Feb 18, 2015
This week’s Snapshots features three electrifying poetry collections from BookThug.
Here in There
Angela Carr’s Here in There is a collection of poems which examine attention, “they ask, do we give or pay attention? And what do we attend to? How do we decide what merits our attention?” Carr writes “I gave / my attention to the refrigerator. I sought its answers. I sought the / composition of preservation in the cramped space of provisions. / I sought the composition of attention. I gave my attention to an / avocado. I gave my attention to a knife.” The majority of the poems are double-spaced and there is something truly wonderful about all the blank space in this collection. The language is tight, but the format is loose. Towards the end of the collection Carr begins to write single-spaced and this sudden change makes the final poems feel incredibly urgent. They pulse forward with a sudden kick of adrenaline. These poems hum around the word attention and this is the sort of collection you’ll want to make sure you attend to soon.
Laws of Rest
Laws of Rest by David B. Goldstein is a collection which introduces the “prose sonnet”. I’ll admit, now that I have been introduced to this form I find myself craving more of it. Each poem consists of four carefully crafted sections and Marjorie Perloff writes that each poem contains “a fantasy world in which everyday experience is transmuted into things rich and strange.” These poems are very strange indeed. I couldn’t help but smile as each sonnet continued to surprise me with its charming language and imagery. The speaker stumbles through many curious occurrences in this collection. Goldstein writes, “She brings him to one of my parties, the kind where / everyone brings an overdue library book. She introduces his as Jamie; his book is Henri Michaux, so pretentious. 'Course civilizations spread out their feelings / like dishes,' he intones. It’s not even overdue, he just brought it to show off.” This is just one example of the strange and often funny world the speaker inhabits in Laws of Rest. I encourage you to read it for yourself, spend an evening with these tightly wound poems, unravel the extraordinary world Goldstein has created for his speaker to inhabit.
“Metaphysical Licks, a hybrid prose-poem/novella riffing on the lives and works of Austrian poet Georg Trakl and his sister, Grete, is the restless new work by writer and translator Gregoire Pam Dick.” Restless just might be the best description for this collection. Dick’s poetry can’t seem to sit still, the language is absolutely vibrating: “Melancholy slows the key frames. Notes or objects. / Her words are smarter than she is. Therefore this is a prophet. / Though it isn’t true until it’s wordless?” Images grind together, creating a sort of visual tongue twister, though it must be noted that at times the subject of this collection can be equally twisted: “Some brothers brain you for arousing them. Others like it, try to / arouse you back. Or else they started it.” Metaphysical Licks rattles boundaries, this collection tumbles down the page completely unaware of constraint.