The Hardy Tree

Linda Bierds. Copper Canyon, $17 (96p) ISBN 978-1-55659-576-9
In this erudite and ever-dexterous 10th collection, Bierds poignantly juxtaposes terror with beauty by excavating the literal and symbolic role of language. Through an assortment of poetic techniques including pastiche, erasure, and acrostics, Bierds reimagines and expands on the musings of Vladimir Nabokov, Alan Turing, Virginia Woolf, and WWI-era poets, utilizing their diverse insights and experiences to unveil moments of vulnerability, violence, and desperation in the world. Bierds considers the catalysts of progress and the elliptical nature of human existence as “a looped orbit, half/ doomed to the past as we wheel forward.” She questions the artillery of destruction with the grace of nature, such as how “So many poisons// smell like hay. Or lilacs. Or geraniums” and how the zeppelins consumed the sky like “a sudden moon...a massive, white,/ gondola-cratered fullness...Except for the terrible drumming.” In a deceptive and bewildering world, she describes the need “to speak in codes, in key-clicks and ciphers,” referring both to language as a weapon of war and poetry as a vessel to translate the inexplicable. Bierds’s poems transform the surreal into the tangible, challenging readers to reconsider the realities that daily life might obscure. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/14/2019
Release date: 09/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
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