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Noelle Kocot, Author Four Way Books $13.95 (80p) ISBN 978-1-884800-32-0
Images of youthful rebellion, cultural disgust, hyperreal love and visceral superworldly elements abound in this passionate, controlled debut from the New York-based Kocot. Eschewing the pastiche and irony of more elliptical versifiers, Kocot casts her speaker as the renegade, even the vagabond, but with benign intentions peeking through the defiant absurdities: ""Your brand of peace disgusts me, do you hear?/ I am the fugitive who drives the stampede/ Of aardvarks across your lawns./ I have come to tip your cows."" Free-verse, sestinas, rhyming quatrains and other verse forms are matched throughout by a knotty, provocative turn of mind part Rimbaudian, part Kenneth Koch that mixes darker, often biblical imagery with the above quirky wit. Swift, intense, image-laden poems like ""Ontology Train"" are, indeed, like modern versions of ""The Drunken Boat,"" but Kocot's poems are usually about relationships, about the heavy burden of love and poetic thought that she shares with her interlocutor, a nameless, mystical ""you"": ""Yet you are concrete/ Somehow; I know, I've heard your bee-like buzzing/ In all the tiny leaves bursting from their sacs to greet / A magical universe..."" The sestinas offer a somewhat lighter view, partly because the necessary play of the form, but also because of Kocot's deft zingers: ""San Francisco/ Fantasy aside, you have to admit we sucked/ As a couple...."" Like Jennifer Moxley and Chris Stoffolino, Kocot has found a language for her emotions that pulls an abundance of memories, post-punk urban metaphors and manic verbal twists into her simultaneously cerebral and energizing universe, ""with an atmospheric clarity emblematic/ Of the essential questions blowing here and there/ Like remnants of a foreign language."" (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
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