No Matter

Jana Prikryl. Crown/Duggan, $15 (112p) ISBN 978-1-984825-11-7
In this atmospheric second collection, Prikryl (The After Party) catalogues an urban dreamscape full of unexpected revelations and slow transformations. Titles often serves as the opening lines of poems, lapsing into contemplation the way a city wanderer might examine each passing street: “Little York, every great/ city leaves a little city in its wake.” Repeated titles (“Anonymous,” “Waves,” “Sybyl”) create a strange, lulling music as Prikryl’s poetic line shifts deftly from stream of consciousness to piercing insight. Many of these poems grow to a point in the style of lyric essays. “Upper East Side’s where you want to cultivate friends,” the speaker declares in “Stoic:” “In this city friendship’s/ the main mode of disaster prep./ Basements and subbasements busy/ with boilers....” But lest the poems appear merely rhetorical, Prikryl delivers poignant closure: “I found it in myself because I had to,/ the one or two things that/ make it endurable here, and what they/ boil down to is indifference.” Elsewhere, Prikryl’s forms innovate to invoke their topics, as in one of several “Asylum” poems, in which the speaker battles insomnia with attention to actual things—“like when I can’t sleep I say to myself/ the the the the/ the.” In this striking book, readers are privy to a mind’s ongoing conversation with New York. (July)
Reviewed on : 08/14/2019
Release date: 07/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
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