4.15.2010

Into Perfect Spheres Such Holes Are Pierced



This collection will destroy you. It is such a finely wrought, spot-on exploration of grief--grief over the death of children, two of them, which is always unimaginable, if you've ever loved a child. In a steady sequence of brief, lyric poems, Catherine Barnett reifies this grief through objects, dreams, tableaus.

The tableau is actually such an essential part of this book, now that I think of it. There are many stilled images that echo the loss of the girls. The most enduring are the white ribbons tied to a fence at the school, the girls' rooms unchanged, their clothes.

The smart move is that the tragedy does not occur in the book, making these poems a kind of V-shape, like a boat wake, slowly widening out, just as the experience and understanding of grief begins with a sharp stab and dulls outward back into the world, where it comes mixed with the work of living.

This is a great example of narrative sequence, where each poem is a lyric component of a larger narrative, particularly one that moves emotionally rather than with causality.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Charles--

    Thanks for posting this wonderful series--I'm always looking forward to what books you're going to comment on next. It's also cool that this is truly eclectic, that you're invested in various cultures as well as aesthetic camps. The latter is truly rare.

    S.

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