Nelson's newest collection continues the genre dodging of her second poetry collection, Jane: A Mystery. Narrative, sentimental and self-indulgent, this third collection risks many possible poetic pitfalls and comes through unscathed through sheer intensity of and commitment to her voice. Over three sections, Nelson employs a consistent narrator, recognizable settings, recurring characters and a few structures closely resembling plots. But it's not fiction. And though each section also has lines, stanzas, and lyric musicality, it's "poetry" only in a very loose sense. Instead, it's a stunning collection of real-world stories shadowed by the netherworld of poetry: "The hippie tells us his dog/ has terrible luck. A week ago/ it fell into a silo; yesterday/ it got electrocuted while peeing/ on a pole. We don't really know/ how to respond. The sky is amazing/tonight, full of blurry swans." (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Something Bright, Then Holesby Maggie Nelson
Maggie Nelson’s fourth collection of poems combines a wanderer’s attention to landscape with a deeply personal exploration of desire, heartbreak, resilience, accident, and flux. Something Bright, Then Holes explores the problem of losing then recovering sight and insight of feeling lost, then found, then lost again. The book’s three/i>
Maggie Nelson’s fourth collection of poems combines a wanderer’s attention to landscape with a deeply personal exploration of desire, heartbreak, resilience, accident, and flux. Something Bright, Then Holes explores the problem of losing then recovering sight and insight of feeling lost, then found, then lost again. The book’s three sections range widely, and include a long sequence of Niedecker-esque meditations written at the shore of a polluted urban canal, a harrowing long poem written at a friend’s hospital bedside, and a series of unsparing, crystalline lyrics honoring the conjoined forces of love and sorrow. Whatever the style, the poems are linked by Nelson’s singular poetic voice, as sly and exacting as it is raw. The collection is a testament to Nelson’s steadfast commitment to chart the facts of feeling, whatever they are, and at whatever the cost.
Any lover of poetry will notice the commonality of modern collections as poets craft themes to bind their prose. In her fifth collection, Nelson follows the trend but does something equally exciting and unexpected-she composes poems that can stand alone. In telling the story of a blind girl's intimate description of a hand, Nelson relays the universal tale of ceaseless longing, but the reader often has to place the book down not only to contemplate the gravity of her bravura phrases but also to enjoy the beauty of her descriptions: "Two Rastas/ have parked at the edge to play/ loud music, but even they/ can't compete with the wind." The wonder is that Nelson does not attempt to write with scholarly verses but with the raw emotion indicative of narrative poetry. In "Evensong," Nelson captures the essence of her work: "I know I could read your poems/ in the dark, but I am allowed only one/ a day, and even that's/ too much." Recommended for all libraries.-Ashanti White, AtlantaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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