Scatterplot

David Koehn. Omnidawn, $17.95 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-63243-077-9
Named for the visual depiction of statistical data, the contemplative second book from Koehn (Twine) explores domestic chaos through a sequence of long poems. “DELTA 2: AT NIGHT WE WALK & TALK TO THE FAR EDGE OF THE SUBDIVISION” opens with a complex family web: “The hard-to-hear palm trees talk about the man-made/ Lake behind the ‘No Fishing No Swimming No Boating’ sign. The cat, underneath the mailbox,/ Ignores me. You’ll need to know this: my partner and the mother of my child has been married/ To her husband for 27 years.” Alaska and San Francisco serve as settings for zoological trivia, and the lives of grown-ups often seem beside the point, their failures devolving into bad data: “a failed sonnet tanka with cross outs.” Some poems are collage-like in nature while others tell surreal tales and rely on word games: “When you remove the silent ‘e’ a stag appears,” or, “What part of mother is moth?” Humor and verbal play appear to offer a coping strategy for the vulnerability and difficulties of daily life, which Koehn sensitively renders in this observant work. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2020
Release date: 03/01/2020
Genre: Poetry
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