The Fountain opens on the Viennese U-Bahn, emerging into startling winter sunlight. This image of subterranean eruption is one of many in the book, which returns obsessively to real and figurative fountains. Isaac Nowell's fountain is a social and mythical locus, a place of memory and forgetting, the source to which history returns and is recycled. Roaming freely between classical and contemporary registers, Nowell's twelve-line poems feel less like narratives or speeches than fragments of scenes or sensations. The movement of a lover's hand in the dark, or the gradation of light at dawn, are points of momentary contact with that 'one big wonderful dangerous accident', life itself.
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