cover image Language Arts

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 clich%C3%A9 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%E2%80%94not to mention the occasional political barb ("%E2%80%98We all know/ we are just playing house.'/ O blessed plain O pointed/ chasm. New Feudalism."; "I come from Inuit oil money")%E2%80%94Sigo's own affectations and form are particularly notable in his ranging between choppy, across-the-page banter ("Smoke Salmon// Call San Francisco---------"Like%E2%80%A6Totally!"// 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.)