The Blank Page Cover

A new poetry collection from a great American visionary.


“With The Blank Page, Iván Argüelles brings us another volume of poems, written in daily increments, that marshal a vast expanse of literature and myth with wonderfully imaginative juxtapositions. The poems venture into the most significant questions of life and death, as well as the effort, often impeded, to convey meaning….

“Argüelles has developed the framework for his books as daily poems, with a date penned at the end of each, so we experience the rhythm and flow of his imagination. Essentially, we have a journal, which is why a volume he published the year before was titled Diario di un Ottogenario…. When Argüelles worked at the large New York Public Library building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, he wrote poems during his lunch hour, aligning them with Frank O’Hara’s practice of writing his Lunch Poems during lunchtime at the Museum of Modern Art. Even if Argüelles no longer has a lunch hour, we still have the record of a daily appointment with his craft….

“Argüelles’s playfulness is related to his close reading of Surrealist poets, particularly his fondness for Philip Lamantia, Federico García Lorca, and César Vallejo. His is not the cadavre exquis non-sequitur poetry of some of the Surrealist tradition. But rather the soft, playful blending of realities…. Overall, Argüelles shares the core Surrealist goal of eliminating the boundary between the conscious and unconscious, and evidences a desire to tap an oneiric realm….

“In this book of poems, Argüelles tells us that ‘poetry is narcolepsy / the wish to return where there is no space.’ Of course, to us, narcolepsy is unwanted sleep, a ‘lepsy’ that seizes us, rather than driven by a wish. But it is an oneiric realm that Argüelles moves in and out of in the poetry of The Blank Page.”

—Carl Landauer, in Poetry Flash

" ‘It is difficult,’ William Carlos Williams famously wrote, ‘to get the news from poems/ yet men die miserably every day/ for lack of what is found there.’ In Iván Argüelles’ brilliant new book we follow a fecund mind through our plague year. Day by day, poem by poem, Argüelles unspools the internal news, speedy, profuse, enjambed and unwilling to cycle through the usual bromides and pronouncements. This is language on fire, ‘…midnight speech unraveled,’ crafted and raw, overflowing and yet aching toward a sublime silence where ‘meaning diminishes/ in mulch and nothing comes back.’ The Blank Page is news that won’t be forgotten.”

—Philip Brady, author of The Elsewhere: Poems & Poetics

“Iván Argüelles fills his Blank Page with astounding poetry, bringing us through Homeric, Dantesque, and Vedic worlds as well as the Americana of his youth in beautifully constructed lines with imaginative juxtapositions that would be the envy of André Breton or Paul Éluard.”

—Carl Landauer

Iván Argüelles is an innovative and widely published Mexican-American poet. He was raised in México DF, Los Angeles, and ultimately Rochester MN. He received a BA in Classics from Univ of Chicago, and a degree in Library Science from Vanderbilt. A professional librarian, he was employed by the New York Public Library and the Library at UC Berkeley. A prolific writer, he has published numerous poetry collections, foremost among them: "That"” Goddess; Madonna Septet; Comedy , Divine , The; FIAT LUX; Orphic Cantos; Fragments from a Gone World; and most recently HOIL, and Twilight Cantos. He received the 1989 William Carlos Williams Award for Looking for Mary Lou. In 2010 he received an American Book Award for his collection The Death of Stalin. In 2013 he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.

pub date: 2021-09-15
$20.95 | 262 pages
isbn: 978-1-952386-08-4 (paperback)
Cover design by Anne Marie Hantho