thilleman’s poems are playful and intellectual—a mirror of all the synapses, misfirings and disconnects that take place during the process of juggling two or three or more thoughts in the air at one time. It would be easy to say he is simply the latest offspring of a modernist/post-modernist tradition that began with Stein and Pound and continued up through Olson and Duncan, a tradition that encouraged getting lost as the way to discovering the hidden meaning of anything but Thilleman’s modus operandi is impossible to pin down, a surviving force amid the endless detritus and debris of the past who happens to be alive at this peculiar all-or-nothing moment.
being tribute and letter
the spirit of which is read
meanwhile the poet
(seemingly sometime missing)
“Rothko’s Door to Duncan’s Field”
to Rich Blevins on his seriality
And then there’s that great Duncan quote: “It is not in the survival alone but in the death and life of themes that the alchemical process works.” So these poems are not aimed at a totality fixed and explainable in terms set out by reason’s discourse. ... The poems “see” not with the characteristic vision of the biological eye, but with the magical “third eye” and so they do not conform to expectations of a reader concerned with a “finished thought.” tt writes, “This vast Real, inhabiting the great wheel of mortality and its attendant resurrection, emanates from love in our time – and only is it so from the duration of love in openness.” LOVE IS THE LAW, LOVE UNDER WILL. It really is a major work of great beauty and power.
The ground is moving beneath your feet, and the precipice is just a step away. Proceed with caution, as if you were entering a falling rock zone or the path of a twister, a world within a world. Unfiltered, implosive, heartbreaking, Thilleman’s Aura Lifetime is the ultimate blueprint for the day after tomorrow, the book to read while the city sleeps.
... thilleman toys with the ratio of thought and sensation, tweaking our ration page by page to make sure the whole creative process (the branching of our entire neural net) is engaged in incubation, illumination, and verification. This book activates what scientists Menon and Bressler call “dynamic interactions of distributed brain areas operating in large-scale networks."
Lori Anderson Moseman, from the introduction
...thilleman’s meditations on Eros and constructions of the Beloved seek the consolations and incitements of “Nuit,” both alembic gift-bearer and soul’s companion. In so doing, the poems trace a Dionysian ritual of ekstasis (standing outside of oneself) and sparagmos (the tearing apart of a living creature), bearing within them the unfolding disturbance of experiences that incorporate the dream-like and incorporeal seen through the eyes of a ludic wanderer.
"The secrecy by which the most sensual is given expression means to decode all existence with the mark of its experience alone and not by the full-on superiority of revealing. Revelation is something that can always be teased forth, moving the very nature of secretion into what abounds, is plentiful, and never occulted for the purposes of one method inducing one idea whose pleasure can only be the capitalization or exploitation of a captive body. Breath flows in two directions."
Just as Duncan follows "the soul's journey in an evolution from the shell fish ... to the woman with her child, her Christ-child" in The H.D. Book, so too does Thilleman discover a "morphological" way to link the image of Jellyfish with "a continuity of spirit in the universe." Here, "in the mirror of the water," Thilleman feels "the anatomies of these creatures real or imagined, phantastical or dumb and brutish ... are providing sustenance for the broken and starving human."
“One aspect of the monster concept,” observes Stephen T. Asma in his book On Monsters: An Unnatural History Of Our Worst Fears, “seems to be the breakdown of intelligibility. An action or a thing is monstrous when it can’t be processed by our rationality, and also when we cannot readily relate to the emotional range involved.”
In Snailhorn (fragments) thilleman presents a speaker seeing themselves in pieces, the fragments of an archeology of humanity, in shapes defined by history, shuffled by spirits. We are both matter and mother to matter, dust and mud, spliced shells filled with water, overflowing. Telling the epic of humanity in what is left behind in the trail of history ...
Toad Suck Review
ETU puts “sex/souls” into the “worm’s blank” and in doing so increases “home’s length.” I am relieved to enter and move through a whorl like ETU because in it I feel “we, multitudinous.”
Thilleman has a music all his own, sometimes lyrical, sometimes dissonant; pretty consistently surprising. I'll admit "root-cellar" always sets me thinking of WCW's "cat" poem – you know, the one with the jam-closet & so forth. But Root-Cellar is very un-Williamsesque: more an assertion – nay, a demonstration – that ruminative, considerative poetry is still possible. You've got to admire Thilleman's ability to leap from the jars in the cellar to the meaning of life; and it doesn't at all hurt that the poem to my ear's shot through with echoes of Briggflatts.
... suspension of linguistic meaning that verges toward music, a mid magnetic between meaning and resonance that touches on both only to veer off, return, whirl to a stop and begin again ... there is a liberating aspect to hearing or reading a poem that eludes signification only to capture it soon enough ... with echoes or Samuel Greenberg and Hart Crane ...
No single note can contain or describe this work, nor is there a quiet sameness which will lull one beyond question. Instead there is a composed concentration in the center of calamitous movement—movement which embodies inquiry, which listens as a means of locomotion, transferring setting to sound, venturing out along many circumstances.
Thilleman began to attract attention with his sequence collection Wave-Run and has continued to mine secrets and depths inherent in language, but often ignored. The magic of words—that they have lives of their own beyond their obvious power to communicate information .... Between continues that process, informed by his conductus, the Daemon.
Zukofsky tells us that those without Greek can still pick up the sound of the sea—and know that it is the sea—from hearing Homer’s language. Those who sound the language of Thilleman’s Wave-Run may at first feel submerged in a foreign language only to arrive at a later—and deeper, more alive—realization of English and of a different sea.
1995 - 2000
Wave-Run roars up the beach with all of modernity and its detritus glistening on the crest. Thilleman’s craft, the drive and punning images of his language, movingly replay in contemporary terms the old myth of Ocean and our fascinated love of it.
The waverings, flurries, gaps and gusts of phrases, by turns recondite and plain, harsh and eloquent, compose a deeply credible kind of spiritual music, appropriately broken, but alive with despair and exaltation. Thilleman pushes composition to the brink of what is, and words are still there, and the promise of things hidden ...
“All poetry is thrown/into the encyclopedia's/furnace”: so Thilleman drops the casual in-the-moment presence of a Ted Berrigan poem into a complicated textual construct of chance and necessity, Dadaist spontaneity and philosophical system. The results are synthetic: a poetry that finds a place for many of the warring claims for poetic form, claims which, thanks to Thilleman, are revealed instead as hardy co-conspirators in the subversive art. Everything is possible and Thilleman points the way.
Reminiscent of dream theory which instantiates a fragment of selfness in each dream-element, or of the other theory which has the most recent waking electromagnetic brain stimulation locate the dream-content literally by tissue-territory ... Thilleman’s disarming rhetorical theatrics, a hilarity of anxiety ... are moved along by a rhythm-as-ideation/emanation mode which formally links the non-lyric philosophical Elizabethan / Jacobean argument poem with the ultra-contemporary “personal documentary” film essay.
Thilleman has achieved a perfect fusion between poetry and philosophy in this unusual work.
In The Corybantes he continues with a longer and more definitive book using longer stanzas if one uses that word anymore. I don't and he doesn't either. Please read him yourself. You will find "are you reading my mind," "no one honors cultivated silence," "raising his consciousness to the status of Being." Do not be left behind.