The Open Secret

Jennifer Moxley. Flood Editions (SPD, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-9838893-9-7
Like a post-post-modern Seinfeld, Moxley (Clampdown) presents a self-reflexive collection that initially appears to be about nothing, yet is about everything. Her poems surprise—despite a tendency to run long—and are consistently candid in their exploration of the "I." While the book addresses numerous occasions, such as the poet's struggle to find the right words and the celebration of an old friend, Moxley's two longest and most fulfilling poems, "Coastal" and "Evacuations," act as pillars that form its emotional core. "Coastal," her self-implied "9/11 poem" offers a Buddhist-like meditation on the space where socio-political thought and the mind of the present meet: "No day, no hour, not even a second can be/ adequately written in one sitting." On the other hand, "Evacuations" is an investigation of the bridges between past and present through the listing of quotidian chores and pleasures, such as buying a new coat and taking off your boots at the end of the day, as well as an exploration of the writing process and the relationship between poet and "‘active' reader." Intricately crafted and unafraid of the subconscious, Moxley's poems are for the reader willing to be wowed by the mundane. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/03/2014
Release date: 10/01/2014
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