Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sarah Gambito

Delivered is the second book by this young New York based poet. I don't have the first, and so can't comment on the trajectory, but this one is, dare I say it, enjoyable. It has a lot of "my mother" poems, a lot of references to family, grandparents, the immigrant experience. One balks at such references, mostly because of the sentimentality usually found in tandem with such subjects. Here we have a fresh take though, and when that entry point is language, the results are quite surprising. Consider "The Puppy"
Immigrant families began to arrive and children were born. Eventually the children picked up English at school. The English was cool and light like a puppy but more useful. They picked it up and threw it at each other....
a prose poem in the surrealist tradition, yes. "Some thought it...cute...some compared back legs and length of fur..." When the poems come at identity and representation from a slant perspective they are quite fun and yes, pack a punch.

However, the poems don't always seem complete, or to have every word weighted, and even if a poem wants to appear as though it has bed-head, it probably needs to have each strand of hair accounted for... Still, the collection is inhabitable, pleasurable. The prose poems strong. You can hear Gambito read earlier work over at the Fishhouse and read a postcard poem here.

6 comments:

Chris said...

I like that excerpt. Nice use of dactyls! "Ímmigrant | fám(i)lies be|gán to ar|ríve ... and | chíldren were| bórn || and e|véntual|ly ... the | chíldren picked | up ... ... | Énglish at | schóol. ... the | Énglish was | cóol ... and | líght like a | púppy ... " and then the rupture: "bút móre úseful", then speeding up into the most Englishy of all lines, the iambic pentameter of "They picked it up and threw it at each other".

Lemon Hound said...

Good point. That's the surprise of the prose poem--it's often more using more poetic energy that a lyric poem.

Chris said...

These days, what doesn't use more poetic energy than a lyric poem?

Actually it's possible that I have no real sense of what make a poem "lyric" or why one would be interested in that. Perhaps I needn't be so snarky.

Lemon Hound said...

Lyric poetry has been all but ruined for me over the past half decade or so, but I feel signs of a rekindling relationship and I suppose it's one I've never really given up on.

Matt said...

i thought lyric poetry was anything that wasn't, like, the odyssey or the song of hiawatha...

et said...
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