Praise for Insofar as Heretofore
From the first poem in this wonderful book, you’ll be able to tell that Aaron Anstett means to break your heart, with his tender lingering over sensual fragments and small daily absurd atrocities. His heart has already been broken, so it sends out embassies of empathy and wit to all the other would-be escapees whose plans were dashed. Also, you should know that his syntax is delicious, self-generating, and self-subsisting, the love-child of John Donne and Gertrude Stein. Like Donne, he worries his topics until he has wrung from them every drop of a liquor which both does and does not console. Like Stein, Anstett is the composer (in the musical sense) of an almost-story that is absolutely true.
—Patrick Donnelly, author of Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin
Culture’s cloud chamber and its millions of random vectors drive Aaron Anstett’s Insofar as Heretofore. “Whatever scintillants” he calls them in “One Theory,” an exclamation that’s half-prayer and half come-and-get-me bravado. The poems catch our socio-linguistic lightning flashes, at times fusing the erotic and the spiritual. In “All At Once,” contingency’s harsh glare updates Wittgenstein: “The world is all that just decays.” And just in case I didn’t mention it, this book is original and beautiful.
—Michael Heller, author of This Constellation Is a Name: Collected Poems 1965–2010
In the poem “Duration,” Aaron Anstett describes how long a fervent belief in a song can last. I find my fervency enduring well beyond the turning of the page, the closing of the book. For at work here is a true original, a poet you should know and read and read again. While his careful eye seeks Rilke’s angels in the unlikeliest of places—a dreambook in a Laundromat, for one—Anstett’s particular genius rises from his faith in the words, from within the ear, his reliquary of questions and delights. He is one of my favorite poets, and, I might add, among the best writing in English today.
—David Keplinger, author of The Most Natural Thing
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