Solarium

Jordan Zandi. Sarabande (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (64p) ISBN 978-1-941411-17-9
Zandi’s debut collection radiates a fragile warmth in what proves to be an aching and uncommonly ingenious exploration of youth and memory. Like Wallace Stevens, Zandi delights in riddles, anecdotes, and mysterious landscapes; his colorful scenes suggest more than they explain. Unlike Stevens, however, the presiding imagination here is naive, even childlike. “I wish my heart was as big as the world/ but bigger,” Zandi writes in the title poem, in which he wonders, “what good is a life that wears away?” Indeed, despite their precocious sensibilities, many of Zandi’s poems lament childhood’s distance. In the almost painfully earnest “River,” the poet tries “to turn back toward” an adolescent friendship, but finds that “Outside,/ the cars rush past, through the glass sounding nothing like water.” In “The Circus in Winter,” the speaker refuses poetic artifice in favor of plainspokenness: “Our silos—No, they are nothing/ but silos. Very good for storing.” These moments of plainness, where the poet struggles to make sense of the past, are especially powerful alongside the collection’s more oblique (and uneven) fantasias. “Closer, little memory,” Zandi writes in “Etch-a-Sketch,” “what did you find/ on your treasure hunt?” Zandi’s poetry sometimes feels slight, self-involved, or saccharine, but it also has a distinct sensibility, and the book features a number of truly imaginative poems. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/18/2016
Release date: 02/01/2016
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 64 pages - 978-1-941411-18-6
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