||AN ESSAY IN ASTERISKS
by Jena Osman
"An Essay in Asterisks by Jena Osman is a multi-part book analysis regarding the intersection of public language and private perception. In that elusive space Osman eclipses the expected with the expected and poetics with poetry. She explores social issues such as sense and memory, perception and truth with poetic skills that astonish at every page. Using fonts and images to illuminate the manuscript, Osman Essay is a tour de force of magnitude and seriousness. Jena Osman's writing takes language as the ultimate double-agent, in which official and personal allegiances collide into and reimagine censorship, memory, translation and rhetoric. An Essay in Asterisks generously offers a sustained and often comic view of how uncannily public discourse shimmers with private meanings."
- Thalia Field
"Unimaginable is a word I think of a lot when reading Jena Osman’s poetry. Rather like the optical illusion of the face/vase silhouette, Osman’s work proceeds exactly through this process of making the unimaginable obvious, forcing us to rethink the entire project of the poem—and our lives—from the ground up. Osman does this with such a completeness of vision that there is almost no page in An Essay in Asterisks that does not illuminate every other page. This book is wonderful to read once & even better when read a second time. "
- Ron Silliman
"An Essay in Asterisks is at once greatly humorous, complex and lucid. Osman explores a poetics of memory and urgent questions of perception and truth, again demonstrating her astonishing formal range. In its poethical play, this book is an act of courage and a joy to read!"
- Joan Retallack
Publication date: March 2004