Is That the Sound of a Piano Coming from Several Houses Down?
Gordon (The Word
Kingdom in the Word Kingdom
) assesses a series of situations and the problems that arise from them in these astute, touching prose poems shot through with a quiet and dark absurdity. “I don’t believe in dialectics but abide by them nonetheless,” Gordon writes. “It is like a painting of someone sheathing a sword. The problem is that it is also like a painting of someone unsheathing a sword.” The poems are satisfying for their concision, their insight, and the unexpected tumbles they take on the smallest threads: “Once an experiment becomes famous, it’s no longer an experiment. The problem is you can’t lounge in obscurity, you can only languish.” Gordon runs along the fault lines of logic, narrative, and non sequitur as he flirts with the problems of life, love, and literary production. “That facts are innumerable is not the problem. That we tend to look elsewhere is,” he notes. Though readers may occasionally be bewildered, they’ll more often be thrilled. “Poems shouldn’t make you wait for them to finish./ Like love, they should finish making you wait,” Gordon insists. This collection finds him at his wittiest and most formally consistent. (Apr.)