Marjorie Welish, Author . Coffee House $15 (112p) ISBN 978-1-56689-157-8

As playfully and fiercely philosophical as ever, painter, poet and art critic Welish checks in with the follow-up to her 2000 selected, The Annotated "Here." Somewhat repetitively, five autonomous sequences (two of which have appeared previously as chapbooks) treat language as matter or landscape, referring to "[u]sed and out-of-print books classified as steppe" or turning more abstractly to the "forward edge of reading/ made material conjecture." This has become something of a tic for Welish, and can easily distract from the poems' more original leaps between disparate worlds and ideas. Reflecting obliquely on the perception of objects, and the physics of light and time, Welish folds these meditations into speculations on memory and expectation, inflected with hints of lost love: "Not now left and once since left, let alone/ in an unemphatic state are a few aftermaths—this,/ an unpresentable translation from English/ as a possible index of streaming incommensurables." An intense, physics-like precision and quasi-mathematical logic build imaginative bridges between wave theory and literary theory, relativity and "the techno-poetic occult." Some lighter hues temper things; the fourth sequence, "In the Name of the Studio," is largely a simple play on painterly colors: "Paper halved to indicate that Cadmium Yellow Light/ is not Cadmium Yellow Lemon...." Such advisories add light as well as making it. (Apr. )

Reviewed on: 04/26/2004
Release date: 04/01/2004
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!