Language Arts

Cedar Sigo. Wave (Consortium, dist.), $18 trade paper (64p) ISBN 978-1-933517-85-8

Sigo (Stranger in Town) flits across psychic and emotional states in this collection of poems that tempt their own collapse. With his tendency to flirt with cliché before pushing through ("Pain soaks through me/ colder than rain") or backing cleverly away ("Here comes my chinese rug// Success!"), one can see in Sigo some resemblance to and kinship with poets such as Frank O'Hara, Eileen Myles, and Alice Notley. But where these connections exist on a conversational and colloquial level—not to mention the occasional political barb ("‘We all know/ we are just playing house.'/ O blessed plain O pointed/ chasm. New Feudalism."; "I come from Inuit oil money")—Sigo's own affectations and form are particularly notable in his ranging between choppy, across-the-page banter ("Smoke Salmon// Call San Francisco---------"Like…Totally!"// Get driven to the terminal,/ escape.") and flowing, long-lined lyrics ("Possibility of danger, the tree has grown between the window and its bars/ A hardened form of the mind turned fluid, the parts one had always wanted a listener for.") Sigo's drive to reassemble broken language into poems that ring of truth-in-experience earn him his most arresting moments: "When lightning strikes the key/ centered in a small glass/ head over heels// olive trees// black sky (and sun)." (Apr.)