t thilleman

Poetry          Prose          Pastels         Longpoem          Collaboration

thilleman’s poems are playful and intellectual—a mirror of all the synapses, misfirings and disconnects that take place during the process of juggling two or three or more thoughts in the air at one time. It would be easy to say he is simply the latest offspring of a modernist/post-modernist tradition that began with Stein and Pound and continued up through Olson and Duncan, a tradition that encouraged getting lost as the way to discovering the hidden meaning of anything but Thilleman’s modus operandi is impossible to pin down, a surviving force amid the endless detritus and debris of the past who happens to be alive at this peculiar all-or-nothing moment.

   Lewis Warsh

I picked up Improviso yesterday and could not put it down. What a marvelous feat! Fantastic the way thilleman excised, isolated images & impressions that link together with virtually no syntax whatsoever yet manage to create a compelling narrative. It has that same kind of forward-spinning propulsion Thomas Wolfe and Kerouac were so good at. When I finally put it down I felt like I had just come out of a movie theater after a very gripping, moving film. Totally captivating. It’s about so many things: New York and art and writing and music and creativity and “coming of age” and, last but not least, it’s a love story with a somewhat tragic spin.

    Mark Terrill

Conjures the cabaret techniques of Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire in order to ballast the first of his own three compositions. With the second composition, Yeats’s fascination with Titian’s last painting, “The Flaying of Marsyas,” a signal moment we have come to term “the renaissance,” is mirrored through various page-based choreographies. In the third and final composition, the great jazz saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s circular breathing technique integrates the idea of the poem as instrument...

The immensity, breadth and dexterity of three markations is not to be missed. If you can handle the over 600 pages, you will have climbed a mountaintop overlooking the maelstrom of the 21st century. Herein lies a network of thought branching out, congealing, exploding, suspended in time like a large photograph.

     Evan Reynolds, American Book Review


I admire here the synthesis of diverse materials... through  discontinuities and enravelings, tonal patterns of melody, cascading refrains of deep time. It's beautiful, haunting stuff...

       Andrew Mossin

the instant "overcoming" of the futures is important. as if time can truly melt into non-distinct presence (no binaries, no lines, no structures) and be a kind of holding (lover) when this certain contemplative tone is held over a long period.

   j/j hastain

Once again, Thilleman takes into his own writing body the chaos of the great question at its fundamental arc: who are we?—a quest that can only be pursued initially in language. He finds that language born in the mysteries of the primal urgency of our need—not so much to speak—as to think. Then, he establishes, Blake-like—a language not grammatical or ordinary, not a language merely of thinking, but a primal language rooted in the poetic of his own body, and thus this universal body we all share with this earth. Every age demands its own mythos. Thilleman creates a thoroughly contemporary mythology of consciousness which names the unnameables so that they might carry us from “Descent” all the way through chaos upon chaos, morass and vision to “what is to be known now.”

        Martin Nakell

The ground is moving beneath your feet, and the precipice is just a step away. Proceed with caution, as if you were entering a falling rock zone or the path of a twister, a world within a world. Unfiltered, implosive, heartbreaking, Thilleman’s Aura Lifetime is the ultimate blueprint for the day after tomorrow, the book to read while the city sleeps.

   Lewis Warsh


... thilleman toys with the ratio of thought and sensation, tweaking our ration page by page to make sure the whole creative process (the branching of our entire neural net) is engaged in incubation, illumination, and verification. This book activates what scientists Menon and Bressler call “dynamic interactions of distributed brain areas operating in large-scale networks."

   Lori Anderson Moseman

Puck. Follow my voice: we'll try no manhood here.

Just as Duncan follows "the soul's journey in an evolution from the shell fish ... to the woman with her child, her Christ-child" in The H.D. Book, so too does Thilleman discover a "morphological" way to link the image of Jellyfish with "a continuity of spirit in the universe." Here, "in the mirror of the water," Thilleman feels "the anatomies of these creatures real or imagined, phantastical or dumb and brutish ... are providing sustenance for the broke and starving human."

   Kenneth Warren

In Snailhorn (fragments) thilleman presents a speaker seeing themselves in pieces, the fragments of an archeology of humanity, in shapes defined by history, shuffled by spirits. We are both matter and mother to matter, dust and mud, spliced shells filled with water, overflowing. Telling the epic of humanity in what is left behind in the trail of history ...

   Toad Suck Review

Thilleman has a music all his own, sometimes lyrical, sometimes dissonant; pretty consistently surprising. I'll admit "root-cellar" always sets me thinking of WCW's "cat" poem – you know, the one with the jam-closet & so forth. But Root-Cellar is very un-Williamsesque: more an assertion – nay, a demonstration – that ruminative, considerative poetry is still possible. You've got to admire Thilleman's ability to leap from the jars in the cellar to the meaning of life; and it doesn't at all hurt that the poem to my ear's shot through with echoes of Briggflatts.

   Mark Scroggins

... suspension of linguistic meaning that verges toward music, a mid magnetic between meaning and resonance that touches on both only to veer off, return, whirl to a stop and begin again ... there is a liberating aspect to hearing or reading a poem that eludes signification only to capture it soon enough ... with echoes or Samuel Greenberg and Hart Crane ...

    Allan Graubard

No single note can contain or describe this work, nor is there a quiet sameness which will lull one beyond question. Instead there is a composed concentration in the center of calamitous movement—movement which embodies inquiry, which listens as a means of locomotion, transferring setting to sound, venturing out along many circumstances.

   Laynie Browne

The waverings, flurries, gaps and gusts of phrases, by turns recondite and plain, harsh and eloquent, compose a deeply credible kind of spiritual music, appropriately broken, but alive with despair and exaltation. Thilleman pushes composition to the brink of what is, and words are still there, and the promise of things hidden ...

     Joseph Donahue

"HI!  /   I'm Orpheus ..."

Reminiscent of dream theory which instantiates a fragment of selfness in each dream-element, or of the other theory which has the most recent waking electromagnetic brain stimulation locate the dream-content literally by tissue-territory ... Thilleman’s disarming rhetorical theatrics, a hilarity of anxiety ... are moved along by a rhythm-as-ideation/emanation mode which formally links the non-lyric philosophical Elizabethan / Jacobean argument poem with the ultra-contemporary “personal documentary” film essay.

   Norma Cole

In The Corybantes he continues with a longer and more definitive book using longer stanzas if one uses that word anymore. I don't and he doesn't either. Please read him yourself. You will find "are you reading my mind," "no one honors cultivated silence," "raising his consciousness to the status of Being." Do not be left behind.

   Hannah Weiner

One important realization Sonic Model urges is that sound itself is the fundament of our lives. The roar through a subway wind tunnel is not unlike the roar of the beach.  To be alive everywhere is a commitment implied in all his work.

      Burt Kimmelman

Thilleman began to attract attention with his sequence collection Wave-Run and has continued to mine secrets and depths inherent in language, but often ignored. The magic of words—that they have lives of their own beyond their obvious power to communicate information .... Between continues that process, informed by his conductus, the Daemon. It is a great privilege to have been allowed to follow the quest.

     Theodore Enslin

Zukofsky tells us that those without greek can still pick up the sound of the sea—and know that it is the sea—from hearing Homer’s language. Those who sound the language of Thilleman’s Wave-Run may at first feel submerged in a foreign language only to arrive at a later—and deeper, more alive—realization of English and of a different sea. “Cupped, cupped coiling wave contains/somewhere line’s form’s language.” The same is true vice versa.

     John Taggart

Wave-Run roars up the beach with all of modernity and its detritus glistening on the crest. Thilleman’s craft, the drive and punning images of his language, movingly replay in contemporary terms the old myth of Ocean and our fascinated love of it.

     Michael Heller


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