Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

Singularity stereo

Fisher, Allen (2006) Singularity stereo. Barque Press. ISBN 1903488567

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Though its earliest poems from this sequence were first published in 1982, Singularity Stereo is a work of total formal and thematic coherence. Short discursive poems punctuate meditations on science, the earth and harm like station announcements, or phasal interruptions in the transmission of electromagnetic waves. The texts combine nearly traditionalist pastoral modes – quotations from Spenser, wind rushing ‘through pear and apple gates’ – with a punishingly exact scientific lexicon. The poems twist along an S-shaped curve of immediacy and trace, refashioning of the idea of singularity, through a poetics which is both passionate and dispassionate about the physical world. Fisher's text insistently places aesthetic, scholarly and neural activity in the same frame as political violence. Thus the inquiry into the nature of eloquence (with the help of Milton) in ‘stamping sequence’ at once offers the prospect of an enriched relativism – ‘that any truth has many shapes’ – and betrays the utility of that relativism to the shape-shifters who ‘trip about at command’. Singularity Stereo broadcasts the difficulty of equilizing promise and critique, and the physical-phenomenological specifications for our time of the forms of ‘manifest hurt’ caused ‘in being’.

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