Said Not Said

Fred Marchant. Graywolf, $16 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-55597-773-3
Poet, editor, and translator Marchant displays an unflinching tenderness in a collection of sonically and architecturally precise poems. Whether describing mental violence or political conflict, he seeks the humanity in despair and the spirit of dreams and memories. One of the first active duty U.S. Marines to become a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War, Marchant opens this collection by exploring a more intimate, inner violence. “The Unacceptable” is a four-part portrait of his sister, who suffered from mental illness. He begins with an early memory of “a cough that was odd, not from a cold, or something else you catch.// I think now it was the sound of what was eating away at my sister’s mind.” From this “Asylum, refuge, sanctuary/ red-brick palace of peeling paint,” Marchant deftly moves outward, writing with eerie simplicity first of the murder of a political activist in a Palestinian refugee camp and then to a stranger in Benghazi washing a corpse. The collection’s third and fourth sections display wonderful invention. For instance, “Wod-or,” a poem of etymological gymnastics, springs from the Indo-European root word for water. Marchant’s beautiful, elegiac collection “begins in what one imagines as desert but is nothing empty./ For a second or two the air hints at the night it has risen from.” (May)
Reviewed on: 04/17/2017
Release date: 05/02/2017
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-55597-966-9
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