Thursday, September 24, 2009

The End of the West by Michael Dickman


Don't know why this book of poem's reminds me of Rilke's Duino Elegies, but will try to suss it out. Though the language is much more transparent (in Dickman), the velocity and vertigo are similar, the ache.

Dickman's landscape for his poems, as it were, is emotional: mostly he engages family and friends directly, addresses them, in a one-sided conversation that violently plucks and juxtaposes images from his tragic, if witty, wound of an imagination. Everything is lost, or being lost, or there are plans in the works for its loss.

The form is open field free verse, with wads of silent white space between lines and stanza. He relies on anaphora.

Nervous System

Make a list
of everything that's
ever been

on fire -

Abandoned cars
Trees
The sea

Your mother burned down to the skeleton

so she could come back, born back from her bed, and walk around the
house again, exhausted
in slippers

What else?

Your brain
Your eyes
Your lungs

*

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