Ahsahta Press, part of the Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program at Boise State University, recently published “Days and Works” by Rachel Blau DuPlessis.
Inspired by Greek poet Hesiod’s almanac “Works and Days,” Duplessis’s collection possesses a sense of time that is simultaneously atemporal and acutely aware of its relationship to the daily passage of events. DuPlessis uses a collage of newspaper clippings within her poems to address the question, “how can so many things occupy the same space?”
A 2002 Pew Fellow in the Arts, and a recipient of poetry fellowships from Djerassi and the Rockefeller Foundation, DuPlessis is the author of the critically acclaimed long poem Drafts (1986–2012) in 114 cantos. “Days and Works” is one of her “interstitial” books, a group that includes “Interstices” (Subpress, 2014), “Graphic Novella” (Xexoxial Editions, 2015), the collage-poem “Numbers” (forthcoming from Materialist Press) and “Eurydics” (forthcoming from Further Other Book Works). DuPlessis has written a trilogy of critical essays on gender and poetics: “The Pink Guitar,” “Blue Studios” and “Purple Passages,” and several other critical books, as well as editing “The Selected Letters of George Oppen” (1990). She also has embarked on a 21st–century long poem called “Traces.”
“I’m glad to bring Rachel’s work into the Ahsahta list,” said Janet Holmes, director and editor of Ahsahta Press and professor in the English department. “From her essential scholarship on George Oppen to her engagement with texts on an appropriative basis, she’s a poet I’ve long admired. ‘Days and Works’ is not only fun to read; it’s a wonderful example of what this poet has been doing with the sequential poem, collage, found poetry and demotic language – all the things that have made her work important to American poetry in this century and the last.”