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Book Review :: Rationalism by Douglas Luman

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Guest Post by Nicholas Michael Ravnikar

When a computer scientist plies the tools of his trade to critique Fascist propaganda through the vehicle of contemporary poetry, the result can be hit or miss. But Douglas Luman’s Rationalism solemnly invites its reader to collaborate in a gleeful travesty of authoritarian structures.

Luman’s slim volume comprises 31 mistranslations assembled from an archive of Fascist architectural magazines, along with an epigraph, an elucidating (if too brief) endnote on his research, and an acknowledgments page that meditates on the rise of Trumpist populism as a symptom of the same system that underwrites police brutality. The untitled pieces in the collection largely suggest a tone and structure that echoes the sonnet without its various preordained formal concerns for rhyme and measure. The beams that fall through the cracks cast shadows of narrative fragments.

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