Gin & Bleach

Catherine Wing, Author
Catherine Wing. Sarabande (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-1-936747-30-6
Reviewed on: 07/16/2012
Release date: 08/01/2012
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Wittily rhymed and bloodily vivid, Wing's poems of romance and damage show the poet seeking something to "overwhelm me, a love-in-the-mist sort of time." They also show an apparently unique juxtaposition of influences: this second volume from Wing (Enter Invisible) recalls by turns Kay Ryan and Sylvia Plath, the former in its aural tricks and skeptical word games, the latter in the intensity of its terse metaphors, as well as in its sui generis, riddling forms. A poem about eyes called "Vitreous Humor" ends as "the lashes shutter// and lose track/ as the closed mind/ blinks. Black." Other poems take their quatrains from nursery rhymes, though their attitudes and their materials are for adults: "Coffee cup and copper wire,/ Hazard tape and plastic bags,/ Egg McMuffin, broken condom,/ Kudzu vine and dirty rags." Serious about emotion but playful, even cartoonish, about her forms, Wing finds useful alter egos in cartoons, adopting Tom and Jerry for a sequence about love gone wrong: "Jerry can today translated tomorrow/ into Jerry can't and never could. Tom rows// his boat ashore and beaches it good." Wing can sound maddened, or grim, or nearly bemused; rather than simply describe situations, Wing relies on her ear, and it often comes through. (July)
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