TO LEVELING SWERVE

Rodrigo Toscano, Author . Krupskaya $13 (80p) ISBN 978-1-928650-23-2

A startling synthesis of spoken-word's accessible velocity, lyric's sensate self-positioning and a Roman rhetor's impassioned, dramatic political advocacy comes to full fruition in this fourth collection from Toscano (Platform ). Using hemistiched repetitions to put forward an impassioned vision of collective action, Toscano anticipates objections and allows for resistances ("well, that seems hokey these days to suggest it// well, that seems hokey these days not to suggest it"), showing his speaker's own progress to "doing what you didn't know." "Meditatio Lectoris," which appears in The Best American Poetry 2004 , says it best: "Simple to be it begun and done and re-done complex.// Complex to be it begun and re-done simple." "Subject Line Subscribe (Society)" is a hilarious and grim set-piece that morphs from the poet's frustrated net surfing to an acerbic description of atomized political subjects ("a split-away not-new-pod pod"), and back. A series of all-caps "postcards" to figures like Horace, Tacitus, Cicero, Lucretius and others imagine a 21st-century rostrum as intimate as theirs ("AND SO BRIEFLY AND IN THE RUSH OF THINGS INDEED MEET US"), while a set of prose-paragraph bursts like "The Need-Gene" are recursively and beautifully definitional: "The need-gene is minimally mover volatile animus... non-biologic organismo chingnón..." In all, these 20-odd poems, pitched against the uneven development of states and minds, are some of the most exciting to emerge this year. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 11/22/2004
Release date: 01/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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