Dianoia
Poetry | $17.95
paperback, 120 pages, 6 x 9 in
Publication Date: 2016
ISBN: 978-1-937658-46-5

Dianoia continues this acclaimed poet’s investigations into language, culture, and the intersections of recent history, philosophy, and human possibility

In a multigenre approach, making use of poetry, prose and graphics, Heller articulates with precision and clarity the lyric/anti-lyric boundaries of contemporary life exploring the nature of violence, politics, art, and the literary imagination. Heller’s poetry, impelled by what he calls his “thought-prosody,” in its diction and cadences, its range of references and allusions, strives to create an intelligible aesthetic and ethical vision, which “gives more force to a human argument of the world.”

Michael Heller’s new book has the energy and urgency of a dialogue on all that most matters, a dialogue with himself, with the reader, with poets and artists (Oppen, Segalen, Basho, Beckmann, Picasso), with history and terror, with the world and its absence. Dianoia is a bristling and bracing book of unwavering attentiveness, apprehensive questioning, breathtaking clarity. It marks a further tuning of Heller’s rigorous music of thought. - Geoffrey O’Brien

As usual, Michael Heller begins a conversation with his reader that I’m loath to exit until the very last words. I feel an urgency fellow-traveling with this “I” witness who has “lost my name-hunger,”as he tells us. Beset by “busyness and fear,” “not feeling like myself,” Heller’s desire seems to have shifted from constellating names to what he calls “liquid nomination,” like that of the sacred Tibetan lake, Yam-dok-Tsö, whose doubled rings escaped the first maps drawn of it. Letting singularity go for doubledness, a complex vision appears involving the “I” in often painful escape from the “armature” of the ego, its protective covering. Heller’s is an almost violently honest work of rethinking—not via abandonment, ever, but by thinking across, what the Greek diá adds to noiéo- in order to produce dianoia, or “thinking that literally reaches ‘across to the other side’ (of a matter).” The challenge in this book is to keep up and keep our eyes open, as well as remain willing to see across to what Heller sees. - Romana Huk