Several Rotations

BY Jesse Seldess


Not available for purchase.

ISBN: 9780999719886 (2019)

Jesse Seldess’s third full length collection of poetry, Several Rotations plots an experience through a constellation of questions:

How do we locate and orient ourselves amidst a continuous present of inconspicuously networked devices and “services”? With tracked interests reinforced to impulses through millisecond auctions for ad impressions and “sponsored” content, what are our desires and dreams? With products valued as a function of the strength of the habits they create, where are our values and actions?

Written over several years but at the scale of minutes, Several Rotations is “full of the missing words” for the affects of intersecting and overloading dimensions in a technology-paced, data-saturated context. These poems attempt to slow down, interrupt, reweave, and transform that density into an open and livable “interface.”

Donna Stonecipher calls Several Rotations a ‘majestically sad techno-pastoral, a penetrating inquisition into how selfhood is being transformed by all the modes perpetrated by personal technology.  …”Face falling off the edge of the face” is so poignant, why?  …Can poets still be “visionaries” when our faces our monetized?’

Jesse Seldess is the author of Several Rotations (Kenning Editions, 2019), Left Having (Kenning Editions, 2011), Who Opens (Kenning Editions, 2006), and several chapbooks. From 2001 to 2012, he edited and published the international journal of writing, music, and performance Antennae, and from 2003 to 2007, he co-curated the Chicago reading and performance series Discrete Series with Kerri Sonnenberg. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Brian Teare:

Several Rotations offers refrain as a measure of the late capitalist society to whose technology we give our very selves. “I have entered my phone…I have entered my purchases,” Seldess writes, “I have entered my purposes.” Even in poems generated by code, Seldess is never less than lyric, but he seeks song in awkward flow, glitchy flaw, the rhyme that’s not true and more truthful and suggestive for that. The power of this book depends on the duality of purpose and its relation to the duality of purchase: is being’s reason to buy things? is the goal to find one’s footing in the world? what purpose do these poems make of purchase? what purchase do these poems make on purpose? I love the lyric assertion Seldess fashions as an answer, an allusive rebuke of W.C. Williams, and a sharp critique of a capitalism that would reduce the laborer to an object without interiority or agency: “I speak/as a pure product/that can hear.”

Alli Warren:

In his striking new book Several Rotations, Jesse Seldess makes beautiful minimalist music of the linguistic atmosphere of contemporary life. The poems are meditative sites where the reader is invited to slow down and spend some time in a familiar yet radically altered climate. Where one feels simultaneously disoriented and yet totally grounded. I don’t know how he does it. Is this what meditation feels like? It’s like watching someone slowly wring a washcloth—this book is that clear, drinkable, life-sustaining water. Won’t you sit and have a drink? In a present which often appears as not much more than codes, clouds, and deliverables, this book reminds us that the language and detritus of our everyday life are sites of study and song: “I learned my point / I learned the point where I am / I learned the point of standing.”