“Tim Van Dyke is a rhapsodist of exquisite metaphysical agonies. Line by line he draws ghostly landscapes where children are terrorized by drug lords and their hit-men, yet somehow, it’s beautiful. After all, who is not, ultimately, a hit-man, an assassin, a body, which is to say, someone always headed towards death? Memoir of My Assassin’s Body is a hymnal of powerfully imagined and deeply moving prayers, in a world too perverse for any church, where embodiment is both doom and ecstasy. These poems are jolts of dismay and weird wonder. And they are a profound accomplishment.”
—Joseph Donahue, author of
“a vision of love anointed with terror”— This line from Tim VanDyke’s Memoir of My Assassin’s Body might best describe the content of this deep, complex, visually rich volume. It serves as an instrument of reconciliation between past and present. Nothing is withheld, neither darkness nor light. The sources, personal history and how it alters one’s sense of being in the world throughout an entire lifetime, are brought to the fore in high relief. The result— poems that ask hard questions of our assumptions and demand that we as readers take the journey with the same level of integrity the poet demands of himself. This is poetry of struggle towards a greater illumination that only a mature artist can achieve. It is a dark and splendid achievement.”
“How many heretical, visionary anchorites proffering Rabelaisian excess, elegant lyrical screeds, and metaphysical explorations that feel both feral and touched with wonder inhabit the contemporary poetry landscape? I can think of only one. He lives at the far western edge of Arkansas. His poems live at the edges of perception and being. Does he labor as a docent at The Museum of Disquieting Beauty in a forgotten neighborhood of the 10th Circle of Hell? Possibly. Gorgeous sound work drives the torrential force of this book, which relentlessly dissects the trauma of personal and political nightmare. Memoir of My Assassin’s Body demonstrates again that Tim Van Dyke’s brilliant, wild ass poetry warrants far more engagement, appreciation, praise, dispersal, and readerly awe than it currently receives.”
—Tim Earley, author of Linthead Stomp
Tim VanDyke has previously published Topographies Drawn with a Divine Chain of Birds (Lavender Ink/ Dialogos, 2011), Fugue Engine (Cannibal Books 2012), Light on the Lion’s Face: A Reading of Baudrillard’s Seduction (Argotist 2012), and Farallones (Garden Door Press, 2018). His most recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Action Fokus, The Brooklyn Rail, Typo, and Charm Poetics.
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