Technorage

Technorage Details

TitleTechnorage
Author
Formatebook
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 1st, 2017
PublisherTriquarterly Books
ISBN0810135132
ISBN-139780810135130
Rating
GenrePoetry

Technorage Review

  • Joseph
    March 12, 2017
    My memoryis a thief and my imagination an undertaker "Afterlife of Deer"TechnoRage: Poems by William Olsen is the poet's fifth collection of poetry. Olsen is the recipient of The Nation/Discovery Award, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at Western Michigan University and Vermont College.Although I hate to borrow from the book's own description or press release, but "It's intensely lyrical poems remind us of our humanity, spi My memoryis a thief and my imagination an undertaker "Afterlife of Deer"TechnoRage: Poems by William Olsen is the poet's fifth collection of poetry. Olsen is the recipient of The Nation/Discovery Award, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at Western Michigan University and Vermont College.Although I hate to borrow from the book's own description or press release, but "It's intensely lyrical poems remind us of our humanity, spinning free-ranging poetic conversations that question the ways of the world. In the age of the wide but often shallow lens of our new technology" is an excellent summation of the collection. For example, "Out of the Vortex" opens with:Gust smattered gobs of snow glommed to sprucelimbsshingled white, then, through snow fume, a hintof living green,the ecstatic without the static, without confines.Olsen writes interestingly and imaginatively of Francis Bacon's painting "Figure with Meat" in "Damnation" and reminds the reader the figure lives because he ate death. Olsen also carries a fondness for herons as well as snow. The heron in mythology is a messenger of the gods and in other mythology, the sun. Olsen's herons settle at night and fly overhead in the day. He quotes Schweitzer in the title poem -- "human happiness will destroy the world." He continues with child laborers and the hunt for Luddites. Man created the machine in his own image although the machine's soul is something unknown. Machines now create machines and we watch Transformers in a climate controlled environment... environment being used sentimentally. We create banks, server farms, and wars "So we can despise all of creation." In the second part of the collection, it is lead off with "Under a Rainbow." Rather than an Emerald City we see rust, rust color, rust rusting, and "corrosive loss."Olsen reveals the origin of his middle name the poem "My Middle Name." Curtis as in that great American Curtis LeMay (his mother used to watch LeMay play softball in the 1950s): "We'll bomb them back into the Stone Age," peace through mutually assured destruction and visions of Dr. Strangelove. "Early Murder" is a rather lengthy ode to crows and very well done. The fourth and final section contains my favorite poem in the collection, "A Natural History of Silence." Silence "must be frightened, because it knows the moment it makes itself heard it no longer exists.An excellent collection of poetry. Although the title had me expecting an angry account of man's mistreatment of the earth, it has many sides to include leaves and some animal species along with the aforementioned snow and herons. There is a balance between both aspects. Thought provoking writing and poetic beauty in a collection that can be read over and again without losing its brilliance.Release date June 15, 2017
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  • Roddy Williams
    March 12, 2017
    The title refers to the practise of users of modern technology whereby they personify and abuse their devices both verbally and physically. I found this a very difficult and unenjoyable read, at least at first since the author occasionally adopts a clumsy grammatical style as if the words at some point are pouring on to the page.However, some way in it seemed I found some common ground and it was a revelation.One problem of the book unrelated to the content is the e-book format since it is often The title refers to the practise of users of modern technology whereby they personify and abuse their devices both verbally and physically. I found this a very difficult and unenjoyable read, at least at first since the author occasionally adopts a clumsy grammatical style as if the words at some point are pouring on to the page.However, some way in it seemed I found some common ground and it was a revelation.One problem of the book unrelated to the content is the e-book format since it is often difficult to determine where the author's chosen line ending is. My apologies therefore if any of my quotes from the poems are not in the form they should appear in on the page. Olsen addresses dark issues; chronic pain, death, the ruthlessness of nature and perhaps the veneer that separates humanity from this. He employs both free verse and some intense prose poems. There's a sense of ripping away the facade of 'human happiness' to reveal a bedrock of pain, frustration and pointlessness. And yet, the natural world seems to hold some hope, or at least some unattainable meaning.Although I read and write a good deal of it, I do not claim to be an expert on poetry, particularly American poetry, and fully admit to not fully appreciating some of the more difficult pieces. There is much I am missing although I feel I will return to this book. Olsen has the knack of pushing one's perceptions in new directions, which can only be a good thing. The first poem 'Posthumous Cabin' begins as a description of occasional trips to a lakeside cabin and by degrees descends into an almost raging cry for help.I find that 'Customer Service' is also a poem that returns to me, wound around the frustration of waiting in a queue. Here, there is the smalltalk with others which not only demonstrates to oil the veneer covering our inner natures but also serves within the piece to take the author on a sidepath to examine the nature of the self. The guy at the beginning of a growing line is saying,"No one else is gonna do it for me," and I'm saying,"That's for sure, you gotta do everything yourself," he's saying "That's for sure." and then finally saying, "My mama isn't gonna do it for me,"with some tacit rage of having said that hovering in his face.'Early Murder' is a lengthy and beautiful prose poem about crows, one of my favourites in this book, which again touches on our relationships with nature and each other, and the way we mask unpleasant facts from ourselves.The title piece is one of the most difficult poems for me. I can see there is an exploration of how technology has infiltrated our lives, from his wife's e-books ('My wife reads books on clouds / that wander lonely or out loud' ironically referencing Wordsworth and his personal connection with Nature as a force) to Luddites, the holocaust and the Transformers movies.Olsen also manages to include quotations in this piece and elsewhere, a stylistic touch that I've never seen employed before. "the human frame / A mechanized automaton,"Shelley wrote, "Scarce living pulleys of a dead machine...""Men are more easily made than machinery," Lord Byron, for a briefperiod outraged.Say yes to cyberutopiaand instant democracy.The author, refreshingly, does give some helpful notes at the end of the book on some specific pieces. Should this be necessary? Yes, I believe so. It's always useful and indeed interesting to get the artist's take on whatever s/he has created but preferably after one has wrestled with it to determine a personal interpretation. The collection has certainly grown on me in the last couple of weeks and I am certain I will be returning to it to fathom its other secrets. I liked it. It pushed my boundaries.
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  • Julia V
    May 12, 2017
    I received a copy of this collection on Net Galley in exchange for feedback. This was kind of a weird read for me. Olsen writes in a really dense stream of consciousness that often switches between thoughts before one can be finished. I'm not exactly sure this is my ideal style of poetry. I like to read poetry between novels to escape dense paragraphs of text but that is more his style. The shorter overall page length was a nice balance though.What I can say is I did A LOT of highlighting in thi I received a copy of this collection on Net Galley in exchange for feedback. This was kind of a weird read for me. Olsen writes in a really dense stream of consciousness that often switches between thoughts before one can be finished. I'm not exactly sure this is my ideal style of poetry. I like to read poetry between novels to escape dense paragraphs of text but that is more his style. The shorter overall page length was a nice balance though.What I can say is I did A LOT of highlighting in this book. Olsen has a really lovely sense of word choice, which I prefer over his concepts. Sometimes I would be working my way through a poem and a line or two would just stop me. Parts of his poems can stand alone by themselves as minimalist poetry. There is also a very nice use of references to convey a point.
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  • M- S__
    March 20, 2017
    It was okay. Unfortunately the best moments of this collection were when Olsen departed from the theme. "The Afterlife of Deer" and a few others had some interesting moments. The title poem is a little impenetrable.
  • Helen
    April 8, 2017
    **Review to come**
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