"flings one into a state of complete exultation" — Kevin Killian
Noel Black's <em>Uselysses</em> contains five discrete books of poems written over the last four years. Some of these are poems of experience. Others are night raids or open attacks on the reserves of meaning that, we're almost convinced, derive from properly appreciated experience; meanings we back on faith so we can keep having meaningful experiences in the future. As a radical questioner of such faiths, Black subjects his own skepticism to sufficient pressure to line a mine with prodigal kindness or absolute contempt, depending on the company. Most vital to the reader, his voice is clear throughout, natural, and the poems are fun to read over again. A peerless comic poet, Black's poems have appeared widely, but few of the poems in this book have been published anywhere until now.
Uselysses is Noel Black’s first full-length book of poetry.
To view all of Moby K. Dick in our chapbook archive, click here.
- 04.01.13 | Noel Black's Uselysses is reviewed in Jacket 2
- 1.14.13 | Uselysses by Noel Black is reviewed in hyperallergic
- 1.2.13 | Uselysses by Noel Black is reviewed in Galatea Resurrects
- 09.28.12 | Uselysses by Noel Black reviewed at The Rumpus
- 05.22.12 | Uselysses reviewed at Big Bridge
- 04.02.12 | Levi Rubeck interviews Noel Black for Bomblog
- 02.20.12 | Noel Black's Moby K. Dick discussed at the Poetry Foundation's Harriet blog
News and Reviews
Black declares, in an almost off-handed way, that poetry can’t do anything important. He is demonstrating self-conscious awareness of the limitations of the written word, or catering to some requirement for realism, or accepting the freedom of effort without responsibility.—Josh Cook, The Rumpus
The poet is like Carl Sagan come back to life, unzipping his burnt-orange windbreaker, shooting lasers of love out from the spectral Starfleet logo upon his heart, zapping us all into a rapture of wordless knowledge as God folds our souls into a dream.—Adam DeGraff, Big Bridge
Black is looking poetry in the eye, with the stern gaze of a playful practitioner. I’ve always felt that the art needed more joshing around to contend with, but not necessarily obliterate, the high holiness. Uselysses argues for a wider aperture in poetry’s lens, rejoining poetic competency with the impulse that drew us all to the form to begin with. He makes a compelling, intelligent, crass, hilarious, and engaging case through example.—Levi Rubeck, BOMBLOG
If he had written only the astonishing long poem, 'Prophecies for the Past,' that concludes his book, Noel Black would have a huge heap of laurels to rest on, for it is the sort of reading experience they must have invented poetry for—it flings one into a state of complete exultation. But Uselysses offers more than mere perfection. It is a Rube Goldberg contraption of highs and lows, pains and pleasures, built by a man committed to family and experiment in equal measure. Like Goldberg, Black knows how to disguise the real with the gloss of the zany, and his energy could push this riverboat up the side of a cliff. 'Sometimes I feel genuinely happy,' he writes, and you will too.—Kevin Killian
I love Noel Black's poems. They are fragrant and strong. Also there's the basic thing—he's just got an interesting mind.—Eileen Myles