2.17.2010

some comments on books I have a conflict of interest commenting on (because I did not win the contest they won, or because I don't care about the book enough to keep it)

Acetylene
Carol Quinn

1) Carol is from So Cal!
2) Carol thanks a lot of Houston faculty (she got her PhD there). Were they really that supportive?

3) The opening poem (labelled "Proem" -- the book is sectioned) is fun (ex. to follow?), appropriate, but VERY, VERY SERIOUS:

Afterimage (ie, "burned in")

This FUSE (emphasis mine) may weld or wed...
other alliterative..., as it ... does
what fuses or more properly "flux and fire" do...

including the last line

"blinding those it lures."

(the eye attracted to light -- the book, Acetylene, as in acetylene torch).

Are the next poems good? Yeah, but not as tight, not as formalesque a briefly yet completely developed image in free verse.

The near rhymes of another poem are nice, "inhere" and "fur", "polyphonies" and "chase" (although, is more than one polyphony required?) and "recall" and "whole".

The poem following that in the book unfortunately gives me a reason to talk about the idea of necessity in poetry. The idea is beyond using a bunch of words about necessity instead of necessary words only, but here Quinn gives us baggy lines:

They'll tell you how they live without the one
thing you thought necessary for all life

This first, in this poem: well, the line break is ONLY interesting if the division between "one / thing" is interesting. The ONLY reason the line "They'll tell you..." is interesting is that it ends in the word "one"! Following that with "thing" to revise the previous line -- well super cool materialist girl, BUT -- then six "trash garbage NECESSARY waste yadda blah" follows. The poor poem continues begging missed opportunities, such as "They miss the" (those banal people living without what's necessary) "break of dawn."

I send it out to the universe that necessity and precision relate. But a different suffering is exacted when "For X... is y (for these slobs)" is used rather than "X... is y for *them*." Why the anachronistic, baggy usage no one mistakes for being literary? Ok, here, I am just being unfair. It is not that it is not going forth in a knowledgeable way, though it isn't. Is it just that the first poem was TRENDY and clever on and theme, and these next are dull (at least they make sense -- though they are abstract in a way that gives abstraction a bad name, about which I need to explain, fer sure).

And here: I have loads of just such poems, had I known this was the publisher! I wouldn't have sent what I sent to the contest.

Here is my "ye old Daly woman don't use "that" lecture" in context:

why not

Waves reach us.
We send waves; layers coalesce,
tree rings, mother
of pearl

rather than

There are waves
that reach us and waves that we

send out. Layers coalesce
like the rings of trees, mother

of pearl

I like the incantation of "Caisson"

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