Model of a City in Civil War

Adam Day. Sarabande (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (80p) ISBN 978-1-941411-06-3
Day navigates the tensions between breadth and precision, and between the historical and the personal, in his excellent debut collection. Through a range of forms, he creates a liminal space wherein references to strange historical anecdotes share a stage with more introspective and personal utterances. Through this balancing act, what seems remote becomes highly accessible and mysteriously familiar. One might expect that "From such material it is almost/ impossible to create a picture// of life." But Day moves deftly, accentuating idiosyncrasies in the midst of the mythical: "Here is the cloud-helmeted sun, and here/ is the world smoothed and close/ to the eyes." In the process of weaving his materials together, he draws his readers into a sort of collective memory, thus fostering a sense of community. Readers become "Participant-observers; innocent// nobodies" who, after reading Day’s accounts, are invited into an awareness of the "incompleteness of the past; the ongoingness of history." Day masterfully conjoins the still life with the moving landscape, the expansive with the infinitesimal: "blue skies and egg shells/ blown across a bald yard." This act of cracking and reassembling is a constant struggle, but there’s merit in the struggle itself: "What’s lovely about war/ is its devotion to thoroughness/ and order. It keeps count." (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/06/2015
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 72 pages - 978-1-941411-02-5
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