The Mystery of Systems

Poems by Carl Rosenstock

The 19th century French critic Laszlo Ferrante-Teicher, in his seminal work Le Systéme de Mystére, wrote, “Qu’est- ce que la poésie? Il est l’odeur de la magie. Il est le arachnéenne entre tromperie et une mode de la réalité.” (“What is poetry? The whiff of magic. The gossamer between deception and a fashion of reality.”) … These poems attempt that ideal.

Praise for “The Mystery of Systems”

“This wild and completely engaging first book has so much going for it – humor, from dry to prankster; craft – from a nursery rhyme variation á la Kafka to free verse layered with tricks of a formalist’s trade to those uncanny translations; intellect – a world view that’s streetwise but tuned to the history of that thing; soul – meditative, moody, and wrapped in an attitude that’ll warm your bones. Even if you’ve read a million books of poems, you’ve never read anything like this.”

– Roger Weingarten

The Mystery of Systems, composed in equal parts of original poems and gracefully-done ‘translations’ of two imaginary Russian poets, coheres around photography as a phenomenon that paradoxically captures a real moment and isolates it in ways that render it elusive, a construct of absences as well as presences.

Photography as both subject and metaphor serves as the matrix for this collection in which both the poet and his ‘translatees’ speak as beings who erase themselves as they speak and leave us with perspectives that are complex, unencumbered, and resonant with possibilities.

A textured and immensely thoughtful book, Rosenstock’s first collection offers poems that both affirm and question language itself as though it, too, were a photograph.”

– Leslie Ullman

“Carl Rosenstock’s way with words is labyrinthine and his imagination is gargantuan. Reading his poems is tantamount to a free fall through music and light.”

– Deborah DeNicola