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I find the Cantos of Ezra Pound wide-ranging in subject & style, & note that they borrow heavily from the work of others, from Homer & Chinese sources through to contemporary historical records. Pound has the ability to blend & merge these — often quite extensive — quotes with his own rhetoric; which has a great deal of depth & beauty, & so becomes great feedstock for basing a series of centos on. The poems in this collection, written over the last six years, have the Cantos as their source — not just the words of Pound but those of those others who are embedded. Two bites of the cherry, as it were; & I hope my CENTONES reflect favorably on us all. — Mark YoungXXXX CENTONES-1
Some readers might assume that particular, highly pessimistic generalizations in Young’s poems are actually Mark Young presenting his sense of doom. The little ditty “democracy” registers the claim that “no-one// knows the/ words to” the “song” (the concept of democracy) even though “every-/ one sings” it, and “since violence is learned” tells us that “tolerance is no/ longer available, is replaced by trauma.” Although nothing in the poems—not even such affirmations of aesthetic transport as “Constant Craving,” which speaks of music “that acts as/ axis to steady everything around”—makes one identify the poet as a bright-eyed optimist, various moments in the work display too much respect for the complexity of cause and effect, limitations of human perception, the transience of trends, and sudden appearances of the unexpected to place sustained credence in large generalizations and foregone conclusions.
from the Introduction by Thomas Fink
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