Images are dia- as well as multi-lexical. They are chakras, or nāḍi of the subtle body. Points and meridians at which prāṇa flows—or is kept from flowing.
"In that smallest or even invisiblest part I am comparing all that once passed through the mirror, the dream of the eighthand, the giving hand, the one whose synonyms call out to immense black silence defining it for a moment, a word, and no more as they both fall into chasmed dark the seemingly empty fullness of all I am."
No commentator has better understood Ed Dorn, and the prophetic nature of his Turbine, than t thilleman in his new poem; perhaps because it took a poet of grand scale to comprehend Dorn’s iconoclastic work, and only T’s line so far has had the authority to resist falling into either idolatry of the master, or the usual trap of mimicry. thilleman is a heady theorizer, but fastidious to construct the theoretical always just ahead of the line, so that his poem never side tracks or runs aground. thilleman’s contextualization sends us backward in order to go forward: back to Dorn’s visionary text of late-stage capitalism—to gain speed—then fast forward into nothing short of the future of poetry writing. Dorn readers and scholars, and tt fans, will be clocking this book for years.
Blasted Tower explodes into a brand new genre, the physical memoir, a nearby neighbor of the roman à clef. The reader is led from the unfolding to what has been folded into creation, set in durée, Bergson's inner time, about to detonate into the outer. There is a place of memory, just as there is a place of shock, both occupying a mutual locale, poised to shatter the human reserve. Thilleman does this in his brilliant account of the life of a writer.
A study of the specter of time and the mercurial re-embodiment of being, BLASTED TOWER is an autobiographical zap- zap flash-synap of episodic reflections on craft and psyche as the Meatwheel grinds ephemeral gauze and twigs to dust.
thilleman's highwire coming-of-age memoir is the unfiltered record of the heaviness and lightness of being, the poetics of everything. At the source of it all are the guiding spirits: Olson, Duncan, Jung, among them, but all told, after all the words, there's the thing that isn't there and that's what it's about for him, like a quest legend, how deep can you go? This is tt's tell-all masterpiece convoluted, inflammatory, beyond the pale, down to earth, a glow in the dark puzzle, a promissory note to the future, a lasting trace.
"Breaking through that hard shell, the egg and ovum of creation, circulates a possibility to forget as well as remember. Opening—the shedding light—neither by “fall” nor fault—enables the rational to see."
The bright and densely hued drawings, reminiscent of Mark Rothko, convey this omniscient sense of creation and movement. Humanity’s great abstractions, time, creation, and ego, intersect and interact in thilleman’s abstract representations. In each drawing, an identifiable vein of color and movement runs through the center of the page and fans upward. This vein is the flue, the passage of “heat and smoke” that represents thilleman’s allegory of how “Now” becomes “(k)Now”. If meaning is meant to be found, it will find the viewer.
Toad Suck Review
"The concept of picture-making has given way to the inception of the pastel in correspondence with all matter. I am not drawing out revelation but am simply allowing the pastel to speak for itself by providing a series of surfaces for it to expose the inceptual leap my writing pursues as it moves out of its inner narration."
"Like the literary essay (Blasted Tower) this kind of making falls between two receptions. One reception is an understanding of the nature of reality in light of its telling my early history. The other receiving is a resistance to its own “telling” into any reality via “hardened,” literary edges. I am naming the entire process ‘chaotic’ so as to dispense with limitations the drawings always process as picture-making. These are serial, dis-catenated, non-replicated pieces—and yet they retain their surface as the moment of em-picturing something other than that surface."
Not since Susan Sontag’s debut with The Benefactor has a first novel been so convincing. Welcome to a powerful new voice!
Gowanus is at times hilarious and at others edifying, slyly taking on complicated questions of art and religion—buried as they are in Knudsen's rambling bluster.
Jonathon Messinger, Time Out Chicago
Among such streets as filthy Luquer Street, in consort with such characters as Ms. Dubias, and searching for consolation in the muddy waters of the Gowanus Canal, Hans Knudsen disappears into a world occasionally enlightened by irrational brightness, often descending into beautiful (beatific) melancholies. With the quickstep of a few overall and some internal literary inventions, Thilleman has written not so much a novel as an investigation, a bildungsroman whose hero has no magic mountain to ascend or descend, but who yet desires that the intellectual and spiritual contexts for a life might still exist.
Communication becomes a comic routine, more often than not, played purely for laughs…. And it is not merely the pretentious theatre people, there is little meaningful communication between any of the characters in the book, whether it’s the kitchen worker who insists that he has done his half of the closing chores, the Yugoslavian immigrant who is pitching a play about Tito as a hero of the people, the waitress who wants praise for her photos, the Professor of Theology who uses the Thirty Nine Articles as a club to beat down opposition….Knudsen’s own communication often borders on the absurd.
Jack Goodstein/Compulsive Reader
Cogito ergo sum. But for us postmoderns that’s not enough because one might get involved in an aleatory theatrical performance and the dictum could change into something like “I act and therefore am nothing real.” As an oddball Christian, I much admired the honest handling of theology and its discontents. For Nietzsche, the death of God opened the way for the creation of the Ubermensch. (Never mind the stupid-ass Nazi's who never got anything right—Nietzsche, Wagner, Beethoven.) But for us postmoderns the death of God tends to open only the abyss. Eugene Garber
Gowanus Canal, Hans Knudsen is a novel of ideas unlike most written these days. Knudsen is a new Stephen Daedalus—but lacking a coherent tradition to rebel against as he misfires his way through doctrine and avant garde theatre into a deep sadness, one that exists in direct confrontation with the elated “new new world” of
late capitalism. In Knudsen’s world people speak in fits and starts, and understand one another little better. In his portrait of a character ground down in a world where logos have replaced the logos, Thilleman gives us a compelling novel, leaving us to clutch after what really matters. Ted Pelton
Gowanus is serious, profound, and horrifying in its indictment of the various poisons in which we swim. I'm reading Domby and Son just now, and Thilleman’s sections on the canal per se are nothing short of Dickens' tour de force on the toxic railroad. The language Gowanus employs ranges from incisive to superb, images that are often startling and unique. The world it explores—even though it is so physically constricted—contains many worlds of culture and feeling from lowest to highest, from rank to sublime, each tainted, one with the other.