A Year from Today

Stacy Szymaszek. Nightboat, $16.95 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-937658-76-2
In the final book of her “trilogy of poetic journals,” Szymaszek (Journal of Ugly Sites & Other Journals) records, through snatches of quotidian thinking and doing, a self in the process of conducting a “structured walk.” The work is self-consciously constructed as a book-length poem composed of fragments, which accumulate urgency as Szymaszek moves through the seasons, taking “notes/ on the dreams of others as they speak them.” New York City as a site becomes a flexible repository for bits of language gathered from the street, workplace, medical facility, fellow writers and artists, and the overwhelming crush of “today’s sickening news.” For Szymaszek, this notebook for public consumption preserves the scale of transformative moments in juxtaposition to “a human life like high speed films of plants.” The book demands patience and persistence from its reader, who is asked to witness that “it’s hard to get to know someone/ to the point of prediction.” If Szymaszek’s goal with this journal is “to embroider/ a new universe with new information,” it succeeds both on its own merits and as a part of the larger trilogy. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2018
Release date: 09/01/2018
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