Case Sensitive

Kate Greenstreet, Author . Ahsahta $16 (130p) ISBN 978-0-916272-89-0

Greenstreet's quirky, sometimes vague debut feels less like one book than like a collection of five chapbooks, each with its own set of obsessions and themes, held together by an aesthetic consciousness that prizes immediacy, sincerity and open space. Part one, "Great Women of Science," considers the appeal of independence and the contrary draw of nostalgia, for a woman setting out on her own. "[SALT]" treats its titular mineral's properties (e.g., "[on icy streets makes winter travel safe]") as jumping-off points for questions about human nature: "Can you shut the eye with something in it and continue?" The passionate "Book of Love" and its sometime sequel "Where's the Body?" read like scrambled excerpts from smart diaries mixed with bits of murder mystery: "Why are we ashamed when someone hurts us?"; "The trouble comes from keeping a secret." Each of these four named segments reaches toward, and does not quite select, its own governing metaphor for the fluidity of the poet's inner life. The fifth segment, "Diplomacy," becomes both a fragmentary whodunit and a meditation on the poet's house, as if to ask where the self really resides. If this debut hints too much and reveals too little, it also marks Greenstreet as a poet to watch. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/31/2006
Release date: 01/01/2006
Genre: Fiction
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