Like That

Matthew Yeager. Forklift (SPD, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (124p) ISBN 978-0-9903082-6-3
In his stellar debut, Yeager tackles the long poem as he exhaustively ruminates on history, work, love, habit, and more. The six poems resonate in their individual focus on a single operative metaphor, such that each poem in its expression borders on the mythic. In "A Big Ball of Foil in a Small NY Apartment," the image of an ever-growing ball of foil transforms into a story on planning for the future and how to achieve one's goals. "He would grow the ball from this point forward.," he writes, "Foil was everywhere. It wouldn't be hard." Similarly, in "Tap Water," the speaker must choose a beverage in light of a lover and how his choices affect her: "this influencing/ business has been, the entire time, going both ways." This notion of interconnection is fully realized in the final poem, "Jar of Balloons or the Uncooked Rice," a 60-page interrogative onslaught in the manner of Padgett Powell's The Interrogative Mood. Whether incongruent, absurd, or pointedly specific, the queries stand as a litmus test of personality: "Why is there/ pleasure in pressing a piano key so/ softly there is no sound?" This book is a triumph of sonic quality, line construction, and sustained attention, and Yeager's greatest achievement is getting readers to follow his example and reach inside themselves. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/06/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
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