Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Books Received for 40s project mini reviews 2 & 3

"Wordlick" by Joe Ross (Green Integer N°184:
This new mini-book by Joe Ross published by Green Integer starts with the bang it carries all the way through--a mouth-puzzling soundscape is alive here, from the very start with the first poem's:

"The margin beginning in white helf fold wreck
Visionthinging again ramwording again
Sentences into being tensemaking strange" (p11)

This, Joe Ross' 13th book (is that his lucky or unlucky number? I might say lucky reading this--) is quite linguistically troubling in wonderful, constantly unexpected ways. It does give one a bit of a headache as the mind tries to jostle and jangle with these, as the logical brain tries to force some standard soundsense back onto a writing resisiting such things. But there are these breaths of clarity for the mind in the way these poems touch a tangible world--with an image from a walk, a mention of a place or animal or sky. But this is not the Paris Ross lives in that he explored in his previous book, instead here is a landscape of imagination, filled with the "Crapeating linetoss at sinkerbaited truckhop rodeo" found on page 29 or the "Mossheaded hitting lowfur tuliprise sunset / Slowstraining the unionjack in corporate sponsored naming debt" on page 38.

This is not one place at one time, seen in clarity, but like the nouns, verbs and adjectives rubbing elbows and clicking knees together, it is a mishmash of placetimesepochscountries that makes this book fabulously evocative and like some childhood dreambook, makes the reader imagine in unexplored ways. Yes, as he writes on page 29, this reader is in fact quite "Wowed again by the circusstripe catwalk jest" that is WORDLICK, a poetry book which has come to remind us that poetry is always here because we need inventiveness.

WORDLICK is the "Necessary invention filling lackcapacity gap" of which Ross writes on p 11. A fun book to carry round and listen to and glance in then relook at the world with these sounds, Ross' exciting language, pinging round inside our heads. THANKS JOE!

"The Institution At Her Twilight" by Caroline Crumpacker.
The lovely arrivals in my mailbox of little unexpected books from the Dusie Kollectiv 5 from 2011 has practically stopped. But here is one I am so thrilled to have received--for Crumpacker's poems reawaken in me the pleasure of feeling language move and question. These poems filled with the dailiness of living and reflecting on the past and present are poems with longish lines where gaps come in to interrupt certain lines and make me (the reader) and the author (I presume at least) look at what is taking place in that white--as in poem one:

"The night is 23 years and in that time I feel destroyed but unchanged."

I love the force of this line--and how the gap after "feel" allows me a moment to feel, a moment to see feeling in the space it occupies not as language but as another sense, one that is unlocated in the instant of speaking. The fraction of time also interrogates the distance travelled over 23 years. And then, when the word "destroyed" comes, emerges, is the other side of this white bridge, the gap echoes visually the destruction, the de-construction of the contructed life. Things are not changed--nothing was built, or the building returned again to dust.

Certainly, here I am stretching in many directions and the poems here have a lightness that contrasts which what I am saying, too, a momentum that keeps me reading on so I do not overthink and overfeel one instant in the poem but am carried onward by rythms which are at once natural but also attentive to a kind of hummming that comforts one when one is hurting. A humming that tries to be in tune with an ache and thus alleviate some of the agony of that ache.

These are poems which are trying to assess things--silence, nostalgia, loss, conflict, love, nature, the moment or moments we are in even now as we read or go off to do something else. I enjoy how Crumpacker's work is constantly naming and making conscious not only me but the poems themselves of their reflective process--so that reflection becomes both linguistic and image(imagined). These are poems where, as she writes "sentiment appears luxuriantly articulate." Again, THANK YOU!

To read Caroline Crumpacker's chapbook online, visit the Dusie Kollectiv 5 website: and click on Crumpacker. Or else go directly to her pdf via:

Of course, what you are missing is the wonderful cover on the version I received--a nice architectural drawing which echos the layers of the poems themselves--construction, deconstruction, the concrete and the abstract.

No comments: