3.03.2010

Fifty Poems
Liana Quill

Extreme Directions
Alice Jones

[I'm actually qualified to review Jones, but the book IS eight years old (I did make copious notes and a review start or two); not Quill, as I have her book since I entered the The Mississippi Review contest.]

These small poems (of Quill's) immediately remind me of those in Alice Jones' Extreme Directions.

[PoBiz opinion warning: Not at all of any of the poets mentioned in the blurbs or blurbing.]

Jones is working within the Chinese tradition (T'ai Chi Sword), and uses the Chinoese characters for the names of the sword thursts/movements, does what most uses ofChinese characters in American poetry does -- through Pound -- asks, "what are you seeing?" in the Chinese, the in the English. This is the first gesture of the poems. Quill starts with "fading fathers" rather than founding ones, and then the overdetermined? redundant? merely murky, grammatically? "fruit tree seed."

What is the "wide globe" Jones writes, but a fruit? (Or a globe, but an orange slightly squashed around the equator?) She continues, "we're a mouth"... Both books continue -- Quill first moves, "brother" but then blurts, "circle" -- Jones writes more about self / other, inside / outside (concepts related to the concept of the circle in math) and then, "penumbra / possibility" -- is so spherical.

OK, maybe you're not buying the parallels in "moving out" in these two brief books of short poems published eight years apart.

After all, Jones ends, in "Sword back to origin," "nothing / but the circle" whereas Quill concludes, "half emptied." But it is not a glass, I would mention, but a whole versus a lack.

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