The Arrangements

Kate Colby. Four Way, $15.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-945588-21-1
Counteractions, counterindications, and impossible interactions mark this meticulously crafted and sonically alluring seventh collection from Colby (I Mean). Many of the poems are composed in slim couplets wherein the second line undermines the first. “I want to be inside of/ what I only displace,” she writes in one of many aphoristic contradictions, a reminder of how often desire comes to undo that which one covets. In “Poem,” Colby writes, “This is a poem about everything that is/ not this poem, including this poem.” The pleasures of Colby’s language combine to create tension with the existential anxieties her speaker presents, including those surrounding the nature of embodiment, the potential dangers of light, and the cumulative nature of time. Of the latter phenomenon, she also observes that “Time is retro-/ viral, gifting it-// self in remnants—// bronze corncobs,/ staves, soda tabs.// But bridging a gap/ does nothing for// the gap.” The eponymous arrangement, it seems by the collection’s end, is the forever discord between an overwhelming sense of longing and the inability to ever satisfy it. Readers may come away from this collection with simultaneous feelings of dread and wisdom, as well as a deep admiration for Colby’s almost obsessively focused eye for detail. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/17/2018
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