cover image So I Began

So I Began

Lisa Lubasch. Solid Objects (SPD, dist.), $16 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-9844142-5-3

The latest collection of poems from Lubasch (Twenty-One After Days) reads like the dug-up lacunae of a lost confessional poet filtered through an evolutionary successor of Stein and Beckett's modernism. In sequence after sequence of untitled poems, Lubasch strips language down to its essence, listening for the ways language becomes clipped, broken, and mechanical: "The age she is," she writes, "Entered. Information. Is acquired. Specifications. Height. Weight. The hour of. Injury." But Lubasch also tries to evade this sensation by injecting her language over and over again with anaphora: "If they imprison. If they charge. If torture, the torture is incessant." While the staccato attack does begin to oppress the poems, the barrage of hard-stopping periods also works to agitate the very idea of beginning. She pushes furthest into the mind's mysterious workings when she shapes the poems by commas instead of periods, allowing the clauses to build up a velocity without running into a wall at every turn. "But oneself," she writes, "as if she were,/ without, she wants to ask,/ of the injustice, doesn't have." Lubasch doesn't write the kind of poems that transport a reader from point A to point B, but she writes knowing that this might be the most lasting commentary she can give on beginning. (Oct.)