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This Last Time Will Be The First

Jeff Alessandrelli, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This Last Time Will Be The First explores the notion of persona, specifically with regards to some of the more influential writers, artists and thinkers of the 20th century—among them Marcel Duchamp, Ezra Pound, Simone de Beauvoir, Gertrude Stein, André Breton and Evel Knievel. Broken down into 4 disparate sections, the manuscript plays up the discrepancy between proclamation and musing, highlighting the fact that, as William Carlos Williams asserted in his collection Spring and All, "When in the condition of imaginative suspense only...writing will have reality" and "Work which bridges the gap between the rigidities of vulgar experience and the imagination is rare;" it is the writer or artist's imaginative processes that invent his/her reality, and to maintain otherwise is to discredit both the "real" and the "imaginative." This persona-based preoccupation of mine is one that initially began with my collection Erik Satie Watusies His Way Into Sound (Ravenna Press, 2011) a book that was wholly informed by my obsession with the twentieth century French avant-garde composer Erik Satie, the inventor of ambient music. The poetry in Erik Satie Watusies His Way Into Sound attempted to encompass Erik Satie's non-fictional, historical, "reality" based life while nevertheless also making him a poetic character, one that was " a deserted island/ hoping to one day grow up/ to be a timeshare." Many of the persona poems in This Last Time Will Be The First thus operate in a similar manner. The nature of consciousness and identity is also one of This Last Time Will Be The First's primary concerns. The collection's third section, "It Is Especially Dangerous To Be Conscious Of Oneself," was inspired by my reading of the Taoist classic The Book of Lieh- tz'u. In it the postulation is made that "thinking does harm instead of good." The work in the "It Is Especially Dangerous To Be Conscious Of Oneself" section of This Last Time Will Be The First thus accepts and refutes such an assertion, poetically debating all the possible thought, identity and consciousness-based ramifications of it.

Subject Area

American literature|Aesthetics|Creative writing

Recommended Citation

Alessandrelli, Jeff, "This Last Time Will Be The First" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3546994.