Thursday, July 06, 2006


A review of Mercury, the Dime has been published on the Nthposition website. The piece is by Irish poet and critic Kevin Higgins, and is really quite good. Higgins can be a tough audience, so I thought it was especially worth reading (it doesn’t come without one or two minor criticisms). Stand-out lines:

“It is a poem which succeeds precisely because of its relentlessness”

and the part at the end about “the expansive experimentalism of Michael S. Begnal’s work....” Read the whole thing.

While on the subject, Mercury was also recently reviewed by Keith Gaustad in the latest issue of Furrow, which is published out of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. As this magazine is print-only, and the review runs to about 850 words, here are a few pertinent segments:

“Time is not being fair to Mike Begnal. He has been able to publish poems, but has often had to wait to do so. But he hasn’t wasted that time....Now with the release of Mercury, the Dime he has managed to exorcise a few demons, through poetry, on behalf of the country it would seem.”

“The difficulty in writing a long poem is sustaining the idea without straying into an unrelated rant off-topic, and given Begnal is starting with Native Americans the first worry is whether he is setting himself up for a political tirade, or worse yet a white-guilt trip. That doesn’t happen.”

“Begnal, of course, knows that time is not always kind but things come around occasionally and then the wind is with you and all is warm and green again. If you get a chance, read this poem.”

Incidentally, some excerpts of Mercury can be found in the archives of The Fifteen Project, but I agree that reading them in isolation might perhaps be doing the thing an injustice, as Higgins suggested....

1 comment:

Liammac said...

Mercury , the Dime is a daring example of metapoetry.It's a Hamletian muse by a lord of languge.Languages , I mean.