Finalist for the 2003 National Poetry Series
Euclid Shudders opens with this line from Gertrude Stein: “What is the difference / between arithmetic and a noun.” This is something that Tardi examines relentlessly and with a calculated efficiency. A “squirrel is a swan,” a “cough is a couch,” meaning is being defined and redefined. Objects and concepts take their place and then dance around the edge of our perception in Tardi’s phenomenological verse.
Praise for Euclid Shudders
In Mark Tardi’s first collection of poetry, Euclid Shudders, there is a distinct vibration between objects and their words, as though each relation were poised on the precipice of its inverse: the pause before the cataclysm. In this weighted space, potential sounds hover as a last breath between inspiration, expiration, and the anticipation of nothing: “on a bridge / emptied with inertia // so close // canopic jars torn / beneath.”
— E. Tracy Grinnell
Mark Tardi’s poetry gives language back to that inanimate mass from which it, and we, originated. Every utterance is an act of configuration and every scribble traces a fleeting delineation between states of being and non-being. Tardi’s poems exhale from the apparently insensate and resign the animate to perpetual motion. In this universe of receding matter and pulsing energy, Mark Tardi sets out to locate those “unpronounced angles” which make up the invisible but inextricable geometry of our lives.
— Craig Watson
Euclid might well shudder at how far the line has come. In his wonderfully unruly first book, Mark Tardi composes an isotopic realm of getting and letting go, a kind of chemical algebra of the alleged world as it verges into music.
— Elizabeth Willis