The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway

Jennifer L. Knox, Bloof (Ingram, dist.), $15 trade paper (83p) ISBN 978-0-9826587-1-0
"Gene Kelly Sings to the Cow," "A Coyote Walks into a Quiznos": these scenarios, both titles of poems from Knox's third book, are only two of the thoroughly whacked-out setups explored here. Knox's characteristic dark humor is counterbalanced not so much by moments of lyric seriousness as by the work's energy and intensity: Knox not only probes the wrecks and recklessness of a speaker's personal past—most notably, in a literal and drug-induced series of car accidents in the prose-poem sequence "Cars"— but also turns her sharp eye and sharper ear on the collective wreck of contemporary culture and its distortions of appetite and desire. And although the book is a wild ride, the feeling of being out-of-control is purely illusory; this is, rather, a carefully and artfully designed tour, one fueled by the joint energies of guilt and violence and of the poet's gift for the propulsive sentence, the tight and resonant line. If in the end the poems are too loud for "the quiet work of caring," it's a worthwhile sacrifice: graphic, crude, hilarious, critical, and exhilarating, Knox's poems have the reader "taking the curve magnet-tight—no gap—cresting/ the hill and not falling back to earth but flying off." (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/20/2010
Release date: 12/01/2010
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