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Sunday, June 14, 2009

California Sorrow by Mary Kinzie, Tyrannosaurus Rex Versus the Corduroy Kid by Simon Armitage

In California Sorrow, Mary Kinzie writes in free verse, and not just any old free verse, but open field, fragmented, white-spacey free verse. I like her 2007 book a great deal, find it oddly confessional ("First Passion" and "Privilege," for example) and plainspoken in places, from this sternest, most latinate and eytmologically-gravest poet. The marvelous prose poem, "The Poems I Am Not Writing," is a John Koethe-like discursion on the process and prayer of writing poetry, training oneself to write away from the center, to allow the poem to show itself despite your best efforts to cloud the issue with your conscious effort and ideas. She comes up with the phrase "windless bony dusk" in one of the prose sections, and then attacks it:
"'Windless, bony dusk' is rather good, but in prose it is just too pleased with itself. A poem I am not writing yet might chasten it."

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