Anatomical Sketches is a stunning display of visionary daring, formal virtuosity, and intrepid intellect engaged in a process of world discovery, where discovery is understood as an act of imagination and articulation. The two teachers who come to mind in relation to Thilleman’s extensive work are Blake and Yeats. Like them he creates and populates a world of dynamic forms that range from emerging humans, to vast interstellar formations, to mythological forces, to the details of genetic exfoliation. At the heart of his committed pursuit, is the question, “What is this child of the world / Gathering sense within his wave-like singing?” This book is unique in a world of contemporary poetry dominated by precious lyrics and “avant-garde” word dumps. It takes up poetry’s ancient responsibility to preserve the world by informing it. What an extraordinary accomplishment.
“They kick and if you don’t watch yourself they’ll kick themselves right out of your hands. That’s stupid.”
W.C. Williams, White Mule
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
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
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."
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
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.
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 ...
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.
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.