cover image Symmetry


Laura Moriarty. Avec Books, $9.95 (124pp) ISBN 978-1-880713-04-4

The surfaces of these poems shiver with a tensile strength. Although the language is simple and the topics vaguely commonplace (in the manner of Francis Ponge or Pierre Reverdy), Moriarty, here in her fourth book, manages to array across a single plane a poetry of sublime beauty, bewitching and strange. She invokes Marcel Duchamp's definition of symmetry to explain the book's title, and more than once the reader will be reminded of the artist's works on glass: ""Painted sky/ Glass with vines wound/ Hell or heaven also painted/ Or silver lemon peeled."" Although occasionally Moriarty stumbles into false profundities, her otherwise steadfast adherence to a quiet language builds a fine case for how complexities can be found in the simplest of arrangements. And the book's brilliant closing statement, ""Diagram,"" tells exactly whereof this poetry is born: ""inside all of one part/ Of one day going on . . . ."" (Mar.)