The Wash

Adam Clay, Author Parlor Press $12 (84p) ISBN 978-1-932559-99-6
The 32 poems and sequences in Clay's debut wrestle with the mythmaking capacities of language to explore the human ability, and inability, to communicate. An editor of the online poetry journal Typo, Clay casts his poems in a straightforward yet unceasingly intense voice. At the core of these clipped, fragmentary narratives is a sense of isolating overstimulation-which the poems artfully attempt, and fail, to overcome-emanating from other people as well as from a natural world that refuses to submit to human rules, where ""the sky is so blue it crowds us near the ground."" Clay looks back to historic settlings, such as Essex, England, and archaic language (""wine that hath taken wind""), as well as big-sky states in the U.S. to engender a sense of timelessness and space in poems of existential fear (""The only thing more frightening than the abyss/ Is.../ The thought that the abyss,/ That great rent of nothing,/ Might not be""), lonely musing (""Wonder, you think, ripped the heart from the rooster,/ taught the fish to take the hook"") and thwarted love (""World's strongest/ bed-frame broken. O how I// loved you""). Many of these poems curl around bird metaphors, which stand in both for hope and despondency: ""A male bird cannot help but sing// and softly add to the confusion."" Though more attention to particular word choices and loose phrasing may be wanting here, Clay has nonetheless crafted a promising and compelling first book.
Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
Release date: 11/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-932559-46-0
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