A Symmetry: Poems

Ari Banias.. Norton, $26.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-393-86813-5
The subject of Banias's expansive latest (after Anybody) is contrast: the present is overlaid by the past, human life intersects with the natural world, abundance is met by scarcity, the personal meets the political. No moment is discreet and each image carries its shadow: "the lit up LA FITNESS sign reflected in the marsh water"; "Athena's temple, scaffold-covered wreck"; "Across from the Nashua river not eternal/ a Wendy's and a Kohl's not eternal." Banias's chief strength as a poet lies in observation: "I feel a history of/ overlooking/ toggle in me," he proclaims in a long poem titled "Spectra." Indeed, Banias enacts multiple ways of looking, observing people and places that are often ignored to illuminate disparities in wealth, access, and justice: "twenty-nine sleeping bags lined up beneath the overhang,/ and each one inhabited." But these poems are also a study in scope, moving from Greece, where much of the book is set, to the White House, from antiquity to a future of ecological wreckage. In this memorable work, Banias offers readers a guide to seeing the world, and its incongruences, more clearly. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/14/2021
Release date: 10/12/2021
Genre: Poetry
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