Composed at the crossroads of dream and ritual, Andrew Mossin’s Stanzas for the Preparation of Perception is a “return that is part fable, part recollection” by an “Orphic / Son, soon to come back.” To what does the poet return? He returns to himself, knowing that his self is part memory, part myth, the one forever collapsing into the other. Searching for his past, he engages in ecstatic interpretation, ta’wil and self-analysis, so that the future will open for him and he will not lose himself in all that has gone before. His long lines and hypnotic rhythms take him deep into the dreamwork, where the ghosts that must be confronted can be put to rest and recognized for what they truly are: ancestors. And in that recognition, Mossin finds his freedom.
In these poems, a speaker seeks a home, a skin, an origin, a name. What the orphan finds is not perhaps his own people but a deep history, a telling and re-telling of bodies of water, trees and their shadows, ancestors around tables, earth light; these are the things that make the circling shape of voice—that is, what holds here, embodied and disembodied both, multiplied.
In a dazzle of fierce reasoning and dreamlike eloquence, Stanzas for the Preparation of Perception fathoms the historical and spiritual wounds of what Hart Crane might call a “sundered parentage.” Each page is a tour de force of high address, lyricism, myth, philosophy, and sensory bliss. (Perceptions, it seems, are already arriving: some painful, some rhapsodic.) Book upon book, in his ongoing epic of incarnation, Andrew Mossin finds in fate a complex and transfiguring song.
Andrew Mossin has published poetry, creative non-fiction and critical essays in numerous journals and literary magazines, including Conjunctions, Hambone, Jacket, Talisman, Callaloo, Contemporary Literature, New Ohio Review and others. He is the author of four previous collections of poetry, The Epochal Body (Singing Horse Press), The Veil (Singing Horse Press), Exile's Recital (Spuyten Duyvil), and Torture Papers (Spuyten Duyvil), and a book of criticism, Male Subjectivity and Poetic Form in “New American” Poetry (Palgrave). He is an Associate Professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he teaches in the Intellectual Heritage Program.