Catalogue of Burnt Text


Catalogue of Burnt Text is a full-length book of poems.

A poetry of genuine ambition reaches as far into the past as it does into the future, creates its forward motion by radicalizing its relation to tradition. What is “the news” remains always in the present tense. This wisdom, in part, drives Timothy David Orme's work—drives it, pushes it, but does not fully explain it. The world is the news, so are the flowers, and so are the birds. How we gain word of these facts, these facts in which we exist, these facts we share with the poet, is by a language fraught with undoing that which it would express. Here is Romanticism's doubled-edge, held always against the throat of the singer. In these poems—in which the candle enjoys its own burning, in which the nightingale sings to expand its voice—there is innocence without naiveté. The singer is one who sings. Orme knows this: he is a singer. That singing, it is a celebration, yes—but it is a celebration rebounding into consequence. Each syllable offers us its ethic inside of the song.

—Dan Beachy-Quick



“Feelings in motion release them selves,” says one speaker in Timothy David Orme's Catalogue of Burnt Text . Recall that “emotion” has its conceptual origin in the literal upheavals of passionate physiology and you begin to grasp the power and sophistication of the motions coursing through Orme's catalogue. The feelings released here by chance (fire) and by scholarly seeking cleave to the reader, drag the reader to new intensities.

—Aaron McCollough




In the Catalogue of Burnt Text is a poet's coming-of-age story, a record of his dialogue with an ancient master, and a display of his awakening to the poet's task of engaging world with word. “Why this feigned talk of movement when one is certainly standing still,” asks Timothy David Orme's speaker, a man by turns skeptical of and captivated by the writer's art. Enacting the young poet's necessary wrassling with tradition and precedent, Catalogue of Burnt Text is an unusually strong lyrical and thoughtful first book.

—Janet Holmes

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