cover image LOST AND FOUND


Michael Gottlieb, . . Roof, $11.95 (71pp) ISBN 978-1-931824-08-8

A blurb on the back of Gottlieb's 14th collection calls "The Dust," one of three longish poems collected here, "the first great poetic work to emerge from the trauma of September 11." While the firstness can be debated, the greatness cannot. "The Dust" is a list poem, one that tallies, in trade catalogue language ("Interior Concepts workstation T-base for non-raceway panels"), some of the things that got compacted when the World Trade Center towers fell. When Gottlieb finally, and with extreme care, transitions from products to people's names, the juxtaposition of financial, bureaucratic and personal losses seems to make the ground fall out from under everyday life. The poem is sad, frightening and extraordinary, and while it honors the dead, it also refuses to separate them from the things with which they lived. "The Dust" comes between "Issue of Error," a 20-part Spicerean lyric that contains "The most famous of the gaffes/ collected in a sort of casket," and "Careering Obloquy," in which Gottlieb's anger at disposable culture's disposable worklives boils over into a litany of "ways of making you/ shut up." This is a brave book, one that records enormous loss, but refuses to look away from events that continue to unfold. (Dec.)