cover of book

The Darkness of the Present: Poetics, Anachronism, and the Anomaly
by Steve McCaffery
University of Alabama Press, 2012
eISBN: 978-0-8173-8642-9 | Paper: 978-0-8173-5733-7
Library of Congress Classification PN1042.M37 2012
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.1

The Darkness of the Present includes essays that collectivelyinvestigate the roles of anomaly and anachronism as they work to unsettle commonplace notions of the “contemporary” in the field of poetics.
In the eleven essays of The Darkness of the Present, poet and critic Steve McCaffery argues that by approaching the past and the present as unified entities, the contemporary is made historical at the same time as the historical is made contemporary.
McCaffery’s writings work against the urge to classify works by placing them in standard literary periods or disciplinary partitions. Instead, McCaffery offers a variety of insights into unusual and ingenious affiliations between poetic works that may have previously seemed distinctive. He questions the usual associations of originality and precedence. In the process, he repositions many texts within genealogies separate from the ones to which they are traditionally assigned.
The chapters in The Darkness of the Present might seem to present an eclectic façade and can certainly be read independently. They are linked, however, by a common preoccupation reflected in the title of the book: the anomaly and the anachronism and the way their empirical emergence works to unsettle a steady notion of the “contemporary” or “new.”

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