American Fractal


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Each portion forming a reduced-size copy of the whole, a fractal is forever fragmented, both chaotic and ordered, endlessly complex. Timothy Green’s American Fractal sees this pattern emerge from the fabric of modern culture, as it navigates the personal, the political, and the metaphysical, in a lyric dreamscape in which an eerie chaos lurks just behind the facade of order–where “what looks like / a river…could be a log,” “as if accident were / the fundamental attribute of life.” In separate poems, one man sells ad space on his forehead, while another examines the multitudes of his own voice on an audio cassette recorder. Each life is but another section of the fractal, the past and the future two mirrors that face each other to perpetuate the illusion of infinites. At turns evocative and sweetly ironic, Green straddles the line between accessibility and complexity, exploring “how the wind whispers our secrets,” how “that little tremor” of understanding “touches your sleeve, lets go.”

Sample Poems

After Hopper
Poem from the Homeland
Poem from Dark Matter


“In American Fractal, Timothy Green braids together an alert and nimble intelligence, a liveliness of phrasing, a polished sense of form, and a whimsical surrealism—braids them and brings them to bear on our contemporary world. The result, poem after poem that sidles up to the truth and smacks it on the lips or, playfully or in earnest, upside the head.”
—Gregory Orr, author of Concerning the Book that Is the Body…

“The poems in Timothy Green’s American Fractal find love within love; landscape within landscape; the ‘I’ and ‘you’ nestled within the bigger ‘I’ and ‘you.’ Unpredictable, uproarious, and true to the wonder of the moment, Green’s poems are chockfull of magical imagery that blurs the waking and dream life.”
—Denise Duhamel, author of Kinky

Looking for the order within disorder, Timothy Green would “wake the body from its only available dream.” Green appreciates how strange this order can be, and that the extraordinary is the hallmark of the individual. In these poems, a man auctions his forehead as ad space, cutlery rains from the sky, spiders devour their mother: in other words, here is life.
—Bob Hicok, author of This Clumsy Living

“Timothy Green’s American Fractal is a remarkable study in the refraction of language. As with memory, language bends and shapes itself, defining and redefining images like opposing mirrors, reflecting an infinite succession of epiphanies. The effect is evocative, energized and sure-footed, full of nuance and thematic dexterity, as in his exquisite poem ‘Hiking Alone’ where insights like glimmerings in a ‘box of moonlight,’ are made translucent by the kind god of this fine poet’s imagination. This book has the gift of passion. It has fire at its core.”
—James Ragan, author of The Hunger Wall

“In Timothy Green’s appropriately titled American Fractal a whole vision is created from fragments of American myths, family, religion, the body, holidays, money, food, art, lovers, science, ads, and even earthquakes. His poems are wonderfully original and American in their irony—it’s a kind-hearted irony with truth as its goal. With his subjects ‘…each image one moment / behind the last catching up and catching up.’ Startling and alive, these are self-aware poems that break apart and then come back together. Green writes, ‘One thing is always / mistaken for / another, as if accident were / the fundamental attribute of life.’ Green’s poems build with language, imagery, and a sweet cleverness into surprising commentaries and imaginative revelations. This is an outstanding first book.”
—Laurie Blauner, author of All This Could Be Yours

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