Friday, July 27, 2007

Two poems from Margaret Christakos

Crisp Edge

Nothing softer more blunt

than edges. I want clarity

or consternation. I require

finity if we’ve hit a single

brick. Earth spherical

and rotative what do you

know about anything human

us so brittle, each, delineated by


I’m edging toward a calculation.

Clues show you in the candlelight.

Wait—your iris shines

a portrait of my unformed

idea about humans being

resigned to separateness—how

dare you!

Absurd picture show

That I trouble the waters of

your pretty face with my slow

finger drawing down for a strand

of lily stem.

Fish go, floral tails.

You sway and dip your crown,

flat pad, under the edge of a second


I’m still kneeling on one rippled calf

broken like sound waves filling

a data screen, etched in magenta.

Yep, I dyed my hair orange the

orange of the dusk sky left the stuff on

an extra half hour.

What are you doing moon in

my friend’s mirroring

look at me, it’s not midnight the

news hasn’t even started!

Margaret Christakos lives in Toronto. Her poetry collections are Sooner (Coach House, 2005), Excessive Love Prostheses (Coach House, 2002), winner of the ReLit Award, Wipe Under a Love (Mansfield, 2000), The Moment Coming (ECW Press, 1998), Other Words for Grace (Mercury, 1994) and Not Egypt (Coach House, 1989). Her novel Charisma (Pedlar Press, 2000) was shortlisted for the Ontario Trillium Award. In 2004–2005 she held a Canada Council writer's residency at the University of Windsor. A new chapbook, Adult Video, has been published by Nomados Editions. In her recent collection, Sooner, a wide range of short poetic fragments and longer, narrative poems, Christakos negotiates the sonars of expectation, desire, arousal, sequentiality, and perception.

Christakos says of her recent work: “through the writing of my last two collections of poetry I became enamoured of using recombination and numerical constraints to build poems as narrative structures in which multiple intersecting storylines reside, much as they do in bustling urban, techno-mediated culture.”

The result condenses and manipulates narratives of worlds that might not always intersect. While resisting conventional narratives or poetic expectations,
Christakos offers a kind of lyric integrity that then dissolves and morphs into a variety of often unnameable experiences…the familiar re-fabricated in textural, sculptural forms.

As a reader of Christakos work this reader is always surprised by the sense of order and logic that appears, even visually on the page, and find the tension between my expectations and the performance of language a satisfying leap. Narrative is frustrated in a variety of ways, as is the sense of a stable self, privelaging instead polyvocality and compositional integrity.

The "leap" becomes increasingly important when encountering recombinant texts. This reader wants to trace evidence of human presence in the extremes of formal strategies. Christakos work always offers adequate footing just before she turns one's expectations upside down. And now, wading further into lyric's foment and fracture, we find in this new work even more twists.

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