Jerry Estrin has devoted his work to a profound ethical
debate with what we call history, consisting of those public places (and
their times) in which a private person, wandering, most knows his or her
presence -- and absence. In the various and fascinating works collected
here, intellectual motion is itself a position -- or, one might say, a
moral emotion. The result is a beautiful book -- and one whose importance
absolutely must not be ignored.
Jerry Estrin's songs are flat-out, epic, condensed, and still as a sunset
-- songs of bewildering brilliance and decay, they perversely construct
the impression of helplessly over- determined, hard-boiled, common sense
in/of this thus far advanced avalanche called civilization, history collapsing
into an internal present masked as absence: fringe benefit from the producers
to the produced, a gift wrapped in an impermeable transparency. These
poems face it with honesty, clarity of mind and heart, struggle on all
On the one hand, Rome, A Mobile Home is a scathing critique of
the production of culture through the effects of empire and war. And our
Synchronistic Citizen, Estrin, has achieved an exquisite orchestration
of a poetics that takes on the mortally binding and tricky dialogue between
the human and the inhuman, between what we can and what we can't control.
This writing provides no reassuring escapes, and for this I am thankful.
Rome is a powerful work, worthy of many readings.
Rome, A Mobile Home makes good on its wonderful title: a pleasure
and a warning. The sun never sets on the Empire's trailer/theme park.
Estrin takes aim at our culture's tendency to reductive appropriation
with laconic, fearsome wit. The famous (the known) are equivalent: Caesar
and Roger Maris. "I will now be visible forever." We are all
implicated. This is where we live.