David Mutschlecner Reads From and Signs Enigma and Light


David Mutschlecner will read from and sign his new book of poetry, Enigma and Light, at Ruby K’s Bagel Café on Thursday, May 3, at 6. Tickets to the event are $22.50, which includes the book and refreshments, and will be available at the door the night of the event. Otowi Station Bookstore and Ruby K’s are sponsoring the event.

He is author of two previous collections from Ashahta Press, Veils and Esse.

Mutschlecner writes, “I have been captivated by poetry since high school, willing it as my secret vocation. My first official publication was a chapbook called Qualities of Resonance in 1990, but my first real publication was a broadside in high school called ‘Midnight Train.’ In my senior year I quit the cross country team to sit in the library and try to figure out ‘The Waste Land.’ Given how long ago high school was I think it would be safe to say that I always loved poetry.”

After college, when the Midwestern poets were big, Mutschlecner says, “My interest shifted to Robert Creeley and Robert Duncan, especially the latter, whose particular sense of
auditory imagination is acute, indeed at times magical. My present poetic interests spark at those cross points between poetry and the visual arts. Shared terrain is wonderful. The frame flows. Poetry is best—I think—in a state of inception.”

He continues, “I suspect there is, for many of us, a fairly marked distinction between how we make a living and how we live in our hearts and minds. I like to think of vocation as a self-communication: what do we speak out into the world; what is it that our lives give expression to? Of course work cannot be divorced from this, but work is a small part of it; the circumscribing issue for me is poetry.”

Mutschlecner adds, “I see now that I have, for decades, been interested in theopoetics. I am always looking for those points where imagination informs theology. I have given a few public lectures with titles as highfalutin as ‘Thomistic Transcendentals in Dante’s Comedy.’ My real theme is that being and beauty are flip sides of one another; in philosophic terminology, they are coextensive with each other. If this is not the case then I think we are forever sunk in style with no content. Beauty is as big as God, so it is infinite, and cuts across all being, hence its transcendental quality. So you see all our evolutions, all our visions, are contained in something very good, and very big. There is enough room here for everyone—now and in all futures—to do their thing, and to be beautiful doing it. This is poetry.”

Mutschlecner grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. He has a BA in English from Indiana University and an MA in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Santa Fe. He lives in Los Alamos.

Excerpt from “Robert Ryman/Nicholas of Cusa

the balance point itself as affirmation:
the nothing/not nothing

the Dickinsonian dash,
the white cracks in the black

pavement on the first
snowing day of winter—

some sort of inversion or conversion
where yes wells in the willed silence.

Otowi Station is a full-service independent bookstore serving Los Alamos and the region. Located adjacent to the Bradbury Science Museum, the store also offers museum items, science-based toys, and an extensive collection of books related to the Manhattan Project and historical Los Alamos. Poets, included, are represented. The store welcomes special orders. For more information, call 662-9589.


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