Secret Histories maps the nexus of history, language and political consciousness through the lens of a supposed but elusive present tense. The poems are interested in the way history is constructed as an active engagement with a non-negotiable future, as opposed to the passive receipt of past “truths.”
“Steppe Work” presents itself as recovered fragments from the height of the Mongol Empire, the largest land-based empire in history. “Last Man Standing” is offered in the classical form of a shepherd’s calendar, counting down the last 12 months of the last man alive on earth. Between and through these sequences, the poem “Pre/Science” attempts to inhabit a present moment that is continually slipping into the layered time-keeping of human consciousness.
In fragments and disjointed observations, the book tries to replicate and in fact become the process of “making” history.
Craig Watson grew up in New England and New York. He has been a theater technician, stage manager, managing director, dramaturge, literary manager and producer. During a decade with a Fortune 500 technology company, he was a marketing and public relations executive, and strategic planner for projects in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and North America. He has also been a volunteer fire fighter, a visiting professor of poetry and drama at Brown University, Wheaton College and other schools, a U.S. delegate to the International Theater Congress, publisher of Qua Books, a husband and father to three children.
He has published ten books of poetry, beginning with Drawing A Blank (Singing Horse Press, 1980), and most recently Free Will (Roof, 2000) and True News (Instance, 2002). Burning Deck has also published After Calculus (1988) and the chapbook Discipline (1986). His poems, essays and criticism have appeared in numerous journals.