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Gnoticism and the Body

The second full-length volume from Jenks expands on the blistering lyrics of On the Cave You Live In (Flood Editions), by moving further into equal mixtures of social critique and sonic pattern. 


Philip Jenks grew up in West Virginia. He completed a Master’s degree in creative writing at Boston University, and his ongoing engagement with Appalachian culture and politics led him to the University of Kentucky, where he worked at the Appalachian Center. In 2002, Jenks received his doctorate in Political Science. He currently is an assistant professor at Portland State University.


Adventures in Poetry began publishing in 1968 as a mimeographed “little magazine,” and continued through 1976 with individual pamphlets, featuring work by Ted Berrigan, William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer, Frank O’Hara, James Schuyler, John Ashbery, Anne Waldman, and many others. After a long hiatus, it began publishing books by established and new innovative writers that are available exclusively through Zephyr Press.

My First Painting Will Be "The Accuser," by Philip Jenks

  • My First Painting Will Be "The Accuser"
    Philip Jenks
    ISBN 0-9761612-0-6 (paper) 
    5¼ x 8
    60 pages

  • Visual cue in the title notwithstanding, Jenks’s new collection is utterly aural. As he writes in his “poem for U. S. Maple”: “jesus said look no further / it’s all in the hearing.” The rhymes and razor-sharp scaffolding of sound that vertically hold each page together do not, however, make for a page-bound poetry. These poems, baffled by boundaries—sea/land, inside the mind/outside the body—are “voiced” in the Joycean sense, muttered in prayer, proclaimed in anger, recording the experience of “being” at sea: “He falls apart / off his bones in the aisle and is a wander / plus a satyr hs vicious logos…” Through ample use of the prefix “hy” Jenks removes both the “his” and “story” from history and leaves us in animal sensation: “hyster,” or womb, the ultimate threshold between land and sea. And thus we have: hydra, hysterated, hysterectomy. This beautiful hermetic work is guided by an exacting craftsman possessed of an ethical mind.
    —Jennifer Moxley 


    Inspired speech recording its own fall into dead letter, the poems of Philip Jenks are strange, original, terrifying. A stuttered apocalypse, they affirm our fellowship with all matter while suffering divinity’s perpetual departure from our midst.
    —Benjamin Friedlander

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