Selected Days by Stephen Ratcliffe
The ordinariness of the uncanny in the paratactician's dream: Attention, drift, perception, modulation, citation, repetition, speculation, description, reflection, observation, insinuation. In Stephen Ratcliffe's Selected Days, each day is much like the next. The difference is poetry.
Craig Dworkin on Selected Days
Stephen Ratcliffe has long been my hero: fearlessly writing essays on the most restive texts of contemporary poetry as if it were a matter of course and quietly conducting some of the most radical experiments himself, with a humility rare for an avant-garde accustomed to grandstanding braggadocio. In the poems collected here, conceptual and grammatical grids serve as screens with which to capture the fragile phenomenology at the intersection of perception and thought. In the process, Ratcliffe has performed quotidian observation as a sort of devotional practice. The books from which these present selections have been made are extensive — hundreds and thousands of pages each — but they are all built from minute particulars projected through perceptible forms, so that even excerpted they retain their capaciousness. Parts here contain the whole, and the whole extends beyond the book to be coincident with each and every day. For readers, these poems will alter the details of the world around them with the same precision and wonder with which they were recorded.