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The themes of Standing Wave will be familiar to readers of Robert Allen's acclaimed poetry and novels: the slow rusts and wild incandescences of memory; the myths and delusions sustaining our lives; the uneasy duo of body and mind. In this book, he brings two different lenses to bear on these ideas: a wry, conversational formality in "Sonnets from Jimmie Walker Swamp", and the long and complex syntaxes of the final section of his ongoing long poem, "The Encantadas". Put together, these two sequences are the black and white photographs and the colour film of the same restless dream. More than any of Robert Allen's other books, Standing Wave illustrates, through this two-fold structure, the range of language and cadences still possible in contemporary poetry.
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