is a phrase commonly used by economists and means "assuming all
things are held constant." With this phrase, a host of unintended
results can be explained
away as having been caused by changes in the real world, and the model
itself is sustained.
As the economy collapses around their ears, the bewildered theorists
of the dismal science
may claim that were ceteris paribus only possible, the predicted
outcome would have
obediently presented itself.
In Gale Nelson's poetry, language misbehaves much like the economy.
The multiplicity of
factors at play on the page--and among pages--keeps the poem from
near constancy. Each time order seems just around the corner, variances
begin to seep in--
and anything becomes possible.
The book's companion text, stare decisis, was published by
Burning Deck in 1991.
"...ceteris paribus slowly meanders through a landscape
of structures and variables, carefully
recording instances in which language enjambs to the point of crisis
and consigns itself to
an altered path. Nelson flashes in and out of poetic modes that he
is able to rein in from the
brink of cacophany and craft into an engaging series of poems."
--David Harrison Horton, Syllogism
Gale Nelson has also published three chapbooks, Spectral Angel
(Duration Press, 1999), The
Mystic Cipher (Texture Press, 1993), and Little Brass Pump
(Leave Books, 1992). Two of his
plays, "Disciplining the Dimes" and "The Undiapered
Filefish," are included in The Joy of
Phonetics and Accents by Louis Colaianni. He shares an apartment
in Providence, RI with his
wife, the fiction writer Lori Baker, and their cats, Carlotta and