Of course, poetry transcends its historical moment, looks close, gets a wound, steps back again to get distance, transforms the material, edges back up to source, reconnects to make the something that is the poem of attentive engagement, we might say. What the poem says about our moment is that it is already a representation, which we recalculate with each reading.
Gillian Conoley’s sixth collection of poetry toys with a notion of “peace” as war’s contrary in a variant of William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”: half of a forgotten “co-presence,” whether two lips or two eyes, or “one hand holding another / a metaphysics their separateness a reality.”
—Daniel Tiffany in the Boston Review
For it to be taken seriously, kitsch must exceed our ability to encapsulate it as pregiven. Tiffany’s own poetry is his attempt to demonstrate how if accorded singularity and formlessness, social grievance can indeed become eloquent on its own behalf. In considering the sort of kitsch he constructs from today’s social surrounds and from niche vocabularies, it is fair to say that Tiffany builds a dereliction through the poetics of the remainder, the space of the semantic and syntactic in-between.
America, I want you to know that your poets have your back.
Our poetry — which is your poetry — is relevant. It is like the world but in the best ways: its beauty, its significance, its moments of clarity, come to you in flashes. And with even a little bit of work, it will come to you in longer, more sustained, more glorious bursts.
Right now, we need some bursts.
Cut or connected, [Waldrop’s] lines call attention to the edge, where subject and object exchange: a face and its mirrored or photographic ghost, now one and now the other alert, answering. This other might be more than a man’s shadow, though: umbilical, the lines reach. When a line appears alone (as many do), it might still be a passage, even if we do not know from what to what: “A relativity of the taut string,” as Waldrop puts it.
my indoors weep at the pause, all quiet shuffles
The momentum that Chrusciel builds… serves to make the experience of displacement feel familiar, as if one were dreaming, then woken, or maybe in a waking dream. Late in the book we are told that “[i]t is only the gravity of objects that keeps us from moving.” But movement seems holy and in Chrusciel’s hands objects exert their own gravitational pull; each one a little world, hidden, secreted away, and sacred.
—Publishers Weekly starred review
Rather than clearing the clouds away in search of answers, here wisdom comes in the form of the poet’s eagerness to regard those clouds with wonder: “How wide a lake a/ single cloud might make,/ how blue a shape.” And though these poems find us “aging/ against each other,” the tenor of the collection can be seen most clearly in its consideration of the aging speaker’s connection to children and childhood, where “the child made the greenness of the time/ a function of mind in the world.” How fortunate we are, then, that Ramke’s voice reminds us “You/ are there, here, where voice/ arose in vibratory air.”