Kingdom

Myronn Hardy. New Issues (SPD, dist.). $15 trade paper (116p) ISBN 978-1-936970-35-3
Hardy (Catastrophic Bliss) uses a mix of silence and incantatory language to evoke subjugation and revolt in his fourth collection. These are poems steeped in language both modern and ancient, evincing the cyclical nature of religion, violence, and redemption. The use of white space recalls both erasure and redaction, while the virtual elimination of articles and a chant-like repetition offer readers the chance to cover their eyes at the scary parts, only to realize the scariest is still to come. In the long, sectioned poem "Collapse," he writes, "We are supposed to look away but we don't." This is both an accusation and a call to arms. He trusts that readers will not look away from the towers he invokes many times, nor from the reappearing sycamores, and certainly not from "The secrets a country keeps.// The secrets we keep from ourselves." What happens in private, Hardy intimates, is what we allow in public. There is not joy at work here but rather attention, mindfulness, and a "Respect sought quietly." Occasionally the linguistic acrobatics distract, with some of the images—such as "sequins on the saffron wall"—feeling crowded, but Hardy primarily offers gorgeous lament without melodrama. We are responsible for the state of things, Hardy seems to say, but we are also the solution. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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