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Synopses & Reviews
Poetry. The Method is a manuscript of theorems and proofs written and diagrammed by the mathematician Archimedes at Constantinople in the second half of the tenth century. THE METHOD is a book of poems by Sasha Steensen. The former THE METHOD is a text that has survived, at least in parts, through a series of processes that includes palimpsesting--the dismantling/resassembling and subsequent overwriting of text--thievery, obscurantism, acquisition, and conservation. The latter text takes the former and its history, which has been invisible, overwritten, and requisitioned for use value, as a jumping-off place for her own meditation on the relationships that develop between a person and her historical truth, a person and her writings. Steensen's THE METHOD treads carefully in the terrain of fact that foregrounds her investigations, and emerges centuries and centuries on in the only moment that remains to us. "I thought:// The Method, so happily recovered./ I am the one who called us all together./ I driven time./ I wars and waves./ I was./ I go over sea-lanes rife with fish./ I did not.// I saw a shadow on the water./ I know this situation makes a perfect poem,/ but I will not." Sasha Steensen is the author of A MAGIC BOOK. She co-edits Kiosk: A Journal of Poetry, Poetics, and Experimental Prose, and Bonfire Books, a chapbook press. A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, she earned her PhD at SUNY Buffalo and is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Colorado State University.
"This cycle of poems centering on the history of a manuscript of theorems and proofs by Archimedes — also called The Method, and composed in Syracuse around 250 B.C. — raises deep questions, sometimes asked by Archimedes' book itself, about the forces that act upon a text to change and possibly corrupt its meaning: 'The Method had heard some say:/ 'he or she/ took a little part of me/ when they took their leave/ of me.'' There's an elegiac tone throughout, as Steensen confronts the fact that while Archimedes' manuscript has been recovered, parts have also been destroyed, plagiarized and commodified to the point that the reader, along with the writer, becomes haunted by the notion of an ever-changing text. Steensen guides us through the long journey of this ancient manuscript and artfully demonstrates how a book is a record of power dynamics in this multifaceted exploration of the complicated relationship between an author and her creation, which speaks both for and against its author, contending, 'They scheme against you: but I too have My schemes./ Therefore, bear with the unbelievers, and let them be awhile.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"What or who is The Method? Charming, dangerous, love-struck, mistaken—an angle of the human mind."
The Method is a manuscript of theorems written by Archimedes in the tenth century, a palimpsested text. Steensen takes The Method and its history as a jumping-off place for a meditation on the relationships developed between a person and her historical truth. She treads carefully in the terrain of fact that foregrounds investigations, and emerges centuries and centuries on.
About the Author
SASHA STEENSEN is the author of A Magic Book (Fence Books, 2004), correspondence (with Gordon Hadfield, 2004), and the chapbook The Future of an Illusion (2008). She co-edits Bonfire Press and serves as one of the poetry editors for Colorado Review. She lives and teaches in Fort Collins, Colorado.
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