William Olsen's TechnoRage is a meditative ode to nature. Its intensely lyrical poems remind us of our humanity, spinning free-ranging poetic conversations that question the ways of the world. In the age of the wide but often shallow lens of our new technology, Olsen takes a nod from Robert Frost and Gary Snyder, laying bare our need to return to the roots of things, where these poems find their voice. Olsen revels in language that is an intensely authentic rumination on our human isolation.
WILLIAM OLSEN is the author of five previous poetry collections, four of them published by Northwestern University Press: Sand Theory (2011), Avenue of Vanishing (2007), Trouble Lights (2002), and Vision of a Storm Cloud (1996). Olsen teaches at Western Michigan University and Vermont College. He lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
"From his home in Kalamazoo, the state of Michigan’s endless shorelines, hardwood expanses, and predator-filled cedar swamps surely beckon William Olsen to pack a kit and seek out a pleasant peninsula. His comfort and happiness afield is easily surmised by the range of these homages to nature." —Foreword Reviews
"The poems in William Olsen's TechnoRage are both intensely meditative and linguistically playful. They take the natural world as their subject, but when their speakers look at nature they are reminded of human artifice, particularly language."—George David Clark, author of Reveille: Poems
"I don't know what to say about TechnoRage except that it's wholly original and truly brilliant—original in vision, brilliant in execution. If William Olsen's apparent impulse is to interrogate our current hyper-culture, his real gift is to celebrate the oldest of our values: which is to make human again the ghost in the machine." —Stanley Plumly
"What if Whitman, that American walker and lover of nature, had gone in instead of out? What if the candor of one’s own mind speaking to itself was as provocative as the postmodern need to be seen? William Olsen has a truth to tell: the dark energies in us laid bare in solitude, from anger to resentment to pain to pain’s pal, fortitude, help us survive. His poems argue that our very refusal to be consoled defends us against the world’s lies. It’s a Quaker wisdom with American teeth: to take back your country, take back your interior. The music of TechnoRage cuts a guttural brutality with an expansive idiom that doesn’t neglect any of our changing Englishes, shifting the line into melody with abrupt gravity. Its precursors are Frost, Thoreau, Jeffers, Jon Anderson, James Wright—those heartbreaking, heartbroken men who laid down their various legacies of brutality to take up poetry. A good man is hard to find, says Flannery O’Connor, but I guarantee you there’s one here she’d see fit to honor. This book guards our best selves with tenacity and wisdom." —Katie Peterson, author of The Accounts
“William Olsen’s TechnoRage is marked by a strong eye and electric transits of music across his lines. There is something of Whitman’s solemn loafing and brilliance here, and these poems are the whole truth flashing against the horizon. What a great book!” —Norman Dubie, author of The Quotations of Bone