The Rose Window: Selected Poems on Duncan McKnight

by Austin Messick, winner of the 2017 MRBA


"Austin Messick, conducting his fictional poet Duncan McKnight to the realm of the dead, recovers the living source of Orphic imagination, glimmering still in the deepest recesses of the language-cave. Calling Authorship into question, Messick, in the voice of McKnight, admits 'This writing / does not belong / to me.' Instead, the writing reaches down to the roots of poetry as shamanic, self-transcending ritual, as a performance, of what Plato called 'divine madness.' Messick pushes his poet-hero to the point where an unknown, cadence language, at once new and ancient, takes hold of the work, becoming the apotheosis of inspired speech. Messick shows us that to 'sing alone with another's voice' is to discover the oracular nature of poetry itself."

-- Andrew Joron, author of The Absolute Letter


Austin Messick is a writer and educator who earned his MFA in poetry from SFSU in 2016. He was co-curator of the VelRo Reading series during the 2014-2015 season. He also won Transfer Magazine's Mark Linenthal Award for his poem "Kiev" in May 2015. Austin now lives in sunny Southern California. The Rose Window: Selected Poems of Duncan McKnight, winner of the 2017 Michael Rubin Book Award, is his first book.

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