In Keith Waldrop’s The House Seen From Nowhere, we are invited into a meditational drift that explores the “tense emptiness” of being. The construction of all that surrounds us, the carpentry, wavering between order and the instability of order, is manifest in syntax and etymology. In this house, which is all things—body, fortress, residence, logic, language, mortality—we find mirrors, echoes, and spirits: “the figures light/delineates not/the light itself.” Where we might use Zeno’s Paradox to understand the relation between the knower and the known, it is in Keith’s house that we find the paradox of “empty distinctions,” a tension between asymmetrical opposites. The house exists “not to inclose but / to include // without redemption.”
Praise for The House Seen from Nowhere
Waldrop’s brilliance of wit and device, the serenity of judgement, the articulation of research and reflection… all these delight, and convince anew that poetry is a vast, holistic science, a science of sciences, from which an adept like Waldrop brings results we’ve never heard before.
— Robert Kelly, Rain Taxi
In his 16th collection, dedicated to the Oulipo-associated writer Jacques Roubaud, Waldrop collects seven serial poems, meditations on being and nothingness, in the persona of a philosopher in his twilight years… Waldrop’s lines are as clean as Williams’s, if more Euclidean. And despite his explorations of linguistic logic, it is the things of this world, like a red traffic light, that serve as beacons of faith and joy.
— Publisher’s Weekly