Psalmandala

Psalmandala_5

I’m not sure how Michael Patrick Collins manages it—a collection that at once feels ancient and absolutely new, that can reference the “interwebs” and Tartarus in a single gesture, can address Death as a “sociopathic jackwagon” whose realm is a “psychotic little kleptocracy” and make me laugh and weep my ass off and search the interwebs so I don’t feel so stupid. Just when I’m ready to compare him to Eliot I’m spinning out in the territory of e.e. cummings, where Collins smooshes words together into goofyaccurate compounds—troubadubescent? homeosociopath?—that make my right brain collide with my left. Devotional as a psalm, circuitous as a mandala, Psalmandala is a hybrid work of shamanic genius. It ought to blow up poetryworld and the “corpseworld” of America like “Song of Myself” and “Howl” did in their time. I beseech thee to let these poems apocalypse you. —Diane Seuss

Michael Patrick Collins confronts the conflicts of the modern world with a mystic’s intensity. The music in these poems, their fierce proclamations and sideways spirituality, remind me of James Wright, Trakl, or Rilke, but the voice in Psalmandala may speak with that authority and within the lyric poem’s best traditions, but there is a strangeness here that is all new, and all this poet’s, and this book is a thrilling find. —Laura Kasischke

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