Madison Morrison's Web / Sentence of the Gods / Sleep


The fundamental battle of epic is not between Greeks and Trojans, who in Homer speak the same language and are indistinguishable, but between representation and allegory (see MM’s “Allegory and the Western Epic,” in Particular and Universal). Troy comes to be not so much a place as a topos. As Vergil in a sense had located Carthage in Troy, so Morrison locates Troy in Istanbul. With Eden it is our original “family scene.” “The Blinding of Homer” delves deeper into the dramatic underpinnings of epic in myth, and ascends to the Attic drama that arises out of Homer. MM’s Sleep is Hypnos but also Thanatos. Both are states rather than places. Accordingly the poems of Sleep must be read allegorically. This first book of Sentence of the Gods prefigures many of the epic’s notable elements: travel, actual and imagined; the contemporary and the antique; the secular and the sacred. Following graduation from Harvard, on his trip from Cambridge to Norman, MM’s juvenilia were stolen along with a VW bus parked on a street in New York City. Starting afresh, he blended the Modernism and Surrealism that he taught for 20 years in Oklahoma into a graceful amalgam that suggests a surrealization of Wallace Stevens (whom he had written his dissertation about), an amalgam of New York and Paris, dreamlike but thoughtful. With “I Was Thinking” he both concludes and begins.

Sleep is white and clean and cool like sheets in Oklahoma. (Ted Berrigan)

The full text of Sleep

Poetry Magazine cover

"10 Fingers" in Romanian
"A Warfilm Is a Peacefilm" in Tamil, Portuguese and Chinese

Frank W. Stevenson, "Dissolution and Flow in SOLUNA"