The Mauberley Series
The Mauberley Series takes some cue from such works as Kit Robinson's Dolch Stanzas by constraining itself to the use of a closed vocabulary while engaging in a highly philosophical and formal play that examines the lyric interior of this seemingly arbitrary set. But Kunin's The Mauberley Sequence uses the words that were transmitted to the poet through his irrepressible hand as it beat out phrases on a table involuntarily. Like many of Kunin's poems, this one describes a spiritual universe that is on the verge of being subsumed by the ironizing force of mundane psychology; the words "Jesus" and "moron," "rats" and "pleasure" are in constant motion in this recombination machine. Additionally, the sequence is exquisitely mapped on Ezra Pound's 1920 "farewell to London," Hugh Selwyn Mauberley, a virtual encyclopedia of meters by the then-young poet. Kunin's response, from within the space of his limned but discomforting vocabulary, echoes Pound's line-by-line, in a play of logopoeia—the "dance of the intellect" upon the words—that is stunning and absorbing.