Drift

Drift

by Mary Kinzie
     
 

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"The world is touched and stands forth," writes Mary Kinzie in this book of seductive poetic experiment. In lines by turns fragmented and reflective, she shatters and reassembles such curiosities as an engraving by Albrecht Durer and the portrait of a notorious suicide whose children develop a secret telepathy. In one of her many powerful longer pieces,

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Overview

"The world is touched and stands forth," writes Mary Kinzie in this book of seductive poetic experiment. In lines by turns fragmented and reflective, she shatters and reassembles such curiosities as an engraving by Albrecht Durer and the portrait of a notorious suicide whose children develop a secret telepathy. In one of her many powerful longer pieces, she collects glittering shards from myriad versions of the Cinderella story:

Was the young girl running out of it because
—recall the blood within the shoe?—
it hurt her?

Kinzie's verse moves mysteriously between folk-lore and urban devastation, between white magic and the concoction of mood drugs in the modern laboratory. In each poem, she draws our attention to the chinks of light in the dark narratives that surround us, in a language animated by her sympathy and deep moral intelligence.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Each statement becomes a kind of victory . . . Kinzie engages her readers in a passionate dialectic proving that ‘it was/Right to live.’”
–Daniel L. Guillory, Library Journal

“The quiet but striking poems . . . span the page like spinal cords, or twists of DNA, each word dense and weighted with meaning, thrumming with pent-up power, a tamped-down fire that ignites slowly in the reader’s mind.”
–Dona Seaman, Booklist

Drift adds luster to Kinzie’s reputation of fine craftsmanship in many styles and forms . . . her lyricism is elegant.”
–Charles Guenther, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Kinzie’s poems attain an expressive restraint, holding their meanings together line by line, one word at a time . . . [her] polish and rigorous observation are manifest.”
–Tom Devaney, Philadelphia Inquirer

“Plato would have been drawn to Mary Kinzie’s remarkable poems and to their vision of the human, assailed and deformed but still thinking . . . the poems themselves are a demonstration of the soul, of the permanent possibility of thought.”
–Martha Nussbaum, Poetry

Publishers Weekly
Depression, anxiety, motherhood and the passage of time mark this sixth collection from Kinzie, who continues to explore highly personal, internal themes, intermixing short lyrics with more formally innovative, discursive meditations. In the first of four sections, Kinzie focuses on the material presence of time, weather and ambient sound, wishing, with humor and characteristically suspended syntax, that "the world/ could latch on to the/ cables of bast or plastic/ the bowlines guys snotters/ vangs halyards/ the hawsers on their sheaves smoking/ whomp lashing kuhCHING / ringing out chimmee." The second section comprises a formally heterogeneous, moody sequence called "The Book of Tears," which swings from romantic elation ("...we gaze and gaze/ at this dappling joyshow/ stretched out to the cisterns of purple/ shadow...") to dispirited boredom and ennui ("how wearisome always/ to have to be/ doing something..."). The most problematic section of the book, however, is the third: a long pseudo-narrative that imagines the thoughts of young men outside of a "rough jazz club" in 1950s Chicago. In an exoticizing and presumptuous meditation, the speaker ascribes to these men-these "dark faces" in a car, these "creatures/ who became themselves / only at night"-a shockingly stereotypical set of circumstances: "Were they fathers too/ were their children roaming/ through the alleys falling/ into harm/ scarred/ by desolation// Did they even know / their fathers...." The book recovers a bit of lost ground in a final section, which consists mainly of longer, free-verse poems-including a partial retelling of the Cinderella story and a meditation on psychotropic drugs ranging from Zoloft to Ativan-that use rhyme to fresh effect. (Feb. 18) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
This new collection of poems by Kinzie appears after such well-received publications as A Poet's Guide to Poetry, Ghost Ship, and Autumn Eros. Drift is a more hard-edged, experimental, and intellectual effort, where the true subject is always the elusiveness of consciousness itself, that "floating/ thread of my thought" set against the "jet stream/ of decay" that continually produces "sound/ word/ idea." Written in a mood of existential angst, each poem confronts the sameness of quotidian life. Each statement becomes a kind of victory, clearing "the surface of grit/ so that a small page/ could lie there with a pen." Although there are some nominal subjects, including the Cinderella myth, the infamous southside Chicago Flame Lounge, and Kinzie's own daughter, the poet is actually linking "pattern to loveliness," singing "the notes of our kind." In trimeters, quatrains, and even a sonnet and haiku, Kinzie engages her readers in a passionate dialectic proving that "it was/ Right, to live." Strongly recommended for larger poetry collections.-Daniel L. Guillory, Millikin Univ., Decatur, IL Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375709906
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/22/2005
Pages:
96
Product dimensions:
6.11(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.29(d)

Read an Excerpt

Close Path

What have I trained forwhat have the years of whatever I did during them made me ready to take on if the tears are to stream coldly like long streaks of rain down the light brick of the storehouse and I become afraid to look lest the pain travel with my breathing its path near enough to disappear down

Meet the Author

Mary Kinzie is the author of A Poet’s Guide to Poetry and five earlier collections, including Summers of Vietnam, Autumn Eros, and Ghost Ship. She teaches in the creative writing program she founded two decades ago at Northwestern University.

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