The Spooking of Mavens. 2010. Cracked Slab Books. Out-of-print.

Kent Johnson: "To steal from another poet of the South: ‘It’s like ladling soup and a horse comes out.’ Talk about surprise… I remember the old Lucipo list, where I first encountered Tim Earley. In the sometimes fraught discussions of that space, he always seemed perfectly reserved and reasoned: a young gentleman unruffled by the psychic and lexical excitements exploding about. So whereof this sudden Southern Gothic of lyrical extremis and gorgeous shock? I have no clue. I, for one, have never seen anything like it. This is wild, major work, as you will see. And it’s entirely right that its poet hails from Yoknapatawpha County.

Catherine Wagner: "In The Spooking of Mavens, southern dialect and theory-speak mate and reproduce at a fearsome rate, and the resulting cultural mutations are hilarious and discomfiting-- "Intrinsically," says Earley, "this is not not my abjection." What "goes inside goes inside right pretty maw"; the mother tongue is our offspring and needs feeding, and Tim Earley has opened the word-hoard right pretty."

Maurice Manning: "Individually, the poems in The Spooking of Mavens leave potent impressions, fragments that suggest, but also consciously resist, coherence. There is great, dark wonder to be had in savoring those jumpy fragments: they twitch on the page like the legs of a swatted bug. That quality invokes, for me, defiance, a rage,  a species of radicalism, yet also, strangely, a characteristic tenderness, an underlying compassion. As a book, there is much more; we are in the presence of a carnival barker  parading his exotic creatures, emerged from his very mind, almost against its will, but not quite. The mind and body wrestle each other in Tim Earley's world, though lovingly, to strike a truce in the wild language of their argument. This is a stubbornly original and violently-crafted book; it is also beautiful."

Hank Lazer: "What would you get if you crossed French postmodern theory with an Appalachian Southern stock(car)? Tim Earley and this book, a book of poetry as dense as kudzu, the prolific half-mad fully strange quite funny alphabetic riffing alive in and enlivening a truly New South. A rich crazy book propelled equally by the engines of love and anger, a restless intelligence honking & screaming & improvising a new hymn of place, rich in the nutrients of an omnivorous vocabulary, pointing the way to stagger, dance, and run through "another embittered paradise," asking "is there a self in the belly of the beast?"


Tim Van Dyke at Montevidayo