A Semblance: Selected and New Poems: 1975–2007

Laura Moriarty, Author . Omnidawn $14.95 (220p) ISBN 978-1-890650-27-8

The publication last year of Moriarty's novel Ultravioleta (Atelos) was greeted with such praise that its small press publisher sold out its first run. This book brings together many hard-to-find pieces from 12 collections of verse, making a writer who often works at book-length in nontraditional lyric modes seem suddenly much more immediate and accessible. Moriarty, who is the deputy director at Small Press Distribution, studied with Robert Duncan, and is closely associated with Bay Area poet Norma Cole (who provides an introduction). She has the former's baroquely elegant turns of mind and the latter's searching fluidity, but her subject matter—roughly, how one's self-perceptions form a language that one is always comparing to one's experiences—is all her own, and her lines have a tensile gorgeousness unlike anyone else's: “Love itself embodied perspective/ Flattened out into a map/ If you cause me to act.” The excerpt from Moriarty's extended meditation Nude Memoir , for example, takes in everything from Duchamp to narrative theory to “[a] child with the memories of a woman.” The result is a book that offers a sense of discovery, tinged at every turn with humor, “transposition problem[s]” and a “Blinding kiss.” (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 08/20/2007
Release date: 09/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
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