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‘Vienna Secession’ is a poetry manuscript broken into four distinct sections: “The Vienna Secession,” “Waltzes,” “Short Talks,” and “Other.” Most of the manuscript is in dialogue with Secessionist artists, or the ethos of the Vienna Secession. However, others, like the haikus, are exercises of form and responses to other contemporary poets, such as Robert Hass or Richard Wright. The manuscript explores different genres, including ekphrasis, prose, and experimental poems, like the ‘Waltzes,’ which employ 3/4 meter to emulate the Viennese waltz.
The heart of the project is its sonic awareness—pulling from W.H. Auden, August Kleinzahler, and other musically-oriented poets. Outside the ‘Short Talks’ section, the poems’ sonic and phonetic qualities are integral to their style and meaning. At times this may be subtle, or even indiscernible, but overall, careful attention is paid to the sound and rhythm of the poems. The manuscript should be considered in both musical and literary terms.
Rainer Maria Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegies’ and advice in ‘Letters to a Young Poet’ are instrumental in creating these poems. As a ‘first statement,’ many poems battle with the insecurities of a young poet and exemplify the grapple of an aspiring creative. The poems consider antiquated things through contemporary frameworks; relationships, communication, masculinity, and suffering, to name a few. A general incentive of the work is to provide fresh perspectives on historical art and to import its most apposite sentiments into our current moment.