the false sun recordings
At a time of extraordinary displacement and global confusion, these insistently sane poems manage a remarkable interaction of viable realities, of multiple twists, turns and provisions of language's singular instrument, syntax, and the words which it puts in order. Each turn here is a possibility, an endlessly refracting multiplicity of instances. Each word takes its own step, as it must, toward recognition.
This is a book of tight, compressed poems with a big heart behind them. There are "auralgraph" poems written in homage to Vallejo, Celan and Reverdy. There are love poems to a beloved. There are poems written to contemporary poets and friends and musicians. There is a devotion in this book to the work of others, an exploration of the varieties of community made through our encounters with the poetry and music of others. the false sun recordings is distinctive, luminous, full of faith in art's transformative powers.
James Wagner is a practitioner of compactness. His poems are all exceptionally dense, in the tradition of Clark Coolidge’s word-by-word mode of literary abstraction. Yet Wagner’s poetry is a far cry from Coolidge’s—it’s more worked, more determined by possibilities of image than sound, though with an ear that is genuinely gifted. There are an exceptional number of solid pieces in the false sun recordings, lots of crunchy delights for eye, ear, and mind. It may, in places, be more lush or more tightly torqued than anything you’ve read before.
the false sun recordings launches the reader into a world appealingly surreal and sharp. Its telegraphic narratives, playful pace, and delightful explosions of sound show that James Wagner knows his stuff.
James Wagner turns the dial for traces of human language; what's picked up is feedback from strange regions—reverb bounced back on broken solar rays. It turns out that "value is an estimate of some-/Thing un," and there is no such thing as a mirror, except the funhouse kind, i.e., language, culture, nature, history, distortion.