The invention of the zero

by Richard Kenney

Paper Book, 1993





New York : A.A. Knopf, 1993.


"Four lengthy narrative poems make up the heart of the book. Although they range across eons and firmaments, each is anchored in the Pacific Ocean and the Second World War...The Invention of the Zero was compelling enough to inspire me to read it twice aloud. I don't know when I last found a book of contemporary verse so enlivening in this hurtling, hellbent way...[He is] one of the most gifted and multifaceted and original of American poets." Brad Leithauser, The New York Review of Books "A lyric excursion into the way we interweave scientific knowledge and the lore that continues to shape our lives...In this third book he has developed an elaborate structure of intermeshed parts, rigged like gears and flywheels to put new spins on one another and keep the whole mechanism humming...At bottom, The Invention of the Zero is not a collection of gripping yarns, though, but rather a sober consideration of human ingenuity. The issue it raises implicitly is: Does every invention result in destruction?" Phoebe Pettingell, The New Leader "Reinventing poetic discourse is a solitary occupation. One such innovator is Richard Kenney, whose work demonstrates that the way forward may depend as much on a profound look into the past as on one's grasp of the present...The Invention of the Zero is an astonishing book, one that with each reading yields more pleasure." Christopher Merrill, The Los Angeles Times Book Review… (more)


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