Coming through a projection pole into the full tribal assembly of self-savagery, Clayton Eshleman activates in The Jointure a brilliant “I-beam” that illuminates the stack of androcentric figures through which his opus is staked to man’s collective psychic force. Eshleman’s primordial intention in The Jointure is contact with the ancestral realm. Among totems honored are Yorunomado, the daemon of Eshleman’s first breakthrough poem written in Kyoto, and Xochipilli, the Aztec prince of hallucinogenic plants. Painstakingly refined in The Jointure are the precise pivot points through which these perpetrators of soul must come and go in order to realize the fate, form, and integrity of a lifetime given to the imagination. With each refinement, Eshleman’s status as the quintessential poet of visionary germination becomes more and more certain. Marking the clearest distillation of this poetic fact to date, The Jointure reveals Eshleman at the peak of his generative powers.
“What does it mean to see with the eyes of the soul?” In The Jointure, Clayton Eshleman offers an answer to this question in language of visionary symbolic consciousness. Intimate and expansive, psychological and anthropological data germinates this fecundating exploration and extrapolation of inner wilderness and the essence of imagination. Paleolithic, Bronze Age, Maya, Aztec, and Asmat myths and images compact Xochipilli and Coatlicue with Bud Powell, Gilgamesh, and concrete memories of an Indianapolis upbringing and an American life. In The Jointure, “memory is fracture” – the depths of horror enshroud the horror of depths – but imagination is revealed as the “keelson of paradise.” Transcultural, transhistorical and contemporary, personal and political, this is a poetry of encounter and recognition unlike any other being written by an American today. As inclusive as this writing is, it is also absolutely singular.