cover image Zone : Zero

Zone : Zero

Stephanie Strickland, , . Ahsahta, $19 (120pp) ISBN 978-1-934103-01-2

In her fifth collection, Strickland (V: WaveSon.nets ) continues her investigatory hypertext antics, challenging readers with poem sequences refracted through conceptual use of the page and expansive reading of social and scientific histories. These poems swell with allusion and quotation, capturing the paradox of our contemporary moment’s clipped attention span and obsession with information. We find Lot’s wife and Patti Smith on facing pages; “the Half-Life and Quake game engines” in close proximity to Desert Shield; and the 32-page “Ballad of Sand and Harry Soot,” an enigmatic pairing of characters and their pun-filled adventures (“Sand panned speed. Languid was she. Oh seeming fast, fine foil for/ de... lay”). Strickland’s poems have an impressive sonic range, from the quotidian and subdued (“who can open/ who can/ hold it/ constant/ quiet”) to the unbridled (“a disaster a pilaster and a jailmeister play/ pool.littlegreen willytadpoles//jasper”). Occasionally, Strickland’s copious notes are more intriguing than the poems’ elaborate structural elements; this is due in part, no doubt, to Strickland’s attempt to squeeze work originally designed to take advantage of the bells and whistles of the computer screen into the confines of the page, a problem the accompanying CD, with digital versions of two of the book’s sequences, attempts to solve. (Sept.)