Author's Note to the 1992 Print Edition

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The Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny Suite takes its name from a theory proposed by Ernst Haekel in the 19th century. An anatomist, Haekel believed he had found evidence that individuals passed through all prior stages of evolution in the course of fetal development. The poems are intended as a symphonic fugue for language. There are four movements within the scope of the whole, corresponding to the four major epochs of civilization as I have experienced them: Tribal Nomadic Hunter-Gatherer, Sedentary Agrarian, Iron Age/Industrial Revolution & the current Information Age. Each movement or section examines variations on central themes from a different perspective, making the work similar to a musical fugue.

Poetry began with the delight of the tongue. It was a magic in itself, rooted in invocation and evocation, origin or by-product of our first stab at religion. In all my work I strive to strike what my friend Zeebie calls the "monkey Nerve," the sense of awe and wonder that has dogged our species since its inception. these poems are written to be spoken, incanted; to enchant, bespell, entrance. Their tune is the music of the snake charmer.

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John T. Unger poet

I'm best known as an artist and designer. Relaxing makes me tense, so I tend to put in a lot of hours on diverse projects.

Before becoming a visual artist, I spent 15 years as a poet. I studied poetry at Interlochen Arts Academy, Naropa, Stone Circle and on the streets. I performed my work for years at Stone Circle, solo shows, poetry readings, and at Lollapalooza in 1996.

I still write poems, but only if I can make them fit the constraints ofTwitter.

Mobile: 231.584.2710 (9 to 5 PST only) | Email me

Art IS my day job

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