Presenting engagements (including reviews) of poetry books & projects. Occasionally there will be Featured Poets, as well as offerings from "The Critic Writes Poems" series. Deadline is ongoing: reviews will be posted as submitted and accepted. Please engage!
Monday, March 19, 2018
MEAT by SOPHIE SEITA, SUBLUNAR by TOM JENKS, and IN ACCIDENT & EMERGENCE by ROSA VAN HENSBERGEN
Sophie Seita’s Meat is discomfitingly manifold in its
fleshiness. Throughout, there is much covalent bonding, a thickening of letter
and word and phrase. On the first page, we encounter “cannot”, “address”, “odourless”, “vagueness”, “appearances”, “keeps”, “buff”, “feet”, “booting”, “looser”, “look” and “glass” (my bold).This
‘meatiness’ is enchanced by the opening lines, the sizzling sibilance of which
lends culinary presence to the elusive referent: “I cannot address it / odourless
in its vagueness / it changes beyond appearances / the specificity of typology
is owned”. However toothsome the poetry, it is also tough and fibrous, stretching
out the moment of mastication and refusing to proffer any easy emollients.
Lines such as “mmh, medium, medium, well done, well done” and “why is the rare
more attractive than the common” seem to ooze emetic blood from their
dissimulated skin. Necessary, chastening reading.
Tom Jenks (Oystercatcher Press, 2016)
This short pamphlet
is indeed winningly “sublunar”. The first poem opens thus: “all is calm behind
the shields / in Kettering, home of the Weetabix / in the marbled halls of Pets
at Home / in Shropshire’s best kept station”. The prosody here demands
attention. But for its catalexis, the first line is perfectly trochaic. The
third follows the same structure, adding a disyllabic anacrusis. The fourth can
also be made to adhere to this pattern, provided that we are loose with our scansion
of “best kept” and read “station” with an affectedly humorous extra syllable. The
second line, however, is a prosodic renegade, its comma-interrupted dactyls dislocating
the metrical integrity. These deft hits and misses are characteristic of Sublunar, a book whose flights of
selenic poesie always give way to more terrene pleasures such as “Betamax”,
“Subbuteo”, and “Quorn Sausages”. Winsome terrestrial poems written in the
albedo of profundity.
In Accident & Emergence,Rosa van Hensbergen (Veer, 2015)
In Accident & Emergence seethes with fire and igneous
paraphernalia—“flames”, “andirons”, “pyrospheres”, “acidum pingue”, “1666”, etc.
The text’s figurations become annealed in the heat of this proximity. We see
“love hotels inflamed”, “blazons eidetic”, and “want for the prick that burned
you”. This ignivagant sweep engulfs various antique and modern domains, opening
the text’s sites of conflagration and combustion to a range of social and
historical potentialities. Later, things will take more of an aqueous turn, following
the imperatives “grow hydric” and “go Hydra”. Whether fire or water be the cause
of the damage, though, it is necessary in each case to “Ascertain the bodies in
surround, the proximate exits, the / probable evacuation time”. We must
consider what is proper to each node, and what is accidental to it. Our conclusions,
one hopes, will demand of us some kind of triage in the service of new
Note: "revicule" is the author's jocular, ill-formed diminutive for
a review of 150 words or fewer. The three revicules posted here follow on
from the original seven published in the inaugural issue of Erotoplasty.
Colin Lee Marshall's poetry and reviews have appeared
in various places online and in print. He edits the poetry zine Erotoplasty.