The Cartographer's Melancholy: Poems

The Cartographer's Melancholy: Poems

by David Axelrod


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Fate, stillness, travel, will, and the deep bruise of individual history as it becomes political history all shape David Axelrod’s classic book, originally published in 2005. In a language extraordinarily lean and fresh, Axelrod shows what it would be like to be truly alive to the nuance of events, structures, and the declarations of those who are in or out of power. This is an unusual and moving book.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780899241609
Publisher: Lynx House Press
Publication date: 03/01/2018
Pages: 68
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Axelrod has published eight collections of poems and a collection of non-fiction, Troubled Intimacies. He teaches at Eastern Oregon University, where he directs the Ars Poetica Lecture Series and edits—along with Jodi Varon—the award-winning basalt: a journal of fine and literary arts.

Table of Contents


Tiled Mosaic 2


Chronicles of the Withering State

A Minor Contemporary (On the Editor of the Chronicles) 8

1 Preludium 1984 9

2 The Consolations of Reverend Malthus 10

3 First Interrogation 11

4 Of the Miraculous 12

5 Beethoven 13

6 November 1989 14

7 From the Anthology of the Last Republic (I) 15

8 Tourism (I) 16

9 The Imperium (I) 17

10 The Imperium (II) 18

11 Tourism (II) 19

12 From the Anthology of the Last Republic (II) (a fragment) 20

13 Of Attack 21

14 The Opposition (I) 22

15 In the Bunker (the Movie) 23

16 The Opposition (II) 24

17 Letter to the Editor 25

18 From the Anthology of the Last Republic (III) (a fragment) 26

19 Romantic Ode 27

20 A Pedagogic Parable 28

21 Whatever Happened to the Old Revolution 29

22 In the New World 30

23 From the Anthology of the Last Republic (IV) (a fragment) 31

Crooked Light (On the Archeological Discoveries from the Last Republic) 32


North 34

Millennial Portrait, December 31, 1999 35

From the Book of Esther 36

David to Bathsheba 38

One-Hundred Spiraling Stairs 40

Cleansing 41

An Offering 42

Fert-Spiel Weise 43

Tekmerion 44


The Cartographers Melancholy 48

Havens 50

Voyeurism 51

Gnosis 52

A Heroic Pose 54

A Flemish Jay 56

Persieds 57

Of Water 58

And the Pursuit of Happiness 59


Indirections 62

What People are Saying About This

Sandra Alcosser

'Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and makeit a soul?' Keats asked in a letter to his family. David Axelrod in The Cartographer’s Melancholy mapsthat pilgrimage. He follows the refugee road with its transcendence, resignation, and dark dramatichistories, and within each poem he makes the important discoveries, the ones that counterpoise suf-fering against the world’s beauty.

Richard Robbins

Like exposures at an archeological dig, 'holy site piled upon / wreckage of holy site,' history presentsus simultaneously with both the miraculous and the annihilated. Many poets would leave us here, definedby our ethical absence, our greatest failures. Instead, Axelrod points us toward the power of individualgesture: of walking in old forest, of giving and receiving, of gathering together. Fearless, his poems enter the dark soul of American Empire and come back speaking the language of light.

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