My life as a time traveller: a memoir in 18 discrete fragments

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In My Life as a Time Traveller, Oz Hardwick pushes the idea of memoir into dazzlingly unexpected territories, foregrounding pattern and imaginative perception over anecdote. Oz is known for prose poems that are "relentlessly thoughtful about the nature of time," and which "play with time ... with highly compelling, disconcerting results," and has recently been described as "an Einstein of prose poetry, reconfiguring our understanding of time and space". The 18 Discrete Fragments in this poetry sequence mix past, present, and future into a heady alchemical compound that distils each moment into the gold of sand, egg yolk, or a falling autumn leaf.

The Surrealist dream logic of the poems here is born from reflection on the nature of the self within the world when one is revealed to be one's own most unreliable narrator. In a rare instance of explanation, Oz reveals that "one of the more interesting/infuriating ways in which my brain works is that I don't have a neurotypical perception of linear time: it is, as the film says, Everything Everywhere All at Once, and these poems offer vignettes of that experience."

Precisely focused, and shaped with Oz's customary mastery of craft, these poems are personal on the molecular level at which, paradoxically, individuality becomes universal. Together, they amount to a memoir of now, in which "now" is the fourteenth century, where a dodo that grew from a seed, grown weary of browsing art galleries, slips his half-forgotten children from the freezer, and contemplates retirement. We've all been there, and in this wildly implausible collection, Oz presents an irrefutable case which suggests that we're all there now.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe Hedgehog Poetry Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781916830042
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2023


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