cover image Diurne


Kristin George Bagdanov. Tupelo, $12.95 (80p) ISBN 978-1-946482-28-0

Chaotically weaving witticisms, adages, and inquiries with metaphors and non sequiturs, the second book from Bagdanov (Fossils in the Making) attempts to embody the mystery and mayhem churning beneath the surface of everyday life. These poems contemplate the frivolous and frustrating, as well as environmental destruction and the existential struggle to find peace. In their most evocative moments, they are delightfully droll—“I manage my carbon footprint by holding my breath,” and “I just showered with a moth and the feeling was mutual”—or elegantly grave (“A burial creates the illusion of resolve”). However, Bagdanov’s intellect and vision is overshadowed by a disregard for narrative and an overreliance on elusive certitudes. Though the reader may loosely tie each end to the next, the poems occasionally ramble enigmatically: “Many still set the aesthetic against the political// Method to hypnotize a shark: tickle its snout// Mine is the last to emerge// My urine tells me to drink more water.” Similarly, Bagdanov’s use of metafiction is at times rollicking, but superfluous at others: “My mother just texted to see if I could talk but I said I was in the middle/ of something, which I am.” Not all readers may take to Bagdanov’s distinctive brand of off-kilter invention. (Sept.)