The Book of Landings

Mark McMorris. Wesleyan Univ., $26.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-8195-7633-0
In this intricate double volume, Jamaica-born poet McMorris, now living in the U.S., completes the trilogy he began with his 2010 collection, Entrepôt, continuing a fascinating exploration of poetic form within what he identifies as an environment in constant flux where goods are received for distribution and transshipment. Ekphrasis and fragment lend the work its structure, and McMorris draws from a lively array of influences, including painter Joan Miró, ska pioneers Toots and the Maytals, and images of plantations, Olmec heads, and Moroccan kingdoms. The poems are a "Birth-cloud of bricolage" existing beyond the lines of nation or epoch. "12 Rectangles," poems consisting of words placed in a 12-square grid, appear throughout the collection. Arranged and curated this way, the words become charged within their bound spaces. Each of the 12 words gets suffused with its own connotations and those of its neighbors: for example, "Sunder," "Prospect," and "Congo" sharing a line allude subtly to colonization and the slave trade. McMorris reminds his readers that "no matter the curse of setting forth/ in transit through alien spaces/ you carry the origin with you/ to the destination and abode/ you once saw rising from the bleary/ surface like a mirage, a city/ in form perverted by the forces/ of countless unconnected things." (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 05/02/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Open Ebook - 228 pages - 978-0-8195-7634-7
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