To Drink Boiled Snow

Caroline Knox. Wave (Consortium, dist.), $20 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-940696-11-9
Knox (Flemish) mimics the sensation of falling down a crystalline rabbit hole in her disparate, sweeping, and intellectual ninth collection. As she leads the reader "to skate on the/ leading edge of thin ice," Knox charts a strange trajectory of seemingly divergent thoughts and images, resulting in a work that "can't make up its/ mind—straight shot or arc—/ no, both." She encourages a kind of literary forensics, reminding readers that they "can make the ending first and let that tell you/ what came before." In sprinkling her verse with the poetic language of other experts in the field, Knox creates an encyclopedic collection of objects that has an authoritative appearance but also celebrates playfulness, idiosyncrasy, and uncertainty. She stresses that "while lolling/ about we don't register clearly, and isn't that okay." Yet, "we are/ forever / taking/ samples of the world." A number of the poems feel like something that one might encounter in a workshop: word games, overcooked end-rhymes, and the like. Still, the book offers a model for varying modes of writing. Knox's wandering collection sometimes leads the reader into unexpected terrain, but once there they are encouraged to look closely at every detail. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 01/04/2016
Release date: 09/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
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