The Deleuzian Addressee: Anti-epistolary poem archived at Project Muse

Sometimes the kindest thing an academic resource can do with your avant-garde poem is explain (in this case to the poet) something about how it works.

Such is the outcome of Project Muse's abstract to "Japan," an anti-epistolary poem of mine generously published by the Colorado Review (if you don't subscribe, you should!) and later in my first collection Traces of a Fifth Column (Inlandia Books, 2017).

In “Japan” a speaker wrestles with the ambivalence of missing someone while relishing a return to the self in their absence.“Japan” takes the form of a postcard or a letter, but is in fact an “anti-epistolary” poem: it explores the expressive space that opens up when a text regards its addressee as a collection of Deleuzian attributes, rather than as an individual
— Project Muse,


Dear Japan, Dear Ambient Author, Dear Oh, Dear Transfiguration Boy, Dear Chemical Girl, Dear Fiber of My Fire, Dear Big Red Scarf, Dear Halloween Buoy,

Desire and lists. The idea of me—that hash-marked outline that universally precedes me by mere moments—writes this to you. I trust it to say everything I want to say, although rarely in the order I would hope to say it. Burn yourself without burning yourself. After all this disturbing time I’ve learned to like California.

Make me into your—.

I am contumbled lists: immobile butterfly building, hand town, hand-to-hand town, butterfly more building than. I am recursion, something says.

I am captions: My afterimage shortcuts through a hungry wind farm, unharmed. Deciduous neon messages on white grass. The earth’s first words. Semi-organic things we’ve used for shelter. Still life with red gems, supermoon, and blood-fiction.

[See the rest of this poem on the Colorado Review Website or at the Project Muse link below!]

Thanks for putting a workable definition around
anti-epistolary CR & Project Muse!

Maisto, M. "Japan." Colorado Review, vol. 43 no. 2, 2016, pp. 151-151. Project MUSEdoi:10.1353/col.2016.0068