Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bouts of lyric clarity and sudden plunges through cogitating thickets

If you feel you’ve been hiding too much in the open, it’s time to look into a new book of poems by an old friend, Mebane Robertson, Signal from Draco. I know, “this is a friend of his, so of course...” OK, but tell me if you find another book like this, the first volume in Black Widow’s ‘New Poets’ series ( It is an uncommon collection, at once generous and unsparing. The book can be compared to a broad canvas, or perhaps a sequence of five canvases to correspond to the book's sections; mingling there are elements of imbedded information, a personal geography, and a psychic itinerary. Though tightly woven and economical, the poems are never reductive in tracing thought and emotion through the entire bric-a-brac of experience. The book’s layered soliloquies are as exacting as life: they refuse to broker an expedient deal with daily living and the nightcrawl to come up with something reassuringly tidy but untrue. As I read, I thought if Berryman were here, and he could mosh, he might say these lines.

I hope to post some of Mebane's work here soon.

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