Revisionist which now seem prophetic. With Astropastorals, his sharp eye continues to meticulously map the restless, shifting, ambiguities of the American scene."

–Susan Howe

"The Revisionist is a lasting poetic achievement addressed to a once and future idea of a land driven by 'energies of terrible belief' and by a future 'hardly big enough for the past.' But for all the intoxicating urbanity of these poems in their syntax, reflexive mood, exalted octaves, panoramic desire, and no small feat of engineering, Douglas Crase’s rare artistry figures a capacious refusal to plead innocence. Instead, a 'circumstance of invasion' haunts U.S. American memory wherein 'every road leads home and none is getting there.' Even turning to the cosmos from the stand point of earth, money, and 'the law of large numbers,' The Astropastorals wonder moreover what it means to be a 'guest among stars.' In Mark Ford’s superb introduction we meet again a poet of the day, an 'original and highly charged idiom' ready to restore 'the ebb and flow of belonging inherent in the idea of democracy.'”

–Roberto Tejada