Thursday, July 28, 2011

Review: Second Person

Patrick Dunn, author of Postmodern Magic and Magic, Power, Language, Symbol: A Magicians's Exploration of Linguistics has recently announced that his first book of poetry, titled Second Person is available for pre-order. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Dunn and his work, so I asked if I could get a sample for review.

I was looking forward to reading the poem he sent for a lot of reasons. He's a savant. I won't go into details, because he keeps his life private, but the man's a genius. He's a neoplatonist, and he knows what that means. He's a practicing magician, he's done magic and it's made his life better. He's got a postmodern philosophy, which I didn't understand before I met him and still barely grasp, but I appreciate his take on things. It meshes well with my own.

In his announcement about the availability of Second Person, Mr. Dunn says the work "concerns the mystical connection we have with our world as a “thou” rather than an “it.” It’s about not only the relationship between self and other, but between Self and Other."

In the work I've seen so far, this theme is presented subtly, nothing ostentatious or in your face, but implied, rather like the cover of the book. He's not heavy handed in his observations, but still the meaning comes through. 

The poem he sent was a scene out of many of our lives, the occultist contacted by the friend or acquaintance for a tarot card reading. I heard Mr. Dunn's voice as he spoke about the scene, as I heard his internal monologue as he related to his querent, and I heard her requests and understood what it was she was looking for. At the same time, I saw the part of Mr. Dunn who was also asking the same question as the querent as it pertained to his own life, expressing that universal need to know how we ended up where we did, what purpose it served, and why we aren't satisfied. I saw that he was reading himself as well as her in his observation, and in that moment saw that I was also being read.

I don't know how he did it. There's nothing in the poem that says, this is what this means and what it is all about. But there's a sense of knowing and being known that he captures well. He blends the line between observer and observed in many levels, not so much breaking the fourth wall as eliminating its relevance. I'm looking forward to reading the rest when my copy arrives.

To pre-order your copy, you click this link and scroll down to his book.


Mr. Dunn said I could post the poem he sent too, so here it is:


Secrets; Lost Knowledge; A Female Querent

Heather, your hair
was too black, your lips
too ready
to say that liquid word,
your body too young.

Books couldn't tell
you what the boys wanted
to hear, wanted to do.  And you
wanted the boys.

Wanted them to see
something rare in you, something
like an orchid unfolding in the steam.

Now you peck out messages to me, asking
if I have a tarot pack to read
where you went wrong, marrying
a good boy, having a fat baby.

How did you end up
here, unhappy still, with a good husband, a nice life?

This card is the Priestess.  It means everything
will be okay.  I promise.  Somehow, okay.



  1. Definitely looking forward to this book, great review!

  2. I'm catching up on reviews I've got backlogged. I have Mr. Bradford's Order of the Black Octopus in line, Crossed Keys, and possibly something by Witchdoctor Joe, if he decides to publish the Scepter of Jove.


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