cover image Come In Alone

Come In Alone

Anselm Berrigan. Wave (Consortium, dist.), $18 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-940696-29-4

Berrigan (Primitive State) dispenses with linearity in a perception-shuffling book that, on the fly, instructs its audience on how to read it. Composed entirely of margin-hugging, rectangular poems that can be read starting at any point and loop without end, this collection is a rare breakthrough in form. “I wanted to get hold of I,” Berrigan writes in words circling the blank center of the page, “put it in the center of the space ghost because there was no reason to put it a bit on the side, I got to the anatomy & I feel myself almost getting flustered I really could never get hold of it since I have no preference or so called sense of it.” Form aside, the language here will be familiar to Berrigan’s readers. Figuration, abstraction, daily life, politics, and theory collide without respite, as Berrigan’s alternately deadpan, ironically neo-romantic, and insistently heady tones switch on and off, phrase by phrase. What makes this book such a fascinating object is that Berrigan has conceived of a way for the physical book object to exist in a manner of which digital books may not be capable. As Berrigan’s language loops on, endlessly recontextualized, what results is a kind of commentary though form, the creation of an expanse through physical limitation. (May)