Must a Violence

Oni Buchanon. Univ. of Iowa, $18 trade paper (94p) ISBN 978-1-60938-129-5
“I can’t tell if it’s me/ or the machinery to which I am/ affixed Tiredness/ radiates from the exact/ center,” writes Oni Buchanan in her third collection. Her poems are built from simple language and infused with an often sinister imagination. “An Infection” is a blunt masterwork of creepiness: “The infection may have come/ because the hot and crowded train/ did not have properly fresh/ head napkins on its seats,” she writes. People in close quarters spread germs, travel in clumps; not so different from the way we treat animals in confined feeding operations. “If only everyone could just take care/ of themselves and take cover from the wetness and the rotting,” she laments. She questions what makes humans different from the animals we eat. Buchanan mixes shorter and longer poems, but she gains momentum, power, and volume in the extended pieces. “Little Pig” spans 16 pages and describes in second-person narrative a joy bordering on hysteria toward a pet pig. “You could run out one side/ of the house and loop/ around” Buchanan encourages the pig, then, “perpetual joy is in that loop, Little Pig!” Buchanon is an experimental poet who also manages a playful accessibility. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/22/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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