This book brings Drafts, the long poem by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, to its mid-point. A polyphonic work, both monumental and provisional, Drafts asks how to represent our sense of direness and ethical crises, the awe, asonishment, skepticism and pleasure: that all this is. This installment of nineteen Drafts is dedicated to its own poetic and political communities, offering these dedications as pledges to transformation out of social rage and out of grief-inflected hope. The book also contains a witty summary of all fifty-seven Drafts to date. This book makes clear the ways DuPlessis' long poem is a midrashic response to the long poems of modernism and the tolls of modernity. She is a poet of polysemy, of negativity, of critique. Of Drafts, Walter Kaladjian remarked, DuPlessis' avant-garde procedures are imbricated in an ethicopolitical mode of poetic testimony. Nathaniel Mackey said that Drafts affirm and negate the toll history takes on letter and spirit, affirming and negating and navigating a way between.
Rachel Blau DuPlessis is an American poet-critic, whose on-going long poem project, begun in 1986, is collected here in Torques: Drafts 58-76, as well as in Drafts 1-38, Toll (Wesleyan U.P., 2001) and Drafts 39-57, Pledge, with Draft unnnumbered: Precis (Salt Publishing, 2004). DuPlessis was awarded a residency at Bellagio in 2007; she was the recipient of a Pew Fellowship for Artists and of the Roy Harvey Pearce/ Archive for New Poetry Prize, both in 2002.