Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mark Truscott

I've been loving Said Like Reeds or Things by Mark Truscott for a while now, and wanting to post something more like a review, but, but, but, the time, and pressures of otherwise...let's face it, thoughtful reviewing takes time. So, I hereby announce the blog review, a postcard review, anecdotal, informal, succinct (as possible).

What I love about this book is the playful elegance of the lines, both in terms of their sound, and the way the way they take up space on the page. It's impossible to represent many of the poems that would illustrate this aspect accurately on a blog since the tab or spacing function is nonextistent. I have to include left-hugging poems such as Pastoral:

where or
only odd
dolmen

which no matter how many times I read it, still sounds like "odd old men," and of course this makes sense of pastoral...those impassioned old men with their lines (I imagine Basho or Wordsworth maundering in increasingly parceled bits of countryside). I love the poem, but the poem I would have liked most to post would have been next door to this. Haiku, with its spacious interiors and missing "e" is one of my favourites. It makes new the haiku, while maintaining the essence: nature, transience, meditative, deep engagment with the physical limitations of self...

The sparse, sure strokes of Truscott's poems makes me think of space, and gaps between thoughts. Poems float in the middle of the page:

Clouds
edges

just
talking

What luxury this book is. What luxury this space. You can see the visual spacing of the poems in this review, which I don't entirely agree with (what do reviewers mean when they describe poems as self-indulgent? I suspect it has something to do with "space"), but which points out some nice moments in the book. One thing I do agree with is "what's next?" I want to read more poems from Truscott. No, I want to read a whole new book, because it is a rare find, a whole book that one wants to hold on to, and this is one that I do. Want. To hold on. To.

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