Hannah and the Master
Coming in September from Ahsahta Press.
Joshua Corey’s fifth full-length poetry collection is a speculative masque on one of the twentieth century’s most notorious love affairs, that between Nazi philosopher Martin Heidegger and his Jewish protégé, the political philosopher Hannah Arendt. Their story takes on a fresh, stark urgency In our own era of resurgent fascism and climate destabilization. Hannah and the Master restages Arendt’s struggle to free herself from Heidegger’s influence in a poetic narrative in which science-fiction replicants of the lovers restage their affair in the twenty-first century’s apocalyptic light. Against the atavistic nihilism of the MASTER, accomplice and instigator to the WAVE of climate instability, HANNAH rises as a figure for political love-of-the-world, who asserts in the face of fascist blindness our responsibility to think and act. Hannah and the Master moves through the mad love of its titular characters and into the state of pariahhood and exile, from which our heroine takes her stand against apocalypse in the time of our Gaiagony—the struggle for a new world to be born out of the ruin we’ve made of the earth.
From city heights the sleeper descends, down the elevator, down the subway stairs, down into bedrock and through, down into the muffled blackness of the earth that imperceptibly at first and then suddenly lightens, whitens into cloud’s furze, sun’s halo, the scored layers of blue sky below which the dimpled hills and valleys of the forest tumble and roll.
HANNAH digs down to him through the scored layers of sky in her dream. Down and down, membrane after membrane, to the cabin roof. She would cut a hole in that roof, a skylight to admit the sky’s qualities, to open the lid of thought in the roof of the cabin on the side of the mountain in the heart of the forest. Light finds the visitor’s registry and blows through the history of names. The MASTER sits at a plain deal table, writing. If he looked up he would see HANNAH floating there like a jellyfish not six inches above his head, motiveless, adopting as her own the subtle movements of the air stirred by the sterile heat of a single bulb. He does not look up. His moving hand and pentip leave a trail to dazzle her retinas, trace a wake. The fox wears no fur. The jellyfish, all skirts, in her inscrutable floating life, rotating, umbilical. Rooted to this cabin, spiracle, a mote in the vast cyanotic eye of the forest. Calling: look up. Vocational. Calling: full stop squatting on top of his head. The MASTER goes on writing. HANNAH’s eyes follow the track of her outstretched arms, down to the earth working in the track of turning treads, filled in behind by corpses, up again to the measuring unsheltered given of being, the home of gods and satellites, our new politics, the steel horizon, the sky.