Let me say quite simply that Gregory Mahrer is the most dazzling poetic cartographer since Italo Calvino and Raymond Roussel, and Mahrer’s exquisite explorations of the imagination carry with them the same remarkable riches and glorious thirsts that we find in those great writers. Conceptually brilliant and relentlessly inventive, Greg Mahrer teaches us the many ways every map is made of language, and that geology, geography, and history must all be understood as deeply human psalms. In this astonishing new collection, there is only one direction left to the poet—beyond the page’s horizon.
— David St. John
With high-wire imagination and hybrid language, A Provisional Map of the Lost Continent surveys a world post-catastrophic, elasticized, semi-mythic yet founded in the real. Scribbling clerks, horse carts, and confectioners coincide with glass towers, climate-caused sea rise, and species extinction. In this book, makings and fracturings become part of one gesture. Gregory Mahrer’s continually burning city consumes, it seems, all futures, all lives, and the ember at the center of virtually every sentence is an irreversible, prophetic, and utterly accurate grief.
— Jane Hirshfield
I’m not sure exactly how Greg Mahrer catches “the weak sunlight of old empires” in the prism of this book, but everywhere these poems refract that light into its constituent spectrum: discovery and conquest, migration and homesteading, civilization and ruin, artifacts and absences. These poems somehow capture the exact feel of a consciousness continually hinged between these violent opposites. And somehow their careful, intelligent craftsmanship helps them thrive where they find themselves, “Stranded between/what is occluded and what has elapsed.” Indeed, Mahrer makes music, as only a poet can, out of the sound of time as it turns into history.
—Brian Teare, author of The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven
Gregory Mahrer, who listens carefully to the voices inside him, and does not reject the reports they bring him, full of terrifying and beautiful music, wrote this wise and beautiful book. We would be remiss not to listen to what he has come to tell us.