Complex Crosses is an experimental critical book which spans the history of poetry by alighting on small fragments. It consists of commentaries which pursue a dialectical criticism through the idea of the “complex cross”.
A “complex cross” is the action of close reading in which the present’s span of attention loops back and through a text. As such, it is a particular form of dialectical criticism. Hooke’s flea is seen through a microscope but in turn also feeds perhaps on the critic whose close-reading microscope is deployed – it’s a complex cross in action.
Complex Crosses begins twice, the first time with Homer and the second time with Horace. Its returning emphases are on naming, linguistic politics, and how the genre of history interpenetrates that of poetry. It forms a discontinuous line of micro-essays and micro-close-readings of these multiple chiasmatic forms.