Charles Alexander : Pushing Water


“‘[T]hrough the tunnel pushing water’: the first appearance of this image in Charles Alexander’s serial poem arises as if in a dream, and that sense of dream persists throughout this long and complex work (‘the dream pushes up from under the water’). Yet, ‘pushing water’ also becomes a metaphor of body, of breath, of heartbeat, blood and brain, of consciousness itself, time and history, rendered in diverse poetic forms. Alexander embraces language and the bodies of work that comprise the touchstones of English poetry from the ‘word hoard’ of the Anglo-Saxons through Shakespeare and Greville, Dickinson, and Williams, Olson and Creeley. Without having done an actual word count, ‘love’ and ‘syllable’ (the beat or rhythm of the word) seem to me to be the most frequently used in this poem of love, language, and love of language.”

— Beverly Dahlen


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