The Elsewhere is a new book with a long history. In a new arrangement of three books of poetry, a verse memoir, a poetic prose memoir, and essay collections on poetics, as well as new poems, The Elsewhere re-scores a life alert to the workings of line and sentence upon eye, heart, breath, and the world.
The Elsewhere is Available Now
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About The Elsewhere
The Elsewhere starts around the block and zigzags the globe, through WWII V-Mail and 9/11 hoops games, tracking murders in Queens, West Cork, and the Belgian Congo, dervishing through time all the way back to Homer’s discovery of the Alphabet. Brady’s sojourns are, in Maxine Kumin’s words, “Wildly inventive, highly serious and richly comic.”
“Philip Brady writes like no one else,” says Bruce Smith. “He believes equally in the Muse and in the mammal brain, the utterance and the sign, poetry and its undoing.”
“I don’t know anyone,” writes H. L. Hix, “with Philip Brady’s profound sense of his work’s embeddedness in history, its origins in the body, its realization of community.”
“Rocking between syllable and chant, Brady,” says Eamon Grennan, “always writes with speed and verve.” At the same time The Elsewhere hearkens to an oral tradition, “when lines were conceived and spoken in one breath.”
Yet, for all its sublunary gravity, The Elsewhere registers a dimension physicists call “a region of spacetime outside the light cone,” where, as Brady has it, “eternity brightens the rim of each instant.”
Praise for The Elsewhere
“Philip Brady’s The Elsewhere: Poems & Poetics is a collection aimed at eternity. Brady’s new and selected provides an unabashedly bardic synthesis of the smoking girders and brickwork that make a life in poetry. Ranging from Queens to West Cork, from Youngstown to Lagos, The Elsewhere negotiates the landscape between recollection and release, between art and life, between impulse and sudden song: “I dreamt of holding fast to all I knew. / But memory’s a muscle letting go.” The essays on poetry, and the poetry itself, are Homeric in scope, Yeatsian in intensity, networked in a riot of wine-dark vectors and turning in a phantasmagorical gyre of allusion and erudition that spirals out into an enormous embrace of the music underwriting the everyday. The Elsewhere is everywhere ambitious, but more importantly, its poems and prose dwell in a kind of singing that begins in the forever that is right here.”
—Dante Di Stefano
Selected poem from The Elsewhere
Compose the Simulacrum
Spinning counterclockwise into the womb,
Spirochetes hooking bits of membrane,
Flensing out of nothing density,
Flesh clotting everywhere to I.
Numbing the prime. Naming the blued swoll.
Bloody rags of thingness and damp soul.
Swards engorged from the original
Certify one exile from full null.
Every name ensorcelled in the book—
The Subway Mole, Creedmore, Vedette,
Sir Roger, Aunt Mary, the Murderess,
The Lady Prof, the Selkie, and Fearless,
The signature page aching to be born,
And every line bending to slant rhyme,
Compose the simulacrum of that spin
Figuring in counterclockwise mind
An ouroboros compassing eye and tongue—
Mortal utterance to phantom sign.
In the book, the poem’s neither I nor no one.
Or, what if somehow maybe otherwise?
Drifting through the coreless universe
What if mere seed of earth and firmament
Engenders compound minds and sex organs,
Attuned to diverse rondures?
Innumerate unrecorded whispers
Slur around the counterclockwise spin
Realigning text with mortal time.
Monto, Spake, Moon, Flip, Mame,
Names absent from the book but underscoring
Every instant of six-plus decades ticking
By for you fellow traveler in hours.
A couch nap or coffee break. A browse.
And me? Beneath the orchestrated thrum
I am as you are human and I am
Each verb tiding a new is, and yet,
The tide’s less real than any graven s.
The way I know I’m flesh is being word.
Between antinomies spins the clockwise world:
Time lived and reconceived as told.
They squiggle like an asymptotic sign.
A third’s new scribed. It reckons
Its own time. Its aegis is complex
Prosody and Latinate-Hochdeutsch-Greek-
And non-linear structure and cryptic tropes
Never conversed and unsuccessfully sung
And only painfully apprehended.
Myriad exegeses have incited
Holy wars and scholarly knife fights
And endless interpolations and edits.
This unsynced time’s divorced from
(But dying to return to) the source
Within language, now outsourced.
Time, counterclockwise time distorts.
It immerses and divides maker and text,
But of the matter in the bound codex,
Ineluctable between hand and eye,
Indefatigable reader, I,
The original composer, recall
Nothing. Nada. Sweet fuckall.
The butcher paper and the rolltop desk,
The Royal typewriter and Sinsemilla smoke,
The calico cat in Berkeley and geckos
In Lubumbashi and the mice in Schull,
These, I stipulate. Doodles and porn,
White-Out and chalk dust and the aqua screen
And thirty blankety years in Youngstown—
Inquisitor, mea culpa. But these lines?
The kelson of the published book?
Memory’s gone up with the pot smoke.
Maybe unlike Penelope I restitched
A different scheme each night,
And lost the thread over and over again.
Maybe I’m haunted by the orphans
Disappeared in the linguistic maze
Spinning blindfold counterclockwise.
Silenced, they utter with my mouth,
As if conceived and spoken in one breath.