Green Is the Orator

Sarah Gridley, Author . Univ. of California $50 (90p) ISBN 978-0-520-26241-6 ISBN 978-0-520-26242-3

Unusually varied, usually sparkling, and always a bit of a challenge, this second outing from Gridley (Weather Eye Open ) pivots ably between an introspection alert to the workings of language and a sustained attention to environmental fact. Long, careful lines in the first part of the volume emphasize botany or ecology: “Doubt put off, put on as leaves. Where spoils undress/ the weeping beech and go in circles inside it.” Like Forrest Gander, Gridley uses technical terms freely, and yet connects them to the shifting states of her own mind: “To blossom is thoughtless,” she says when she sees “touch-me-nots”; “thus we barely have room/ for each other.” Gridley also delves into philosophy, phenomenology, and even philology, the study of the history of words, in poems inspired by the life and accomplishments of Peter Mark Roget (as in Roget's Thesaurus), whose adventures with nitrous oxide get almost as much space as his arrangements of words. Gridley has also written a lyrical book, whose unrhymed sonnets, fragments, and quasi-odes make good use of traditional tools—condensation, analogy, mystery: “It was left to the ocean to matchstick the hull/ left to the darkroom to develop the trees.” (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/22/2010
Release date: 04/01/2010
Hardcover - 90 pages - 978-0-520-26241-6
Open Ebook - 104 pages - 978-0-520-94614-9
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 96 pages - 978-0-520-94688-0
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