Author(s): A. J. Carruthers
With AXIS Book 1: 'Areal', the inaugural part of carruthers' long poem project, each 'axis' cuts, layers, folds, and accumulates language in two columns. One side often plays the support role, an 'accompaniment' for the other side. Elsewhere they merge, intersect, cross, or even obliterate each other. Book 1 is the first test of this structure, a laying out of fields, of poetic 'areas.' AXIS begins with questions like these: Can utopia be lived inside the work? Is there a place for the political in the poem? What is the fate of community, of the chorus, of lyric time? Could there be such a thing as poetic geography? Poetic science? What doesn't poetry know about music? The AXIS system is designed to work in the future with three, - and four-columns of text, bringing together discourses of science, pharmacology and contemporary art.
"Big, bold, brainy. An experimental tour de force."- Kate Lilley
"With Axis, a.j. carruthers explicitly aligns himself with the lineage of the long poem. It is a bold move, if we consider that the major exponents of the form, from Ezra Pound to Anne Waldman, had invariably produced significant bodies of work prior to embarking on their poetic marathons. But ambition is fundamental to the long poem, and Axis, comprising thirty-one extended sequences and billed as 'Book the first', certainly outstrips Pound's inaugural efforts - a mere sixteen Cantos issued in 1925 - by a country mile . . . AXIS proves as much a delight for the eye as for the ear." - Australian Book Review
"If he is also engaged in deranging formal play, Carruthers evinces a different kind of aesthetico-ontological program. An axis is -- as the great Chinese Taoists liked to say -- the void about which the wheel turns. This 'wheel' is as cosmic as it is quotidian . . . one further suspects a literally cosmic ambition for his work, which attempts to establish the very axle of existence as the power of absence. Hence, in a post-MallarmEan fashion, many of the numbered (and sometimes unnumbered) 'Axis' poems here are split across a central hinge of the page itself, not to mention the crease between pages, or between words or letters or lines. A 'turn' in poetry can designate a strophe, a turn of a line, a trope or figure, a narrative, a character's fortunes, a shift of tone, and so on -- so Axis takes its task to assemble and expose in all such turns their conditions of possibility, their axes, annexes, appendices, adaptations, antitheses and anaesthesias, their abecedarian and auratic apertures." - Justin Clemens, Southerly