Notebook of Last Things by Jon Thompson
Published 25th May 2019
Organized around three sequences of numbered tercets, Notebook of Last Things maps a city undergoing dynamic, transformative change along with the sense of living that change—its rhythms and patterns, its peculiar commitments, its urgencies and pleasures as well as its inequalities, tensions, and fateful “unsaids.” Possessed by the drama of the ephemerality of experience, tuned into the drift of the present, Notebook of Last Things draws on the lyric to meditate on the present, and the powers, acknowledged and unacknowledged, that make it up.
“Notebook of Last Things is written in dialogue with (or in counterpoint to) Walter Benjamin’s Angel of History and his/her/its “unreadable tally of catastrophe.” Thompson has an eagle eye for the rips and fissures destroying our social fabric, for the discrepancies that seem ironic and then reveal themselves as tragic, the “Art Deco walkway over the beltline/[ with a] Chain link fence to discourage jumpers.” In the quality of his attention, he could be a minimalist version of Ron Silliman or a Basho-inflected George Oppen. His steady gaze is well worth following.” —Rae Armantrout