In the 31 poems of Patterson's debut (also the first full-length collection from Nightboat Books), stories create the experiences they narrate: ""As in the parable, the truant lover / arrived."" Speaking in a clinical, yet vulnerable voice, Patterson seeks to delineate ""I"" from ""eye"": ""I in the form of my own urging, eye / in its movement follows the body's future / path."" Patterson's style foregrounds the visual, and the book is rife with references to visual artists. Lines are also lifted from poets including Lorine Niedecker, Brenda Shaughnessy and Donald Revel, emphasizing the connection of the senses and the arts. Patterson's search for self-knowledge often threatens violence as well: ""A book is a huge cemetery."" Yet this same force also preserves life: ""Members breeding / on poisonous members // store the poisons / for their own defense."" Patterson has crafted a far reaching first book that blends self-interrogation with metaphysical inquiry. Both Patterson and Nightboat show great promise.
Reviewed on: 02/27/2006 Release date: 03/01/2006 Genre: Fiction