In poems of praise and wry warning, Kocot (Phantom Pains of Madness) explores “the dissembling moment.” “I give you this,” the speaker says, “I emerge/ With a gift to give you, you/ Who are so far and boundless.” Often, the speaker’s offering is oracular: “Take my word for it—this/ Machinery of salt and earth/ is slowly writhing.” Jolts of wit and outright self-mockery temper the book’s loftier utterances: “I can’t remember the days,/ Nor the weeks or months/ Or hours,/ Or the conversations I had,/ Nor with whom./ If you don’t believe me,/ Take a walk inside my head.” In light of the “unreachable shine of language,” poetry serves as a transfer of energy: “It’s the mode, not/ Necessarily the essence, that/ Drives me,” the speaker admits. “See that blade of grass sprouting up/ From a verb, the only one we have/ Ever needed, and it is rightly called to love.” The object of this verb is poetry itself: “Poetry, you are mine, and I will/ Go anywhere with you. A gap in the mind,/ A spangled street, my spine, perfect erect now,/ Chooses these words, yet it is as if I have no choice.” At once modest and resplendent, this is a profound affirmation of poetic necessity. (May)
Reviewed on : 04/15/2020 Release date: 05/01/2020 Genre: Poetry
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