Some Habits

C. Violet Eaton. Omnidawn (UPNE, dist.), $17.95 trade paper (72p) ISBN 978-1-63243-004-5
Eaton's debut, selected by Forrest Gander as winner of the 2013 Omnidawn Open Prize, buzzes with idiosyncrasies and personal meditations. The collection is organized as a series of letters to a man named David that take on the appearance of an ars poetica and journal: "David I am trying to scratch into what are observations. Hollow out : will write of them here." Folkloric remedies abound alongside jinxes and grimoires: "sevenbark : ninebark : sheepshit tea/ ... the black ant powdered, mixt w/ lard/ will prod an infant slow to walk." Ozark dialect colors the collection, inhabiting the poem with local voices: " ‘What view have ye of God?'/ Predestination./ ‘What think ye of man in his first/ erectitude?'/ A few ready switches set beside the doorframe." Occasionally, the letters to David, composed by an unidentified speaker, appear propelled by sound over meaning: "Dear David,// the cleft in your dinnerplate pockets a swift./ that pink on my kerchief is waltzing away./ at first I seen you standing one aspect in two halves." Elsewhere, the speaker offers guidance: "I will tell you david how to rid yourself of this melancholie: Bind the entrails of a chicken to your left palm." Eaton's distinctive idiolect is full of jarring and inventive juxtapositions. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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