Synopses & Reviews
Poems search for signs of the divine amid the abominations of the profane and the materials of language itself.
Signs and Abominations is a radical tour de force that interrogates the relationship between religion and art at the end of the 20th century in penetrating and sensuous prosody. It can be read as a series of damaged likenesses: humans as the damaged image and likeness of God, poems and other works of art as necessarily incomplete attempts to approach and represent the numinous and the ineffable.
The reader is guided through its five interconnected sections by diverse voices: Michelangelo, Andres Serrano, Flannery O'Connor, Emily Dickinson, Soren Kierkegaard, Augustine, to name a few. All of the book's figures -- the child-Crusaders stumbling toward Jerusalem, the man who wants to preserve for posterity his body entirely covered with tattoos, Andres Serrano submerging a crucifix in his own urine -- set out on a deformed search for signs of the divine among the abominations of the profane. These poems are brilliance cast back at the hypocritical religiosity of those who refuse to admit that the spiritual and the profane inextricably encompass each other, and that art and religion have more in common than not.