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A Very Large Array

A Very Large Array

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Jena Osman

A Very Large Array is an extensive collection of poet Jena Osman’s acclaimed work. Spanning more than thirty years, it gathers poems from her published books, as well as from journals and chapbooks long out of print. Osman’s writing is relentlessly inventive, devising countless new formats that combine elements of the poem and the experimental essay. From her deep excavations of documentary materials, including maps from nineteenth-century New York and psy-ops leaflets dropped on Afghanistan after 9/11, her poems trace overlooked visual and linguistic incidents across centuries of American history. For Osman, vision and language are closely linked: both are anatomical, cognitive, and cultural processes – processes that are enlisted, as she repeatedly demonstrates, to exploit and entrench power. When she feeds streams of “official” language – from Supreme Court opinions to the procedural chatter of Predator drone pilots – through the filter of her poetic investigations, the verbal churn that issues forth is as chilling as it is comic.

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